Movies – Tenet & 9 Other Movies That Made The Best Use Of The IMAX Camera, Ranked
There are hundreds of movies that have been screened on IMAX screens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was shot on an IMAX camera. Surprisingly, there are very few Hollywood movies that are actually shot on IMAX cameras, and that isn’t just because Christopher Nolan accidentally destroyed one of the four in existence when shooting The Dark Knight.
There are a few reasons why so few movies are shot on the hardware. They are extremely expensive to use, whether it’s renting the camera or the film, and they are insanely loud too, as filmmakers are still trying to figure out a way around shooting scenes with dialogue with the camera. However, that leaves only the most special of movies with the most skilled of directors behind them, and it has led to some of the century’s most incredible action scenes.
10 Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
Though it’s extremely hard for the character of Spock to ever get the urge to beat anybody to a bloody pulp, as that completely goes against his beliefs, that’s exactly what he does to Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, and being shot on IMAX, it couldn’t look better.
There aren’t many scenes in the movie that are shot on IMAX besides the final chase scene between Spock and Khan, but shots of the Starship Enterprise and space, the final frontier, have never looked prettier. Unfortunately, the camera wasn’t used for the third movie, which is arguably the best of the series.
9 Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Not all of the Hunger Games movies are celebrated amongst critics, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is the highest rated in the series, has the most interesting battle arena and features the most exciting action scenes, which makes it a genuinely great movie.
Of all of the films on the list, Catching Fire is the best at hiding the switch in aspect ratios between the IMAX camera and the ordinary digital camera, as the IMAX shot is obviously much taller. The movie uses dark shots when the switch is made, and there are many movies, including The Dark Knight, that could have learned from this.
8 Dunkirk (2017)
Easily the most linear Christopher Nolan movie in over a decade, and possibly ever, Dunkirk is a simple war movie for the most part. But it does carry one Nolan trademark, which is the use of the IMAX camera to capture some of the most epic shots possible.
And with it being the first war movie to be shot partially on IMAX, the broad landscapes of France and the sweeping bomber planes storming the beach make it ironically the most beautiful looking war movie ever made.
7 Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)
As the Dark Knight trilogy revolutionized the new way of using the IMAX camera for Hollywood movies, it only makes sense to continue the tradition by using the camera for the new depiction of the caped crusader in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Though the film is far from the most received superhero flick ever made, the opening sequence is one of the few positive things to remember the movie by, as it reimagines the final scene of Man of Steel from Bruce Wayne’s perspective on the ground. And being shot on IMAX, it is one of the most narratively creative ways that the camera has been used.
6 Interstellar (2014)
Yet another Christopher Nolan movie to be shot on the IMAX camera and definitely not the last, Interstellar was the director’s most ambitious movie, and not just because it featured the most shots using the iconic camera. The film is one of the most polarizing movies of the millennium, but regardless of what audiences think of the movie, it’s impossible to deny how astonishing all of the shots of space are.
Whether it’s traveling between universes, landing on random, washed up worlds, or simply driving through cornfields on earth, the IMAX camera makes everything from outer space to fields of wheat look breathtaking.
5 The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The over the top grandiosity might be one of the things the movie got wrong, but the IMAX camera at least makes that grandiosity look absolutely stunning. The Dark Knight Rises is a whole lot of film, and being 165 minutes in length, there’s so much of that runtime that’s action-packed, even if Batman is frustratingly absent for most of it.
From the scenes of Bane taking over Gotham, to the destruction of the football stadium, to the struggle in prison, the third movie in the trilogy has some of the biggest action scenes shot on the camera.
4 First Man (2018)
First Man is the most action-packed movie to come from Damien Chazelle, as the filmmaker had directed mostly music-based movies up to this point, including Whiplash and La La Land, so the high concept of his latest movie comes as a massive surprise.
But with the success of those movies, as different as they may be, the director was granted a lot of freedom and was seemingly given cart blanche. This made First Man, a biopic about Neil Armstrong, one of the most awe-inspiring movies that was expertly shot on IMAX, and those shots of shuttles blasting off into space are incredible and arguably better than Interstellar.
3 The Dark Knight (2008)
Not only is the movie one of the few Oscar-winning sequels, but The Dark Knight also marks the first time that the camera was used in a big blockbuster movie. The opening scene, which might just be the most iconic scene in a comic book movie ever, is a helicopter shot of two of Joker’s henchmen zip-lining from one building to another, and that very shot began a whole new way of filmmaking.
There are other scenes the show off the camera’s quality too, such as the moment when the truck flips over and the many shots of Batman gliding through the Gotham skyline. Though it might not have the most intricate and action-packed scenes shot on IMAX, it was certainly the most exciting.
2 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
With the seventh installment of the franchise being one of the most anticipated movies of 2021, it’s surprising that the series hasn’t returned to using IMAX cameras since the fourth movie, especially considering how the stunts in the movie just get bigger and bigger.
However, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol arguably made the best use out of the camera more than any of its sequels ever could. With all of the stunts in the series, the ones that take place in Ghost Protocol are perhaps best suited for the IMAX camera. The scenes in Dubai alone, which sees Tom Cruise climb up the tallest building in the world and run through a sandstorm, are two of the very best uses of the camera ever.
1 Tenet (2020)
Tenet might have confused millions of cinephiles, and the sense and logic of the movie are definitely up for debate regardless of how much exposition there is, but it was all worth it for the unprecedented action scenes alone. All of the incredible inverted action sequences in Tenet is one of the reasons why there should be a sequel, as the scenes where people and objects go forwards and backward in time at the same time is something audiences have never seen before.
The sequences wouldn’t have been the same if they weren’t shot in IMAX. And on top of that, there are so many other scenes that are made impossibly outstanding thanks to the camera, including the airplane crash and the huge war zone at the end of the movie. And that is why Tenet is the best movie shot on IMAX, bar none.
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