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At the end of last year, prior to the start of production of the currently-untitled Star Trek sequel, J.J. Abrams said in an interview that the movie was going to be shot in 2D and then post-converted into 3D during the editing process. At the time many were disappointed by the news, as Abrams had previously said that the movie wasn't going to be in 3D, but then the director dropped in the possibility of shooting in a format much preferred by movie geeks: IMAX. While nothing was confirmed at the time, Abrams said that IMAX was his "favorite format" and that they were considering shooting some of the Star Trek sequel a la The Dark Knight Rises and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It seems that some of the brass at Paramount had no problem with the idea, as that's exactly what the filmmaker has been allowed to do.
A press release has come out announcing that Abrams has indeed filmed some "key scenes" from the next Star Trek movie using IMAX cameras and that the film will be getting a simultaneous IMAX 3D release when the movie comes out on May 17, 2013. It should be noted that Paramount and Bad Robot, Abrams' production company, were also behind Ghost Protocol, making this announcement less of a surprise. While the release doesn't go into any specifics, it does say that "several key sections of the film that feature big action set pieces have been captured with IMAX cameras."
"We were so thrilled with the creative results of shooting IMAX for Mission: Impossible that we jumped at the chance to use the format for Star Trek," Abrams said. "All expectations were exceeded -- the action and resolution is insane at this scale. We cannot wait for audiences to see the crew of the Enterprise in a way they never have before. The Star Trek sequel brings back Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, and Bruce Greenwood, returning to the roles they played in the 2009 reboot. Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller, and Alice Eve are in the movie as well.
As happy as I am about the continued use of IMAX cameras, the one thing that disappoints me about this news is that it means that IMAX screenings without 3D will probably be a very limited option (if one at all). The Burj Khalifa scenes in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol were some of the most immersive I've ever seen on the big screen and I got to enjoy it all without having to wear sunglasses in the dark. Hopefully 2D IMAX screenings will be an option come next May.