IMAX and Sonic Booms

So the Science Museum got in touch with us last week. Said we do such a good job reviewing the films we see that they offered us a couple of complimentary tickets to review The Dark Knight Rises in their IMAX cinema. Put it this way people, if the Science Museum tells us we’re good… we’re good! And the IMAX screen in the museum is probably one of the best places you can see it in London.

Firstly, it was such an honour to be asked by the Science Museum to attend one of their screenings; as a former employee there, I felt great excitement going through the enormous exhibition halls where I spent many fond lunch hours. And secondly, I’ve seen the TDKR three times now and watching it in an IMAX theatre was the best possible way you could experience this movie.

I’ve already written my review for TDKR, which you can read here, so I won’t discuss it at great length however over 72 minutes of the film was shot with an IMAX camera which means it provides the best possible viewing experience for any cinema goer. While watching it in standard 35mm format doesn’t take away the epic nature of the film, having to watch some of the car/bike chase sequences, fist fights, the plane heist and the bridges exploding all over Manhattan on a screen the size of four double-decker buses on top of each other – sends a little chill down your spine.

When you consider an IMAX camera is one of the noisiest, most cumbersome cameras on the market, recording for only 3 minutes after taking 20 minutes to reload the set up – it’s exhausting to just imagine how Cinematographer Wally Pfister recorded so much of it. A standard digital camera uses a hardrive rather than film to capture footage and can store hours upon hours of filming. It’s economical and cost efficient too (which is good for the studios) as an IMAX print costs around $1,500 to produce while only a few hundred for a digital copy. Cinema chains have adopted the digital projections as they consider this the format of the future creating the best movie experience. But is it?

When The Dark Knight screened its opening 6 minute IMAX prologue ahead of Will Smith’s I Am Legend back in 2007 and Heath Ledger’s Joker pulled off one of the greatest bank heists in film history – it pretty much overshadowed the entire feature movie. No director prior to Nolan had chosen to use IMAX in that fashion before leaving the entire audience overwhelmed with what they just saw. They say first impressions count. This one really did. Not until James Cameron released Avatar in late 2009 did we even experience anything close to that first impression, topped only by Nolan with the release of TDKR.

With only 16 IMAX theatres existing in the UK, from 583 the world over, it was never really going to financially compete with digital 3D films and personally – I’m glad, because already the 3D fad is waning. Most films, including the likes of Avengers Assemble, are post production jobs that offer little, if any, significant cinematic value. Virtually sold out seats at most IMAX theatres for TDKR prove cinema goers are willing to fork out good money if they’re going to get something big in return.

If you want to discover more on why Nolan chose to use the IMAX camera and where his love for the format came from, check out the article from The Guardian. And if you’re struggling to find tickets to view TDKR in IMAX then the Science Museum still has plenty of tickets so you have no excuse not to watch it. Plus the museum has toys to play with. Even if you are over 30. And have no shame. Like me.

Film news has been slow this week but that’s mainly because TDRK has dominated the box office as well as the web due to the shooting in Aurora, Colorado last Friday. Earlier this week Batman aka Christian Bale paid a special trip to the victims that suffered the horrible incident proving he’s a big softy really. Cult Hub has spent a lot of time over the past few months covering TDKR, Mr Nolan and his film so it’s about time we said goodbye to the beloved franchise. But nobody could say it better than Christopher Nolan who wrote a bitter sweet foreword in the forthcoming book The Art And Making Of The Dark Knight Rises, where he talks poignantly about his nine year experience working on the films and how he will miss Batman, almost bringing a tear to my eye. I said almost. I didn’t really cry. At least not in front of anyone anyway.

As well as presenting extensive making-of footage at Comic-Con last week, Writer/Director/Producer Peter Jackson has hinted at expanding his second Hobbit film There And Back Again into two movies, making the entire project into a trilogy like he did with the original Lord Of The Rings. Talking to entertainment web magazine Hitfix, Jackson said that there was a rich vein of source material and that he’d “like to shoot a bunch more material that we couldn’t shoot.” Talks are in place with cast members at this stage to extend their contracts so expect some revelation very soon.

If anything, that void TDKR has left in my life is slowly being filled by the Hobbit and all the wonderful imagery Jackson will bring to the table. Like last time the films will be spaced a year apart with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey being released December 14th and The Hobbit: There And Back Again will follow December 13th… 2013. Jeez.

Another big movie that is literally following in the footsteps of The Hobbit is Avatar 2. After breaking records twice over (most expensive feature production at $362 million and highest grossing at $2.7 Billion), James Cameron will be filming much of Avatar 2 in Jackson’s Wellington production studio in New Zealand with Weta Digital taking charge of all the visual effects. The downside to this of course is that it won’t be ready for release until 2015 or later, with Avatar 3 being potentially released in 2018. Talk about taking your time!

A lot of trailers were released after they were shown at Comic-Con this year but the one that got me most intrigued was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel – which – looks – just – awesome. Mainly because it shows a completely different take on the story where Clarke Kent is seen to be a fisherman, then a hitchhiker and then a little boy wearing a red cape. Henry Cavill looks scruffy and rugged but very… human. There are two versions, one with Kevin Costner as Pa Kent doing a voice over while Russell Crowe as biological father Jor-El advising his son the world expects great things from him. No pressure then. We feel the guy who fought against tigers in a Coliseum probably has a better tone.

Cavill shows great charm and looks amazing as Superman when he breaks the sound barrier – creating a sonic boom no less than three times. There has been footage seen by some that shows Superman in action in traditional Snyder slow-mo action and if there’s anything this director can do – it’s action. We can’t wait to review future trailers as and when they come. Synder was born to direct this. Man of Steel will be released June 2013 and will star Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni and Russell Crowe.

Written by Vaskar S. Kayastha


Vaskar S. Kayastha is Cult Hub’s contributing film writer focusing on blockbuster movies as well as independent and world cinema. Vaskar graduated with a BA (Hons) in English which focused on the Classics, Medieval, Shakespearean and Ancient Literature. He also has a keen interest in Photography, History, Technology, Theology, Poetry, Ballet, Art, riding his Vespa and eating Gelato. Vaskar is also the Creative Director for TheStyleColumn - a portal for showcasing talented new fashion designers as well as covering global fashion weeks. Find out more about Vaskar on his blog or follow him on twitter.