Christopher Nolan doesn’t do 3D. That’s probably a good thing: The post-Avatar excitement about 3D filmmaking quickly devolved into cash grabs like Clash of the Titans and Alice in Wonderland, successful mediocrities featuring price-gouging post-production 3D nose jobs. When The Dark Knight Rises hits theaters this summer, it will take advantage of a more respectable technological gimmick. Nolan’s Dark Knight featured about a half hour of footage filmed with IMAX cameras, and according to the Wall Street Journal, Rises will feature about twice as much IMAX material.
In Dark Knight, the IMAX footage was mostly limited to action scenes: the opening bank heist, the Hong Kong caper, the big car chase. The fact that Rises will feature an hour of IMAX is intriguing, partially because it confirms that everything about the closing chapter of Nolan’s Batman saga will be, well, freaking enormous. It also comes soon after Mission:Impossible–Ghost Protocol wowed audiences with its centerpiece IMAX sequence of Tom Cruise climbing the tallest building in the world.
At this point, only a tiny handful of non-documentary movies have been shot in IMAX: Besides the Nolan Batman films and Ghost Protocol, the list of major Hollywood productions with genuine IMAX segments only includes Michael Bay’s nosebleed-inducing Transformers: Dark Rise of the Fallen Moon and J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Trek sequel. Every other movie released on IMAX screens — most recently Hunger Games — has just been converted. There has been no controversy over IMAX conversion, possibly because people are satisfied with watching movies on slightly bigger screens. Still, as the Journal article makes clear, IMAX is ramping up the number of films being released in the format this year. It’ll be interesting to see if, post-Rises, audiences start to become a bit more savvy about the process. Could there be a 3D-style backlash looming against IMAX? More to the point, now that IMAX is so focused on narrative movies, does this mean we’ll never get to see Everest Redux: Back 2 The Mountain?
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