In less than two months The Dark Knight Rises opens in theaters across the world and, in many cases, it will be shown in the IMAX theater format. But, should you try and watch it in IMAX format?
Synopsis: Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent's crimes.
Cast: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy
Director: Christopher Nolan
On July 20, 2012 The Dark Knight Rises opens in theaters in the US.
While Hollywood loves 3-D and is constantly trying to open movies in the format, IMAX is having a quiet revolution. Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations at IMAX said the format is "fulfilling the promise that 3-D didn't keep, that it would be unlike anything you've seen."
It's the first commercial film to film over an hour of footage in the large screen format.
Nolan says IMAX is "the best film format that was ever invented.” When asked if the next Batman movie would be filmed in 3-D, director Christopher Nolan said,
"The truth is, I think it’s a misnomer to call it 3-D versus 2-D. The whole point of cinematic imagery is it’s three-dimensional. … You know, 95% of our depth cues come from occlusion, resolution, color and so forth, so the idea of calling a 2-D movie a '2-D movie' is a little misleading."
He was critical of 3-D too, saying "On a technical level, it’s fascinating, but on an experiential level, I find the dimness of the image extremely alienating"
So, we don't have a choice. The Dark Knight Rises will not be shown in 3-D. If you want a more powerful movie going experience you can choose to catch it in IMAX format.
But, should you? Is it worth, the effort, time and expense of going to an IMAX show? Here are some things to think about.
A Much More Powerful Movie-Going Experience
First, let's establish something: Watching the last Batman movie The Dark Knight was a powerful experience.
"When you see it (and you will), settle for nothing less than IMAX." Josh Tyler at CinemaBlend said. "They play a key role in setting the tone of the story...Exterior shots, flyovers of the city and amazing, breathtaking chases are done using IMAX, stretching out to cover the entire, enormous IMAX canvas, conveying a tremendous sense of scope by rote of contrast.
"Gorgeous, dark, city flyovers are used to hammer home the size of the world Batman and Joker are operating in, and pummel the audience with the scale of this place and hopelessness of Batman’s task in guarding it. None of that will be quite so evident seen anywhere but in IMAX, and you owe it to yourself, perhaps more with this film than with any other in the history of the format, to see it in the best way possible."
That film only had "25 minutes of IMAX" in it. Can you imagine what we'll say about an hour?
It Might Be A Lot of Work To Find A Theaters
The IMAX format is very specific using special projectors and screens almost six stories high. As of March 31, 2012, there were 643 IMAX theatres (510 commercial multiplex, 20 commercial destination and 113 institutional) in 52 countries. In the United States, only 325 of the nation's 39,000 theaters show commercial films.
It Can Be Tiring
IMAX films can be a tiring experience. The screen is so large that it takes some neck work to see the whole screen. The movie is about two hours and 40 min long. That can get your head swiveling. But, like any movie theater there are good places and bad places to sit. If you can get in line early enough, they say the best seats are in the center of the theater 2/3 of the way up. This gives the best view of the screen and the dome, and is where sound technicians check the film from.
It Might Be Sold out
Tickets for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX are already sold out in three major cities. Advance tickets for the film go on sale today. Considering how fast those tickets sold, and the small number of theaters, they could all be sold out by the time you finish reading this post.
In fact, the midnight screening of IMAX films sold so fast they crashed several severs in Australia.
It Can Be Expensive
IMAX is the one format that can never be repeated, so if you don't see it in the theaters you'll never see it that way again. Jeff Bock said it best, "Unlike great sound or 3-D glasses, you can't replicate IMAX at home unless you have a six-story screen." It comes with a price. The average movie ticket costs $8. IMAX tickets are around $15. Is it worth spending an extra $7 for the IMAX experience? Only if you skip the popcorn.
It Can Give You Motion Sickness New
A small percentage of the population get motion sickness from IMAX films. I don't, but I don't get motion sickness from anything. Some get sick in the bathtub. That's just the way it is.
The reason this can happen is that IMAX has a curved screen and this can be disorienting to the brain. You're sitting still, but your eyes tell you you're moving. One health site describes motion sickness this way:
Symptoms of motion sickness generally include dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting in various degrees. Some individuals feel just slightly uncomfortable, while others may be affected for hours or days after the trip. Either way, motion sickness is not fatal or even particularly serious.From the previews there are going to be quite a few shots of things flying and falling from great heights (ex. The "Bat" plane). This might be one of those films that makes you sick. There's no way to know for sure, since we don't know exactly what scenes are in the large screen format. IMAX always gives this warning before the show: "If you get dizzy, close your eyes and sit back. The feeling will pass."
It Can Give You A Headache New
I haven't found any formal reports, but some people complain about getting headaches from IMAX films. This may just be for the 3-D IMAX, like Avatar, but it's worth checking into.
So there you are. IMAX films are expensive, hard to find and tiring. But, if you want to experience the film the way Christopher Nolan intended, you may have to take the plunge.
Tickets are on sale now, so go to your favorite movie site (ex. Fandango) if you want to find an IMAX theater near you or just want to buy advance tickets to The Dark Knight Rises.
UPDATED: If you do decide to go to IMAX, read my follow-up post Where Can You See 'The Dark Knight Rises' In Real IMAX?
What do you think? Is The Dark Knight Rises worth watching in IMAX format? Have you ever seen an IMAX film?
[Image Source: screenrant]