Christopher Nolan is a self-professed fan of IMAX, having shot certain scenes in The Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises in the format; so, it comes as little surprise to learn that he'll shoot certain sequences for his next directing project, the original sci-fi feature Interstellar, using the IMAX technology.
What's more unexpected, though, is the announcement that director Michael Bay will film Transformers 4 in 3D and use cutting-edge IMAX 3D cameras during the blockbuster's central set pieces. It's part of a five-picture deal between the IMAX Corporation and Paramount, which is backing the fourth Transformers installment (as it did with the previous three) and co-producing Interstellar.
Interstellar is based on an original script written by Jonathan Nolan and revised by his brother, and has cast Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) and Dark Knight Rises leading lady Anne Hathaway, who will portray individuals that journey "to the farthest borders of our scientific understanding." The sci-fi subject matter is said to include time travel, alternate dimensions and wormholes, so filming on a broader canvas to reflect those big ideas makes sense, from a creative perspective.
Nolan's film will probably offer a more Kubrickian vision of the cosmos (a la 2001: A Space Odyssey), which means the IMAX format should enhance its visual design much like it did the grand crime saga feel of Dark Knight and war epic structure of Dark Knight Rises.
By comparison, the filmmaker decided against shooting any portions of Inception in IMAX, because he was "trying to portray the reality of dreams rather than their extraordinary nature"; expect the opposite to be true for Interstellar, based on the implicaton that the sheer incomprehensibility of time and space will be expressed cinematically.
Needless to say, that proposal sounds more than a little enticing to me, even given the inherent awkwardness of transitions between scenes "stretched" to fit IMAX and those naturally designed for the format. It can be a problem for those who see Nolan's movies in "true" IMAX theaters (re: 70 mm), but it probably won't even be noticeable for the majority of people that see Interstellar in a digital IMAX theater (re: 65 mm).
The Transformers franchise, of course, is all about larger-than-life spectacle (in the shapes of giant CGI alien robots), and Collider has the exclusive on Bay using the newly-developed and agile digital IMAX 3D cameras for the fourth installment's "big seminal scenes... the showcase scenes."
Indeed, Bay informed the site's Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub that his new toy might cost more than this month's Bay-directed release, Pain & Gain, altogether. Moreover, he won't shoot the entirety of TF4 in IMAX 3D because “we’re [already] screwed with the amount of computing power we’re going to need here.”
In addition, Bay informed Collider that:
- He won't shoot in the 48 fps/high frame rate ( a la Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy)
- Most of Transformers 4 will be shot digitally, but there will be some film cameras used.
The Transformers 4 human cast includes Mark Wahlberg (2 Guns), Nicola Peltz (Bates Motel) and Irish actor Jack Reynor as its leads, with a newly-announced addition of Oscar-nominee Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) in a supporting capacity.
During the Paramount Pictures presentation at the ongoing 2013 CinemaCon (via SHH), Bay also teased another young actor will be officially announced as being a TF4 cast member in the near future. Not that most fans care about those "puny" humans who show up alongside characters like Optimus Prime (as they'll be more than glad to tell you), but they're a necessary cost-cutting measure.
As for the use of IMAX 3D: the 3D action sequences in Transformers: Dark of the Moon proved worth the price of a ticket alone, so I would expect that much to stay true for Transformers 4. Take or leave that for what it's worth.
Transformers 4 (not the official title) opens in theaters on June 27th, 2014.
Interstellar arrives in theaters on November 7th, 2014.