Why Oppenheimer is a Must-Watch in IMAX: Nolan’s Vision Explained

One of the most anticipated films of the year, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, is set to release in theaters worldwide next week. The film, said to be shot exclusively using IMAX cameras, is anticipated to provide viewers with a unique cinematic experience.

Nolan is known for his impressive visual style in his previous works, such as the gritty realism of The Dark Knight and the aerial spectacle of Dunkirk. So, it’s time to figure out what sort of screen can provide us with the best viewing experience i.e., if we should be watching Oppenheimer on IMAX theaters or not.

Oppenheimer is a biographical film that portrays the life and work of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who led the Manhattan Project and developed the first atomic bomb. The film is adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

The cast features Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, along with Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., and Matt Damon in supporting roles. Early reviews have praised the film as Nolan’s best work to date, which is another hint for fans to catch Oppenheimer on the largest screen available!

Is Oppenheimer worth watching in IMAX?

Yes. In order to get the best viewing experience, it is best to watch Oppenheimer in IMAX theaters. Christopher Nolan himself has mentioned several times that the film should ideally be seen in IMAX.

Nolan’s filmmaking style has been influenced by his use of IMAX cameras, which capture a larger and more detailed image than conventional cameras.

Is it necessary to watch Oppenheimer in IMAX theaters?
Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer | Source: IMDb

He has developed a technique of framing his scenes in a way that accommodates both the IMAX format and the standard format, by placing the most essential elements of the action in the center of the screen. He has left some extra space towards the top and end of the screen for the IMAX theaters.

He considers the IMAX format to be the best way to immerse the audience in his films, as it creates a sense of scale and depth that makes the screen disappear and fills the viewer’s field of vision. For this reason, fans who want to appreciate Nolan’s artistic vision to the fullest may benefit from Oppenheimer in IMAX theaters, where they can experience the film as he intended.

How Nolan’s Vision in Oppenheimer is Unique

Oppenheimer showcases Nolan’s commitment to practical filmmaking, as it does not contain any CGI shots. This means that all the scenes in the film were created using real effects and props, including the spectacular depiction of the atomic bomb blast.

The trailer reveals that the film features stunning explosions that are full of movement and color, similar to the visuals from Interstellar. The film also has black-and-white sequences that portray Oppenheimer’s life, which were filmed using a special black-and-white IMAX film stock that Nolan developed to ensure the same level of visual quality as the rest of the film.

The film is a feast for the eyes and a tribute to Nolan’s vision, which can be best appreciated by watching it in IMAX theaters, where the film will be released next week.

Why Oppenheimer Was Shot Using IMAX Cameras

Director Christopher Nolan has been a fan of the IMAX format for a long time and has used it in his previous films, such as The Dark Knight, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk.

He believes that IMAX offers the best cinematic experience, as it creates a sense of immersion, scale and depth that makes the screen disappear and fills the viewer’s field of vision.

Is it necessary to watch Oppenheimer in IMAX theaters?
Christopher Nolan in the sets of Oppenheimer | Source: IMDb

Nolan wanted to capture the stunning and terrifying visuals of the atomic bomb explosion, which is a key element in Oppenheimer. He needed a specific camera that could showcase the movement and color of the blast, as well as the contrast between the black-and-white sequences of Oppenheimer’s life and the colorful sequences of the bomb.

He worked with IMAX to create a special black-and-white IMAX film stock for the first time, which he used for some parts of the film. In other words, he constructed a special camera for the making of Oppenheimer which has been used to shoot the black-and-white scenes in the film.

Nolan also wanted to push the boundaries of IMAX film and make Oppenheimer the longest IMAX movie ever. The film has a runtime of three hours, which is a technical challenge for IMAX film, as it requires larger platters to hold the film.

He asked IMAX if they could do it, and they agreed to widen the platters and adjust the arm that holds them. The director also said that this is the absolute limit of running time for an IMAX film print.

Therefore, Nolan chose IMAX cameras because he felt Oppenheimer should be shot using these cameras to give the audience the best viewing experience. I would personally recommend you to look for an IMAX screen near you and catch the film next week.

About Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer is a movie written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It’s based on the Pulitzer-winning book ‘American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer’ by the late Martin J. Sherwin and Kai Bird. The movie is produced by Nolan, his wife Emma Thomas and Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven.

J. Robert Oppenheimer was a theoretical physicist who is now considered the Father of the Atomic Bomb. He was responsible for the research and development of the first nuclear bombs, later called the Manhattan Project.

The biographical movie by Nolan sees Peaky Blinders’ star Cillian Murphy essaying the lead role of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The movie released in theaters on July 21, 2023.

Pratyasha Sarkar

Pratyasha Sarkar

Officially a student of literature, but unofficially a defence lawyer of fictional characters. I am mostly either feasting on chocolate chip cookies or binge watching sitcoms. Also, I firmly believe mint ice cream tastes like toothpaste.


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