Nolan: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ finds the future in IMAX, not 3-D

Oct. 27, 2010 | 1:51 p.m.

All of Hollywood is reaching for 3-D glasses but Christopher Nolan sees a different vision of innovation.

“The title of the new film is ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ and we will be shooting and exhibiting the film in 2-D,” Nolan said of the third Batman film, which is planned for a 2012 release and will now be held up as a victory for the assorted foes of the stereoscopic trend for “event” films. Nolan hasn’t been shy about expressing his disdain for 3-D but he also has zero interest in taking on the mantle of some anti-3-D crusade. It’s too hard to predict the future landscape of studio feature filmmaking and Nolan doesn’t want to paint himself into a corner; more than that, by nature he is uninterested in polarizing controversy or grandstanding. Instead, the man who has become the Hitchcock of superhero cinema would rather take each film one at a time and make the best choice for it as far as format.

And for “The Dark Knight Rises,” that choice is not 3-D.

“We want the look and feel of the film to be faithful to what has come before in the first two films,” Nolan said. “There was a large canvas and operatic sweep to ‘The Dark Knight’ and we want to make a film that will carry on with that look and feel.”

Stereoscopic presentation would have significantly changed the feel of certain “Dark Knight” scenes, such as rooftop and aerial shots in Hong Kong that created vast and startling night vistas. “There’s an intimacy at times [with spatial illusion of the 3-D effect] and we didn’t want to lose scale…. Our ambition for the third movie is to complete a story that has begun,” Nolan said. “This is not starting over, this is not rebooting. We’re finishing something, and keeping a consistency with what’s come before has real value.”

The commitment to IMAX and high-definition cameras will enable Nolan to avoid the dim-image challenges that come with 3-D. He said it will let him take the third film in the series into a new stratum as far as image quality and the scale that can be achieved with that quality. ”We’re looking to do something technologically that’s never been done before,” Nolan said. “Our ambitions are to make a great movie.”

Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" (Warner Bros.)

It won’t be mandatory to see the film in IMAX; however, to “see the benefits of the extraordinarily sharp, high-resolution” images.

It’s interesting to watch the way 3-D is being handled by the different studios. With the announcement of two new “Avatar” films by the end of 2015, Fox and James Cameron will be pushing forward into the 3-D frontiers in a big way, and Disney is on board certainly after the strong showing by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.” But Warner Bros. has a far different experience now unfolding. The studio took major heat for the blurred and bungled 3-D conversion of “Clash of the Titans” (although the film was certainly a major financial success with $493 million in worldwide box office) and then Nolan successfully resisted overtures that “Inception” should be converted in a similar last-minute process. Warners also planned to release “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” in the stereoscopic  format next month but despite the advertisements and trailers already bearing the 3-D logo, the filmmakers and studio chief Alan Horn agreed that there wasn’t enough time to do the job right.

There’s plenty of time to do the conversion for “The Dark Knight Rises,” which doesn’t even begin filming until April, but Nolan said he was “able to make the case that pushing forward cinematically” isn’t defined by 3-D and that for the grim and massive visions of Gotham City, the best way to go was to use IMAX cameras and high-definition approaches that will be able to widen out even more. It’s a philosophical approach: Cameron is making a movie that makes people lean back, Nolan wants to make movies that make people lean forward.

“It’s horses for courses,” Nolan said, using the British expression for taking things case-by-case. It will be interesting to see if Nolan’s Superman film — which he and his wife, Emma Thomas, are producing and that Zack Snyder is directing — will be in 3-D, and I think there’s a very good chance that it will be, considering the very different visual imperatives of a movie based in gleaming Metropolis and featuring a character that is just begging to fly off the screen.

– Geoff Boucher


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Nolan breaks silence on Superman film

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Nolan on billion-dollar Batman: “It’s mystifying to me.”

“Dark Knight” producer talks about next Batman film

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Jolie would be purrfect Catwoman


13 Responses to Nolan: ‘Dark Knight Rises’ finds the future in IMAX, not 3-D

  1. Shane says:

    I think the enemy should be Superman.

  2. Chee says:

    Does Zach Snyder hate 3D too?

  3. Omar Guzman says:

    "Cameron is making a movie that makes people lean back, Nolan wants to make movies that make people lean forward."

    Damn Straight! Cameron's Avatar was overrated! God was i Bored

  4. Chris says:

    No, he doesn't.

  5. Nope You Lose says:

    Wouldn't it be sick if Superman was the villain in "Rise."

  6. KipsterKipster says:

    Gimme a creepy Philip Seymour Hoffman sweating as the Ventrilliquist and you got yerself a psycological thriller on par with that classic movie "Magic". Throw in Killer Croc for some muscle and bingo…instant blockbuster. Top that Nolan!

  7. Patrick says:

    I think a 3D Superman could work quite well, especially with Zach Snyder directing. If you look at Watchmen and 300, there are definitely scenes that would've looked incredible in 3D. And Geoff Boucher is right, Superman is just begging to fly off the screen. Characters like Superman, Green Lantern, and Spider-Man are much more suited for 3D than Batman or the X-Men.

  8. tony says:

    "There’s plenty of time to do the conversion for “The Dark Knight Rises,” which doesn’t begin filming until April"

    If they were to decide to do it in 3D in advance, it wouldn't be a 3D conversion, it would be shot in 3D, which is completely different.

  9. Vital says:

    ok i agree superman as the new villain it's somethig that i would like to see and tham i will say " superman have powers but againt batman he is nothing" hell yeah

  10. Muntasir says:

    Next time you see him can you PLEASE ask what he thinks about "Maxivision 48". It's a 48 fps projection technology that provides 400% better image quality than current standards, and has been around for quite a few years but hasn't been picked up by any of the big players.

    Also what is view in general on higher frame rates for the future of cinema.
    I believe he can do for frame rates what Cameron did for 3D.

  11. Mr Boofink says:

    Read the title. Yes there will be a villain but it is about Bruce coming to grips that HE IS the batman and that Gotham city needs him and accepts him for who and what he is.

    the first movie was the origin story the second was the fall from grace, think the empire strikes back then this movie will be Batman will be triumphant.

    I see the cat woman because she is someone who can both accept who he is and be a foil plus his girl got offed in the last movie.

    the dark knight was NOT about batman but this one will be.

  12. evilal119 says:

    alot of talk about cat woman but what if it is batgirl?

  13. uncreativeforumname says:

    There's a lot of unoriginal suggestions here. Why does everyone have to have a cookie cutter predictable movie? All of these characters have been death and poorly by previous producers and directors.

    At the same time I think that Nolan should complete the circle on this movie, not to mention don't pick a drastically obscure villain because while most of the people on this board are obviously huge Batman enthusiasts, a movie (especially one to which that is suppose to be culminating a trilogy) should cater to it's audience.

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