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Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan showed off about eight minutes of footage from The Dark Knight Rises on Thursday night, a preview that will be seen later this month in select IMAX 70mm theatres before Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.
The majority of the preview introduced audiences to Bane, the Batman movie’s major villain, played by a masked Tom Hardy. Without giving too much away, the footage revolved around a heist involving a plane.
The sequence was grand in scope, expanding the Batman world outside of Gotham City, and it was filled with a lot of tension and dread. The impact was strong, not only from the images on screen but from the score, which was reminiscent of Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Inception. (In fact, the plane heist opening synchs thematically with the bank heist opening of The Dark Knight.)
The crowd, made up mostly of the entertainment press and such executives as DC’s Diane Nelson and Geoff Johns, left the screening definitely impressed. Some did point out one pickle, however: the sound. It may be early in the sound mixing process, but a lot of key dialogue, particularly that of Bane, who speaks via a mask, was unintelligible.
When Heat Vision asked Nolan at the post-preview reception about the perceived problem, the director admitted that because of Hardy’s accent and because viewers can’t see his lips, there may be problems in hearing the dialogue (though he did say additional sound work would clear some of it up). And he admitted that sometimes in his movies a viewer may not grasp all the lines.
But to him, the visuals are as important to the storytelling as any dialogue. “Otherwise, it’s just a radio play,” Nolan said.
Nolan introduced the movie praising the IMAX film format, saying it was launched the year before he was born but is “the best imaging format ever created.” The reason for the preview, which will only appear on about 42 IMAX screens in North America, is to give the movie and Batfans a sense of what the experience of Rises will be in this format. Since only a handful of giant IMAX screens exist, the preview will “give (moviegoers) time to find (them),” Nolan said.
Nolan also said he wanted to bring back a sense of grandeur to movies, which he said was “being chipped away” by various forces. That grandeur was imprinted on him as a child and “I struggle to recapture that,” he said.
Prior to the press preview, Nolan had a run-though for another a A-list crowd. Sources say Nolan showed off the footage to filmmakers including Michael Bay, Bryan Singer, Jon Favreau and Eli Roth, among others.
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