Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to be invited along to London’s BFI IMAX theatre for the preview screening of the first six minutes of The Dark Knight Rises, the eagerly anticipated final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series.
A screening of just the first six minutes of the film might seem a little unusual, however, this technique was used before to promote the last Batman film, screening the prologue before I Am Legend in IMAX theatres, which proved to be very successful.
Christopher Nolan has made no secret of his love of the IMAX format. Speaking at the LA screening he said:
It’s a film format that…to this day, (is) far and away the best format that has ever been created, there’s nothing to touch it. The best way to see (The Dark Knight Rises), to get the benefit of the action scenes the way we’ve seen them, is on the screen of this size. So we wanted to get (the preview) out there for fans to let them know what this experience going to be, why it’s worth seeing, and worth seeking out.
For me, as a filmmaker, this format takes me back really to how I was as a child, seeing this incredible larger-than-life format. That’s something I wanted to bring back. I’ve found it an incredible immersive experience, and there’s something very exciting about showing people (this prologue.)
Introducing the prologue in London was one of the film’s producers, Emma Thomas, who confirmed that Christopher Nolan hoped that people would come to IMAX theatres to see The Dark Knight Rises and that IMAX was the ideal way to experience the film.
With Emma’s promise of action and the introduction to the film’s antagonist, the lights were dimmed and the fun began.
We will spare you spoilers, however, if you wish to view the film with fresh eyes, we suggest you skip to the end.
The prologue opens in a standard aspect ratio, with Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon paying tribute to Harvey Dent before the format switches to the wall of cinema that is IMAX and we are launched into the action and our first encounter with Bane.
Needless to say, the direction is stunning and the sequence utilizes Nolan’s mastery with the camera, throwing away the rulebook to capture the dizzying physics of an opening set piece that would not have seemed out of place in Inception.
The action in this sequence is truly incredible, too, with terrific stunt performances, all pitched perfectly between the absurd and realistic. With the obvious nod to Licence To Kill in this sequence, one can only wonder what magic Nolan might deliver at the helm of a Bond film.
We are also introduced to Tom Hardy’s Bane here. Reports of his physical stature, his magnetic presence and his intensity have not been exaggerated, however, his mask obscures his dialogue so completely that he sounds like Darth Vader after he has been locked in a cupboard. So much so, subtitles would be almost essential to decipher what he is saying and, it must be said, this leads to a degree of confusion in this scene and diminishes his threat. We sincerely hope that his dialogue is redubbed before the general release.
With this stunning sequence at an end, there follows a fast cut back end, giving us glimpses of the action to come in the film. We get to see Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle in full costume as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake, and a new piece of kit for Christian Bale’s Batman. It’s easy to forget seeing this prologue and the following teaser shots that Christian Bale is in this film at all and that the film is, after all, a Batman film. However, there are hints of a serious showdown between Batman and Bane, as the famous cowl is left broken in Bane’s hands.
With that, the lights came up and we were left wondering if this really had been only six minutes, before we are snapped back to reality and made our way down the seemingly endless stairs. The general buzz from the milling throng of journalistic types was positive, but it must be said that conversation was dominated by Bane’s muffled voice.
One limited edition t-shirt later and we were back into the crisp December air to reflect on the experience. How could we impart how good this was without giving too much away? Well, we could just use one simple word: Awesome.
The Dark Knight Rises prologue can bee seen at the IMAX theatres in front of Mission: Impossible IV – Ghost Protocol.
The Dark Knight Rises: Prologue screening
The first six minutes of The Dark Knight Rises? Oh yes, we’ve seen them. And they’re stunning. Dublo reports…
Ben is our resident screenwriter, that’s right, a real-life movie screenwriter. If we hadn’t captured him, drugged him and locked him in the basement here at Prodigal Towers, right now he’d be living the Hollywood dream that should rightfully be his, ensconced in a John Lautner house in Malibu. But don’t feel sorry for him. More fool him for drinking that spiked Martini in the first place.
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