the take

Point-Counterpoint: Should You See ‘The Dark Knight’ in Imax?

Courtesy of Warner Brothers

With opening-weekend Imax showings of The Dark Knight already selling out in many cities, is it worth waiting a couple of days — or waking up at four in the morning — to pay extra money and see Batman on the biggest of big screens? Or should you just see it in a regular theater, since after all, only twenty minutes of the movie are shot in Imax anyway? We asked New York’s Logan Hill, who saw the movie in Imax, to debate Dan Kois, who saw it on a standard screen.

Why see The Dark Knight in an Imax theater? As P-Funk front man George Clinton once succinctly explained to us, “‘Cuz that shit is motherfuckin’ huuuuuge.”

Imax 70mm negatives pack in the digital equivalent of 70 megapixels per frame. Place a 35mm frame over an Imax frame and it looks like a puny postage stamp mounted on a panoramic postcard. Philistine technophobes dismiss the hyperresolution afforded by this Brobdignagian camera system as a manipulative gimmick, and they are just as correct as the Victorian idiots who dismissed moving-picture technology as a fad in the 1890s. In his film 2001, no less an unprincipled carnival barker than Stanley Kubrick used this ridiculous gimmick to emphasize the vastness of space and the crystalline, antiseptic inhumanity of robotics. In The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan and his cameraman Wally Pfister kick off their film with six of the film’s twenty or so minutes of Imax footage, generating menace out of an impossibly detailed but otherwise simple shot of an office tower — and making the Joker’s bank heist even more startlingly immediate. It’s just one of Nolan’s answers to a nearly insoluble problem: How do you make men in tights believable? With Imax, you overload audiences with detail, until what’s on the other side of the looking-glass mirror looks more real than what’s around them. —Logan Hill


Bat Man good on normal screen! Good movie! No matter what screen! Big screen, small screen, all same! Bat Man big! Joker blow things up! Movie in color! Can see everything! Save money! See Bat Man regular screen! Not miss things! —Dan Kois

Apologies to The Onion, natch.

Point-Counterpoint: Should You See ‘The Dark Knight’ in Imax?