Dear Christopher Nolan, Brad Bird & J.J. Abrams: David Fincher Ain't Convinced Of Shooting In IMAX

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by Kevin Jagernauth
December 22, 2011 11:03 AM
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Once mostly used for nature and history documentaries, the IMAX format has made the leap to the multiplex with Christopher Nolan bringing it boldly to his Batman franchise, Brad Bird using it to frame Ethan Hunt on his latest globe trotting adventure and J.J. Abrams considering sending the Enterprise through outer space on massive big screen size. And while it's too soon to tell if the industry will embrace the format the way they have 3D (granted, there are a few technological hurdles that need to be cleared before that can happen), one filmmaker isn't yet convinced of the merits of IMAX.

Speaking with MTV (via TechRadar) the always candid David Fincher talked about his reservations with the format. "They're going to have the digital equivalent of IMAX very shortly. I don't like the idea of changing fidelity in the middle of a movie just to say, 'Here comes some big shit!' " he said. "Whatever Brad Bird or Chris do is fine by me. I normally think in terms of homogenisation. I want to be able to count on a kind of resolution and depth of field. I never saw 'The Dark Knight' in IMAX. I could definitely see a difference in fidelity of the IMAX sequences. But to each his own."

Uh, zing? It would probably help up his opinion on the format to see Nolan's film in IMAX (those sequences are pretty impressive and immersive), but Fincher's criticisms from a technical standpoint aren't too surprising. The director is a major gearhead, and probably one of the smartest technical directors working today, and really, his difference of opinion comes down to an aesthetic choice (albeit one that we can't imagine any regular filmgoer would ever notice in a zillion years). He also wants his films to have a unified vision and a sudden switch in aspect ratio and size (if not done right) can easily take you out of the film, so we get where he's coming from. So, if you're holding out for "The Girl Who Played With Fire" in IMAX or something, you might want to start wishing for something else.

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5 Comments

  • Charles | December 23, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    I agree with RJ. I didn't see it as a zing either. Just his personal preference.

  • mike | December 22, 2011 6:18 PMReply

    The transition isn't jarring in theaters, but yes it is on Blu Ray, and it honestly depends on the usage of it. That aside, Fincher has been all digital for his last 4 movies now, always on the cutting edge of cameras, I don't see him switching to a hulking antiquated box camera even if he didn't have a problem with the transition.

  • starway2001 | December 22, 2011 12:54 PMReply

    He said he doesn't like the change in fidelity mid-movie or mid-sequence. What's wrong with that? I personally don't like it either. I've spoken with several movie buffs who also don't like that the Blu-Ray switches from 2.35 to 16x9 and back constantly.

    I was personally hoping that Nolan would just fully commit to IMAX and shoot the whole movie in the format so that the aspect ration and fidelity (resolution) don't change. Also, the depth-of-field changes between anamorphic 35 and IMAX. The lenses are also completely different. Anamorphic lenses squeeze the image giving it a very unique and particular bokeh and vignette. The IMAX lenses however are flat and spherical and do none of that. So there's definitely a switch not just in aspect ratios, but in the type and style of photography. And it can be jarring.

    So, please Mr. Nolan, just fully commit to your favorite format and shoot the whole movie on it.

  • WD | December 22, 2011 11:41 AMReply

    I have to say I don't agree with Fincher, I saw Batman in imax and I was not jarred by the change in format (to my surprise). And as great as digital is, and will be, it's still not as intoxicating to look at as a nicely shot piece of imax negative! Sorry Fincher.

  • RJ | December 22, 2011 11:08 AMReply

    "Whatever Brad Bird or Chris do is fine by me" and "to each his own" doesn't sound like a "zing" to me, sounds like he just gave an honest answer that he doesn't like IMAX

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