The early trailers for Marvel's Inhumans don't make it look cinematic. That's because, even though it's being released like a movie, Inhumans wasn't treated like one.
Here's a look at the first trailer, as a reminder:
In an interview with CNET, Inhumans director Roel Reiné revealed that Marvel gave him a challenging filming schedule that's more akin to a one-off episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD than the revolutionary IMAX experience that's being touted.
Reiné believes he was picked to helm the project because of his history of making more out of less, having directed low-budget films like Death Race 2, Dead in Tombstone, and The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption. Reiné said Marvel wanted someone who knew how to work on the cheap:
"I think they liked me for the job because I was able with my action movies to shoot in a very short time, or with very low budgets, action that looks like a big-budget movie," he said. "It was not a feature film, it was a TV episode, but they still wanted to have the scope."
That scope came in large part from shooting the episodes entirely with IMAX cameras. Now, shooting in IMAX might seem like the anthesis of shooting fast and cheap, but that's not necessarily the case — if Reiné was shooting on film or in 3D, yes, it's a major challenge compared to a "normal" production. But in fact, Reiné was using an ALEXA IMAX 65mm camera, which is a 2D digital capture camera used on a lot of major motion pictures and television. Stuff like Wonder Woman, The Revenant, Captain America Civil War, Rogue One, and Thor: Ragnarok have all used the same camera. On TV, Game of Thrones, Gotham, Homeland, Grimm, Powers and dozens others all use Alexas, so using them should not have made its production significantly more difficult than these other shows, if at all.
"The schedule was super-tight," Reiné said. "I had TV schedule time to shoot it with IMAX cameras, 20 days to shoot two episodes. It's nerve-wracking but I come from a low-budget film world, so 20 days for me is luxury."
The trailers certainly make it feel more low-budget than the camera and format would suggest. But, producer Jeph Loeb recently said, what we've seen isn't final yet. Marvel Television did not have a comment.
"I heard all of these horror stories of working with Marvel, but I didn't feel that way," Reiné said. "It was very collaborative. … Nine out of 10 times they liked what I pitched — even radical things."
At this point, it seems like the real test to see if Reiné did more with less will come on September 1, when Inhumans comes to IMAX theatres nationwide for a two-week theatrical run. That will be followed by its premiere on ABC September 29.