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post #1 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=124731&d=1227121450
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

95






Studio and Year: Warner - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 153 Minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.40:1, 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Music by: Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard
Written by: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 9, 2008







"Welcome to a world without rules"



Film Synopsis:

The follow-up to Batman Begins, THE DARK KNIGHT reunites director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of BATMAN /BRUCE WAYNE in his continuing war on crime. With the help of LT. JIM GORDON and District Attorney HARVEY DENT,BATMAN sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves effective, but soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as THE JOKER, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces BATMAN closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante. Heath Ledger stars as archvillain THE JOKER, and Aaron Eckhart plays Dent. Maggie Gyllenhaal joins the cast as RACHEL DAWES. Returning from Batman Begins are Gary Oldman as Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as LUCIUS FOX.




My Take:

When I saw Batman Begins I was captivated at the transformation of the character's theatrical identity. All of the previous incarnations seemed cartoon like by comparison. That is not to take anything away from them because they had their place but this was something different. This embodied the essence of the character both physically and mentally. I absolutely loved Christopher Nolan's portrait of Batman and thought that Christian Bale nailed it. One of my favorite scenes from the film is the ending when Gordon hands Batman the Joker's calling card and he says in his raspy voice I'll look into it. It's a relatively small thing but it not only provides some idea of what it to come but its just a really smooth way to segway into the sequel. Like most of you reading this I got my tickets for The Dark Knight and saw it when it opened. To say that it exceeded my expectations would be a bit of an understatement. It allowed the audience the chance to further examine the complex persona behind the man on both sides of the mask. Batman struggles not only against the mob but also has to deal with corruption within local law enforcement and city prosecutors. On top of that he must now contend with The Joker who is unlike anything he has dealt with previously. This isn't an overly complicated individual but his methodology is anything but simple. He is an anarchist who has no value system. His belief is that everyone is corruptible and that the one individual who consistently challenges that theory must constantly be put to the test. He is not in it for the money although he realizes that money is important to his cause. Batman remains the unsung hero for Gotham which is why Harvey Dent's emergence as the city's uncorruptible district attorney is so important. He is determined to rid Gotham of crime and corruption. Unlike Batman, he is the face of justice that can be identified with now and hopefully into the future. The hope is to send a message that criminal activity will no longer be tolerated and that it can be handled within the legal system. Batman and ally Jim Gordon put their faith in Harvey which makes him integral to the story and its eventual outcome.

This is easily the best action film of the year. It's an eclectic thriller and a fast paced action opus that is exactly what genre fans clamor for. It is my opinion that without the outstanding performance by the late Heath Ledger as The Joker the film would not have had the same impact. He took this character to a level not achieved by any other actor playing this type of villain in an action film. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I appreciated his efforts. Christian Bale reprised the role of Bruce/Batman very well, although I found his use of Batman's gravelly voice to be a bit more pronounced here than in Batman Begins. For some reason I find Gary Oldman hard to swallow as Jim Gordon. He does much better in villainous roles. I guess I have seen him in that light too often. He is a fine actor and of course had no trouble handing the part. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine's presence adds an air of plausibility to the cast and trust to their characters. I am not sure that Maggie Gyllenaal was physically right for Rachel but she is clearly a better actress than Katie Holmes which is what counts. The action based sequences were top notch and the special effects were indicative of the type that we as fans have come to appreciate and expect from Batman. Christopher Nolan did a great job in living up to the expectations of this sequel. I loved it.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for sequences of violence and some menace.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 96



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 94


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

The Dark Knight comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.8 mbps.

This video presentation incorporates two different aspect ratios. When I saw it theatrically its AR was 2.40:1 however some of the film was shot using IMAX cameras which results in a 1.78:1 AR. Both have been integrated here with some scenes/sequences having one AR and the next the other. The result doesn't infringe upon fidelity or interrupt the visual flow of the movie in any way. In examining segments of each I honestly saw little difference in perceivable resolution although the IMAX segments seemed just a tad sharper to my eye. I also noticed several scenes that appeared artificially sharpened which resulted in a slight ringing or halo effect around objects. From what I have read many seem very concerned about this. I didn't find it objectionable as it is not deleterious to image quality but its presence is worth noting. This is a dark film (as it should be) and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this Blu-ray disc delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen. The nighttime cityscapes looked breathtaking. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that the long drawn skyline and buildings have seemingly infinite depth. Shadow detail was consistent and as good as I have seen. Images were crisp and sharp with exquisite definition and bold contrast. There were a few instances where I noticed that the picture appeared less definitively resolved but not to a point where I would say it softened. This was more than likely inherent and not encoding related. Colors were well delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stood out among the remaining spectrum colors used. Fleshtones were beautifully textured with subtle description and lifelike complexional depiction.

The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It's located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging was excellent. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this demanding soundtrack. The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. This is a dynamically strong sound mix that utilizes low frequency effects to provide viscerally potent impact. Bass response is prodigious as it occasionally reaches seismic levels that will test the limits of lesser subwoofers. The LFE channel is mixed on the hot side which sometimes elicited deep bass punctuation on sounds where it may not have been necessary. I wouldn't call it distracting but it was noticeable. Having said that I am the first to admit that I love deep, clean, powerful bass and this track delivers it in spades. The final explosion that levels the hospital is incredible. Listen to how the long and how deep the bass resonates after the building collapses. Check out the final shot gun blast by the bank manager during the opening scene's bank robbery. There are many more where those came from. Bass heads are sure to appreciate this Blu-ray Disc.

Looking at this presentation as a whole I think it is a winner. I don't pretend to understand the need to artificially sharpen what already appears to be a high quality picture source. From what I saw it s effects are minimal and don't diminish an otherwise marvelous video presentation. The Dolby TrueHD sound is rewarding and definitely on par with what we as viewers were hoping for.



Bonus Features:

Disc 1:


  • HD) Gotham uncovered: Creating a scene - examines 18 sequences from the film, including several of the larger action based segments and dissects them

  • Focus points: A PiP option of the above that can be accessed during playback of the film

  • BD-Live enabled features - Access will be available by release day

Disc 2:

Behind the story:


  • (HD) Batman Tech - A look at the incredible gadgets used by Batman which are inspired by state of the art military technology

  • (HD) Batman unmasked - Explore Bruce Wayne's psyche and the world of Batman

  • (HD) Gotham Tonight - featuring Mike Engel (Anthony Michael Hall in character) 6 staged news features covering events and people of Gotham

  • (HD) Galleries

  • (HD) Trailers and more - 3 Dark Knight trailers and 6 TV spots

Disc 3:


  • Digital Copy Bonus Disc - Contains a standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device




Final Thoughts:

The Dark Knight is probably the most anticipated Blu-ray Disc release of this year. We have all waited patiently and in just a few short weeks everyone's wait will be well rewarded. There are some who may not be completely satisfied with the video quality of this VC-1 encoding. Personally, any nits that I found to pick were far from detrimental to fidelity. This video presentation captured the essence of what I saw when I viewed this film theatrically and the results are excellent. The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound is reference quality and is sure to thrill enthusiasts with its extended dynamics, high level detail and pulse elevating bass. I thought that the bonus content could have been a bit more comprehensive although Warner's press kit indicates that more content may be available via BD-Live when it becomes available. This is their first title to offer BD-Live access so we will have to wait and see. For genre fans this disc is a must have plain and simple. Recommended.








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post #2 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:15 PM
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Nice review. Thanks Ralph.

Might have to get this one for Christmas. We didn't see this one in the theater since my boys weren't really into Batman at the time - now they're hooked (thanks Lego Batman/PS3!).

We've since rented Batman Begins and my boys (7 & 11) were not put off at all with the "darkness" of the movie, which my wife & I worried about going into it.

Ralph, having not seen this in the theater, would you characterize the "mood" of the film similar to that of Batman Begins?
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post #3 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:16 PM
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Thanks Ralph! Still eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail!
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post #4 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:19 PM
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Ralph -

Thanks for the review. Can't wait until I get my hands on this. Did you by chance get to see the movie in an IMAX theater? I saw it only once at the IMAX here in town and was floored by the quality (felt the sound was a little too strong there as some of the dialogue was drowned out - especially Gordon's spiel about the "Dark Knight" at the end). Your review has put me at ease that perhaps it was the way the IMAX here had the audio calibrated.
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post #5 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:24 PM
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I saw this movie in one of those Imax theaters (first time for me) and it was amazing.

The scenes that showed flight all of the sudden had a different screen shot that was higher and lower on the screen than normal. It was AWESOME.

And heath Ledger was incredible as the Joker.
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post #6 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:27 PM
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ykiki, be aware that "The Dark Knight" is appropriately named, with the operative word being "Dark." It is Batman for adults, and "Lego Batman" is not in the same universe as this very intense and menacing story. You alone decide what's appropriate for your children, but you may want to view this one first before deciding if you want them to see it now.

That said, this is not merely "easily the best action film of the year," as Ralph noted--it is the best film of the year, period. Phenomenal storytelling.

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post #7 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:28 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph, good work as usual!

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post #8 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:33 PM
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Great review. Can't wait until I get my Blur Ray copy from NetFlix.

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post #9 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:39 PM
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Awesome review Ralph! Thank You for keeping the PQ EE issues in perspective as this looks to be overall a fantastic transfer. Cant wait to experience this LFE track!

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post #10 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:40 PM
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great review
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post #11 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 12:48 PM
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I concur: Great review! I won't be receiving this early, but I do plan to have it on release Tuesday.
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post #12 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:03 PM
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Great review Ralph!!

One question -is the True-HD soundtrack 16 bit or 24 bit?

Regards
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartbrown21 View Post

Great review Ralph!!

One question -is the True-HD soundtrack 16 bit or 24 bit?

Regards

It is 16 bit, but it does not matter obviously. 96!!!! Reference.....WOO HOO!!!!
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post #14 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:06 PM
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Glad to hear the ringing was not intrusive, but why have it at all?
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post #15 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul? View Post

I concur: Great review! I won't be receiving this early, but I do plan to have it on release Tuesday.

Dag nab it! You would have to fix your post..... I was hoping they moved the release up by a week....


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post #16 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartbrown21 View Post

Great review Ralph!!

One question -is the True-HD soundtrack 16 bit or 24 bit?

Regards

I read 16
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post #17 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cnikirk View Post

Glad to hear the ringing was not intrusive, but why have it at all?

please, lets not carry the hoopla into this thread.
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post #18 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:11 PM
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Excellent review and like everyone else here I can't wait till December 9th!
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post #19 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:21 PM
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Another well done review, in particular the ever touchy PQ dept - props for stating it the way you see it (I saw it the same way).

My only minor gripe about this movie - Freeman and Caine needed more screen time, also, that cheesy Batman "deep" voice Bale used, uggh. But still, this movie is an instant classic, doubt they can top it with a 3rd.

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post #20 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuartbrown21 View Post

Great review Ralph!!

One question -is the True-HD soundtrack 16 bit or 24 bit?

Regards

The specs thread says 16.

But it really doesn't matter for this one. TDK had the best mix of the summer. I can't decide between this and Cloverfield.

I knew this was going to be a show stopper for audio. But a 96?
Oh, the 18 wheeler and the tunnel. Ahh, I still don't like Warner, but man that part sounds amazing. That wins single best mixing sequence of the year.

So it is just that one shot of the parade that looks bad, cool. So Warner only messed this up slightly, that's better than par for them.(It's a joke)
Still not happy about those extras, mostly because the History Channel's programming consist of stuff about mythological monsters - they once had a 3 hour doc on dragons.(not that I watched it or anything).

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post #21 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:44 PM
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The whole scene in the tunnel and then the 18 wheeler is amazing, plus its in IMAX format

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post #22 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ykiki View Post

Nice review. Thanks Ralph.

Might have to get this one for Christmas. We didn't see this one in the theater since my boys weren't really into Batman at the time - now they're hooked (thanks Lego Batman/PS3!).

We've since rented Batman Begins and my boys (7 & 11) were not put off at all with the "darkness" of the movie, which my wife & I worried about going into it.

Ralph, having not seen this in the theater, would you characterize the "mood" of the film similar to that of Batman Begins?

I of course am not Ralph, but I will respond to the question. The "mood" in Dark Knight is more sinister than the first. The villains in "BEGINS", while bad as they may be, are more detached from the anarchy than those of the second film. The first film has a lot to do with the mental makeup of Bruce/Batman, and of course how he comes to be. The second while following that lead even further and showing the battles he fights within quickly take a backseat to the demonic nature of the Joker. This is one villain you do not want your 7 year old pretending to be . I would strongly suggest previewing the film before you let the kiddies see it. Sure they will hate you for it now, but your wife will save on a lot of red lipstick. Just my opinion of course.

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post #23 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 02:05 PM
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yup awesome review cant wait for the movie!

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post #24 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fanaticalism View Post

please, lets not carry the hoopla into this thread.

Thank you. I agree. If you have a problem with the PQ, then please take it to the thread started by Alan in the BR software forum.

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post #25 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 02:25 PM
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Great review Ralph! Can't wait to get my order from Amazon....

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post #26 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 02:46 PM
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great review, nailed how i felt of the movie except for the Gary Oldman part. I thought he was brilliant and very fitting to be the one to give the monologue at the end.

this film was an easy 5-star for me.
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post #27 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 03:10 PM
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Very nice review. I forget, but for Dolby TrueHD audio do you select that or regular dolby digital (if there is one) if you just have a regular receiver hooked up with optical?

From what I have heard, everyone has been pleased with the picture quality. The only problem with the transfer is the halos. At least, that is what I have read in several reviews, but it seems this is a very small issue.
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post #28 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

Very nice review. I forget, but for Dolby TrueHD audio do you select that or regular dolby digital (if there is one) if you just have a regular receiver hooked up with optical?

From what I have heard, everyone has been pleased with the picture quality. The only problem with the transfer is the halos. At least, that is what I have read in several reviews, but it seems this is a very small issue.

Greetings,

Matt, the default audio setting is Dolby Digital 5.1 so you won't have to do anything.

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Ralph, having not seen this in the theater, would you characterize the "mood" of the film similar to that of Batman Begins?

No. This one is definitely darker in tone. Bruce Wayne's post above summarizes it very well. This is not one for young viewers.


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post #29 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DJ Matt View Post

I forget, but for Dolby TrueHD audio do you select that or regular dolby digital (if there is one) if you just have a regular receiver hooked up with optical?

If you are using optical toslink and select the TrueHD track (whether by default or otherwise), your player will automatically output the piggybacked DD 5.1 track.
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post #30 of 430 Old 11-25-2008, 04:01 PM
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Greetings,

Matt, the default audio setting is Dolby Digital 5.1 so you won't have to do anything.



No. This one is definitely darker in tone. Bruce Wayne's post above summarizes it very well. This is not one for young viewers.


Cheers,

yeah i think this one should definitely be kept away from kids. a lot of parents actually complained this movie should have been rated R and thinks the mpaa need to re-evaluate their rating system. just b/c there's no visual and graphic violence, sex, or foul language does not make a movie suitable for children.
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