by Michael S. Palmer
While the Blu-ray earned top marks in picture and audio quality, at the time our review was published, The Dark Knight Rises FX App was not fully updated. Now that it is, we wanted to give our readers a quick preview of what they can expect from the Second Screen app -- what's ready now (for free) -- what will go live with the purchase of 'The Dark Knight Rises' Blu-ray.
Available only for iOS devices, The Dark Knight Rises FX App is Warners' largest app release thus far, available worldwide in 9 different languages (subtitles for any audio or video, and if your iPad/Pod/Phone's setup in a non-English language, the app's text will be in that language). Funny enough, many of you might already own the app, because it's technically an updated version of the Gotham's Most Wanted app released when the film hit cinemas earlier this summer. If you do own GMW, you've most likely recieved a notice saying there's a new update, which keeps all of GMW's previous features while adding the ability to make a video where a desert cammo Tumbler drives through or you put yourself in the iconic "RISE" Bane poster, and, of course, it now includes content to sync with the Blu-ray.
To use the new app when you pick up your Blu-ray on December 4th, simply select the Second Screen option on the Blu-ray's Disc One Main Menu. Your Blu-ray player then searches for any iOS Device on your home network with the installed app and, once found, launches the app and film simultaneously.
Designed for both the causal viewer and the hardcore fans, there are two ways to explore the app:
If you've ever used a Second Screen app before, Timeline will be very familiar to you. With the option to Sync Movie to App or Sync App to Movie always available, Timeline offers behind-the-scenes content of all types -- character backstories, featurettes, artwork, excerpts from the film's screenplay, etc -- via interactive thumbnails as the movie plays. And, at any point while watching the film, you can scroll ahead, or back, to access the various topics and special features.
If you're the type that would rather control the experience than let the film guide you, Index is probably a better option. Setup more like a Special Features disc, everything from the Timeline is distilled into the following catagories:
Interestingly, most, if not all, of the Featurette content and videos embedded in the other categories is actually from the Blu-ray combo pack's Disc Two. So you're not really getting new or extra content, but, in the absence of a special feature akin to a Picture-in-Picture track or feature length documentary, it's nice to overlay specific featurettes while watching the film itself. In fact, given what our reviewer said about navigating the vast quantities of Disc Two featurettes, I would say this Second Screen experience takes away any frustration and gives these bonus features added context.
Some screens have a DC Comics logo embedded, which opens a web portal over the app so that you can learn more about the comic book origins of specific moments or characters in the film. Others include Flick to Screen content, which are, essentially, short videos and animatics housed on the Blu-ray like Easter Eggs accessible only via the app. Note: Flick to Screen content cannot be played alone (on the Blu-ray, or on the app) -- you must be running the app while a Blu-ray is playing the film.
The Dark Knight Rises FX App is available now, and includes a preview of all of the Index categories. Once sync'd to a Blu-ray copy of the film, available on December 3, the app will unlock the rest of the content and then work with or without the Blu-ray (the exception being the Flick to Screen content, as mentioned above).