Across the Universe: Dark Knight Not Done Rising?
Rumors surface of a 'TDKR' director's cut
By Don Kaye
Special to MSN Movies
Update: The geek universe was buzzing last week with the news that there could be a director's cut of "The Dark Knight Rises" coming to Blu-ray next June, featuring 30 minutes of footage not seen in theatres this past summer.
While the thought was an intriguing one, it seemed a remote possibility, given that director Christopher Nolan has never done any sort of extended or director's cut for any of his movies. But as we outlined here, there was one compelling reason why Nolan might have bent his own rules this time.
However, The Playlist has now confirmed that no rules are being bent: there are no plans for a director's cut -- or any cut aside from the theatrical one -- of 'The Dark Knight Rises" to be released on Blu-ray. Details of the actual "TDKR" Blu-ray release have yet to be announced.
We love the movie the way it is, but are we just a little disappointed? We'd be lying if we said we weren't....
A rumor surfaced last week courtesy of Nuke The Fridge that Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan are preparing a director’s cut of “The Dark Knight Rises” for Blu-ray that will feature around 30 minutes of extra footage not seen in theaters (an update suggests that this Blu-ray will not come out until next June – just before the release of the Nolan-produced “Man of Steel” – meaning that the theatrical “TDKR” will arrive first and fans will have to double-dip).
The site’s “reliable” sources claim that among the footage to be reinstated into the film will be a sequence showing more of the origin of villain Bane (Tom Hardy), as well as some more flashback material involving Batman/Bane mentor Ra’s al Ghul (Liam Neeson/Josh Pence). They cite as evidence comments made by “TDKR” costume designer Lindy Hemming to GQ magazine about a sequence showing Bane at a young age in the prison, getting injured and learning how to fight.
There’s probably no question that such a sequence exists, if Hemming recalls working on it, and it was probably excised by Nolan for any number of reasons – length among them. But we think that the notion of a director’s cut is highly unlikely, even if Nolan had other scenes besides the ones featuring Bane and Ra’s that could bring the film’s running time to a whopping 195 minutes.
For one thing, Nolan has never done a director’s cut of any of his movies for home video release – because his “director’s cuts” have all appeared on the big screen. Not one of Nolan’s films has been accompanied by deleted or reinstated footage in its home video versions, and he has more or less stated in many interviews that the version of the film you see at your local multiplex is the one he’s satisfied with.
Yet several sites have held out one possible explanation for why Nolan may have changed his stance this time around: Much of “The Dark Knight Rises” was filmed in IMAX, and IMAX film stock is very large and heavy. Nolan apparently maxed out the capacity of the film reels with his movie’s running time. While he may have wanted to make a longer picture, he was forced by physical requirements – literally to fit the movie onto the reels -- to keep it to 165 minutes.
That could be enough of a dilemma for Nolan to finally consider leaving scenes out that could later be reinstated on DVD and Blu-ray. But then the next question is: Would a longer cut make “The Dark Knight Rises” a better film?
There’s a common misconception that a longer movie is a more boring movie, but that’s certainly not always the case. When scenes are added back into a film for its home video release, they can enhance the characters or story in a way that make the movie a more complete experience – and weirdly, that can make the movie actually seem shorter because it is more compelling to watch (the director’s cut of James Cameron’s “Aliens” is one of our favorite examples of this).
We’re not saying this would be the case with “The Dark Knight Rises” necessarily. To us, the film moves pretty damn fast already – almost too fast, in fact. There are parts of “TDKR” where the story makes some pretty huge narrative leaps to keep the story moving, and a number of scenes feel truncated as a result. These could well be the sections where Nolan was forced to remove more material to meet his running-time requirements. It’s most notable in the movie’s second half: For example, how did Bruce Wayne, with no money and no Alfred to help him, get back to Gotham so fast after escaping from Bane’s prison on the other side of the world?
As massive fans of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, we fully admit that “TDKR” has the most storytelling issues of the three films. Based on this new information, we wonder if the director wasn’t foiled in telling his tale by his devotion to putting it on the finest film stock available – a decision we applaud, as opposed to going all-digital, but one that may have caused him unforeseen problems. Whatever the case, if the “director’s cut” story is true, we’re looking forward to that Blu-ray – if only because getting a little bit more of Nolan’s version of Batman can’t be a bad thing.