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Batman Begins on Blu-ray: Dark Knight preview kicks Bat-ass

Batfans will love Batman even more in HD on Blu-ray, and if you love Batman more than is strictly healthy, you'll go crazy when you see the Dark Knight preview on this disc

There have been far too many truly cack superhero movies. Even the otherwise brilliant Batman franchise lost its way with Batman and Robin, which despite Alicia Silverstone was a bloody mess. When Batman Begins came out, we were frankly amazed that director Christopher Nolan had brought it back to the level of Tim Burton's films, albeit with a very different approach. Now it's finally touching down in the UK on Blu-ray for the first time -- previously it was available on HD DVD and as a US import.

It's worth saying at the outset that there's one thing on this Blu-ray that makes it very exciting indeed, namely a 6 minute preview of the new film The Dark Knight, which is the opening scene of the new movie. We won't spoil it, but our mouths were hanging open and our blood pressure was through the roof. You'll watch it at least 40 times -- it might be the best disc extra ever. If you aren't excited about the new movie yet, you damn well should be!

Begins itself is awesome too -- if you haven't already seen it, we'd be happy to recommend you grab it on Blu-ray anyway, and get into Nolan's Batman 'universe' as soon as possible. The film is captivating from the very start, and although at times it's thoughtful, it's never dull. Even Scientology Baby Creation Unit #1 doesn't ruin it, although we're glad she's been replaced in the new film.

There are loads more extras, including a wonderful look at the Batmobile and how it was designed and constructed. Among a plethora of other stuff there's an MTV Movie Awards spoof called 'Tankman', which isn't especially funny, until the end.

From our initial preview, the picture and sound quality is nothing short of epic. The 1080p picture looked delightful on our Panasonic plasma, and if we'd had the time, we would have watched the whole movie. We did look specifically at the scene where Bruce Wayne returns from his training in the private jet, and the colour and detail were stupendous.

One word of caution: Batman Begins requires that you have a reasonably up-to-date player with the latest firmware on it. This might be a little annoying for people who don't want to be messing about updating their players. Our Sony BDP-S500 refused to play the disc, crashing after loading all the interactive bits. Updating the firmware fixed that, however, and it wasn't that hard either -- more information is available on the offical Blu-ray site.

Batman Begins is out on Blu-ray on 14 July, while The Dark Knight has advance screenings from 23 July and goes on general release on the 25th. That's only two weeks away, Batfans! -Ian Morris