As fans patiently await any sliver of news regarding Batman 3, longtime Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister recently discussed the probability of shooting the sequel to The Dark Knight in IMAX and 3D. With the constant news surrounding the 3D revolution and the superb IMAX scenes from The Dark Knight, both are hot topics in regards to the look and feel of Batman 3.
Christopher Nolan has stood firm on the side of shooting with film, rather than relinquishing to the trendy style of digital shoots. Of course, digital is a must for 3D and therein lies the dilemma for Nolan, Pfister and Warner Bros. It seems obvious the production company behind the franchise will be doing everything in their power to bring Nolan to "the dark side." But, given their recent collaboration, which resulted in Warner Bros. giving the director $160 million to make a passion project with no studio interruption that we know of, who is to say they won't continue to step back and give Nolan free reign. Maybe it's all riding on the success or failure of Inception.
Wally Pfister told Cinematical that potential Mission: Impossible IV director Brad Bird has tried coaxing him into shooting the entire third installment in IMAX. But this will prove difficult as the two constantly think in unison. Both Nolan and Pfister dislike the bulky, loud equipment of IMAX cameras, even though they have repeatedly expressed a love for the overall look. It has not been ruled out, and the two discuss the possibility of an entire film in the 70mm format, but don't press your luck.
Pfister mentions he and Nolan want to utilize the tools available to create "something cool and fascinating." But those tools surely won't be digital cameras. Although the abilities of cameras like the RED are expanding every year, the two are old school and influenced by films of the 60s and 70s. It would be hard to imagine a Christopher Nolan film in digital, a medium that looks different even to the untrained eye.
Most importantly, Nolan is a storyteller. Using fancy new technologies to make a film look cool is not his style. Now, if that equipment could further his story or express his vision in a more expansive way, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a conversion. Keep in mind, we are talking about a man with hardly any photos of him without a suit on. He sticks to his style and right now it's working.
As for 3D, the pressure will surely compound as more executives jump on the bandwagon. Pfister is none too pleased with the spike in 3D. Oddly enough, he actually shot a scene in 3D on The Dark Knight, leading me to wonder where it is and how I can see it.
"I did it for one shot of The Dark Knight because [Nolan] said, you have to say you did it, and literally I had this strapped to my shoulder and I was carrying it. But I think Chris is game for doing something interesting like that, Lord knows that the 3D fad might pass by the time that summer comes around."
"It's great for like amusement park rides like the 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids' ride at Disneyland...It's a distraction. Can you imagine Memento in 3D? With Joey Pantoliano's glasses sticking out a few feet with his hair all the way back there?"
Producer Michael Uslan
At the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) this past weekend, The Dark Knight producer Michael Uslan spoke to his own thoughts of 3D's future. It makes for an intriguing production meeting when part of the creative team loves 3D and others do not.
When I asked Uslan how he felt about the impact of 3D on superhero films and whether it will help the genre or put stories into a corner for flashy imagery, he praised the format:
"Everything about 3D changed thanks to Jim Cameron. He was the first director to use 3D, not in a gimmicky way of making things pop out at you as if you're sitting at Disney World at the Magic Kingdom and reacting to that, but instead to pull you into a world where you feel completely enveloped in that universe and can look at leaves on a tree, or whatever you want to focus on. That was groundbreaking. And I believe that the great filmmakers are now going to start to utilize that in that same way...You're not probably going to see a movie like Capote in 3D, but the comic books and the related genres are perfect for the 3D."
When you think of it that way, 3D would work quite well for Nolan's Batman 3. The way he has made Gotham City a character of its own, alive in nearly every scene, lends itself well to a 3D interpretation. Shot in the format, we can experience a sensation similar to Avatar, where the surroundings become a part of the scene, rather than a way to get your attention.
The word 3D may sound like a dirty one, but when utilized with focus and drive it has been proven to work. But a Christopher Nolan film is more than images. They transform and adapt, constantly moving around in an effort to reach a final moment or thought. While the IMAX format looks great and filming in 3D allows viewers to be immersed in a film, it has to be considered what kind of movie is being made. Until we know the details of Batman 3's plot, which may be revealed at the San Diego Comic Con, speculation is the name of the game.
What do you think about the IMAX and 3D process? Will it work for Batman 3? Would you like to see an entire film in IMAX? Share your thoughts in the message board below.