After more delays than a London Underground, the new James Bond film, No time to die, has finally reached UK cinemas and is set to release in the US on October 8, 2021.
The film has had a long and slightly difficult journey to the screen. After parting ways with original director Danny Boyle in 2018 and bringing in new writers, the film had already undergone a lengthy gestation process ahead of its slated theatrical debut date in April 2020. Since then, however, it has been delayed three times due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Bond fans have waited long enough. It seems to have been worth it, with most critics calling Daniel Craig’s latest installment high praise.
If you want to see it, you won’t run out of screens to see it, so the question is: what is the best movie format to choose?
The ultimate format to view the film must be IMAX with a dual laser projection system and a 1.43 screen. The reason is that for the first time for Bond, director Cary Fukunaga shot 40 minutes of the film with 15/70mm IMAX cameras, as IMAX ultimate hobbyist Christopher Nolan used for films. such as Dunkirk and Tenet. In fact, IMAX Senior Vice President and Head of Post-Production Bruce Markoe recently informed me that the only reason IMAX cameras weren’t used for much of the film was is because there are only eight and at the time the movie was shooting Nolan was using most of them for Tenet.
The advantage of 15/70mm is twofold: The aspect ratio means a huge full frame image, with additional image information above and below the areas used in conventional widescreen movies. The second benefit is image quality – the detail in a 15/70mm image is unparalleled – that’s why Nolan loves it and it’s a great choice for a Bond movie.
Unfortunately, Universal and MGM distributors have decided not to remove 15/70mm film for filming at all, which is a real shame considering the use of such cameras for filming. However, viewing locations equipped with a 1.43 aspect ratio IMAX screen and an IMAX GT dual laser projection system (a single laser does not have enough light for a full frame 1.43 image) may show the film exactly as the director intended. . However, here in the UK there are only two – the Science Museum in London (reviewed here) and the Vue IMAX Printworks in Manchester. Unfortunately, the former does not currently show any commercial films, leaving the Manchester Printworks as the only location in the country to show Bond in the ultimate “full frame” format.
Slots with a dual laser and 1.43 aspect ratio combination are rare beasts around the world and this page offers a list, so take a look to see if you are lucky enough to find one near you. It’s not just for Bond, you’ll want to do this as well if you’re hoping to see the best of upcoming films, like Dune.
But what about all the other IMAX theaters? These will show it in 1.90 format – which still offers 26% more picture than conventional cinemas in 2.35 format. And as IMAX’s Markoe points out, they’ll always benefit from the increased level of on-screen detail for footage shot on IMAX cameras. Regardless of the aspect ratio of the screen, ideally you’ll want to go to an IMAX theater with a laser projection system, but in the UK these are also rare with only six in total.
So for the non-laser, there is another premium format that will make a fantastic choice – and that is Dolby Cinema. These are cinemas equipped with Dolby’s exclusive sound and vision systems. The projectors use a Christie 4K dual laser that emits an incredible 31 foot-lamberts of light, making it the brightest projection system on the market, even surpassing that of the IMAX GT system. The difference is also visible, delivering true HDR blacks and vibrant colors. On top of that, Dolby theaters are super comfy, with plush reclining seats and table tops. (Having already seen No time to die in this format I can guarantee it is exceptional – and yes, I will go back to see it in IMAX Laser.)
However, Dolby cinemas are unfortunately not mainstream, with only five in the UK. Leicester Square in London has two (the flagship cinema and the new West End, which is a bespoke Dolby cinema which is my choice and where I saw Bond), while the others are in Birmingham, Leeds (reviewed here) and Manchester.
Being one of the biggest movie releases out there, big UK chain Cineworld has a few other alternative options as well. The first is 4DX, the seat jump, backstroke, air and water ejection system, which provides a physical visual experience. It won’t make a bad movie better, but it could work well for Bond. The other is ScreenX, which is the only format other than IMAX to offer ‘more’ picture – it will project 270 ° pictures onto the sidewalls of the theater to give a more immersive effect, again for limited footage. . I tried it once and didn’t feel like trying it again, it certainly falls under the gimmick format. I am frankly surprised that he is still there.
I’d rather prefer Cineworld’s “Superscreen” or Empire’s “iSense” – a much larger than average screen, with 4K projection and Dolby Atmos sound. It’s not as amazing as Dolby Cinema but it’s still high quality and you’ll be more likely to find one near you.
Remarkably, to my surprise, No time to die received a 3D conversion for distribution in select markets, including IMAX 3D. Recently i lamented the loss of IMAX 3D UK cast, but even I don’t think a Bond film has to be 3D. It looks like China is the main source of demand for 3D these days and if that’s what it takes to have some butt out there to see the British secret agent in action, just like James Bond, they will do whatever it takes to get the job done.