From Mission Impossible to Oppenheimer: A blockbuster summer at BFI Imax
As the days of IMAX being the place for scientific documentaries recede into history, the format continues to evolve as a haven for filmmakers who uphold the integrity of cinematography. In layman’s terms, the IMAX film stock is way larger than the industry standard, which equates to significantly broader visual space. Imagine transitioning from 35mm to 70mm, thus tripling the visual area; and with digital cameras, it’s a monumental leap in resolution.
Southbank’s BFI is home to one of the world’s largest IMAX screens, a colossal 20m high by 26m wide; it’s comparable in size to a staggering 49,000 iPhone 14 displays and sets the stage for a mesmerising cinematic experience. It’s not just the size, the accompanying audio technology also boasts a state-of-the-art 12-channel sound system that complements the immersive visual spectacle.
Following a substantial revamp in November 2022, the BFI IMAX introduced a series of cutting-edge enhancements, including a 4K IMAX Laser projection system and plush new seats, while retaining the renowned IMAX GT Projector 15/70mm and a Century Projector for 35mm/70mm screenings. These upgrades cemented the theatre’s status as one of the top ten grossing IMAX cinemas globally.
This summer’s IMAX menu
With a venue so impressive, it would only be fitting to screen films that match its grandeur. This summer, three blockbusters are set to dazzle audiences:
1. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
The quintessential explorer, Indiana Jones has returned for a fifth exhilarating adventure – this time sans Spielberg. The change in the director’s chair is noticeable but does not detract from the pleasure of watching Harrison Ford in his element, traversing the globe in search of lost artefacts and thwarting Nazis. It’s a nostalgic thrill ride. Co-starring is the uniquely British talent, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who infuses the story with a dash of English humour. Though not filmed for IMAX, this picture serves as a tantalising prelude to the cinematic feast that awaits.
2. Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One
Hot on Indy’s heels is another seasoned action hero, IMF agent Ethan Hunt. The first instalment of a two-part saga, Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One, guarantees 160 minutes of adrenaline-pumping spectacle. By now, most film buffs will have heard about one of the most electrifying stunts ever executed on camera: Tom Cruise jumping from a Norwegian mountain’s summit with a motorcycle, freefalling into the abyss. For those who haven’t seen this yet: it’s chilling. On a screen as massive as the BFI’s, the heart-stopping action of Mission Impossible promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Christopher Nolan, a celluloid and IMAX devotee, presents his long-anticipated return: Oppenheimer. Like many of his recent works, it is shot with IMAX cameras, offering maximum use of the gigantic screen. The biographical story, focusing on the development of the atomic bomb, is set to blend Nolan’s trademark audience-drawing blockbuster style with auteur filmmaking. It’s worth noting that this film marks a departure from Nolan’s long-standing partnership with Warner Bros, owing to disagreements over release strategies and the perceived priority given to their Max streaming platform.
As the temperature rises this summer, there’s no better place than BFI IMAX to immers oneself in the cool magic of the movies.
The editorial unit