If there's one thing Christopher Nolan famously hates, it's his films being watched on small screens. The director slammed Warner Bros for releasing 2020's Tenet direct to streaming on HBO Max, leading to a slew of memes featuring users watching the film "the way Nolan intended" (on tiny, tiny screens). And the joke has just been taken to ridiculous new heights.
One YouTuber has successfully managed to port the entire film to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance, a feat that requires no less than five GBA cartridges. Because who needs one of the best 4K monitors when you can enjoy the film on a 2.9-inch display – the way Nolan intended?
Optimising Tenet for GBA was no easy task. Gaming YouTuber Bob Wulff had to cut the film into five 30 minute segments, since that's the maximum amount of video Nintendo's retro cartridges can hold. And, of course, he designed five bespoke cartridge stickers (below), making the whole thing look bizarrely authentic (as well as just bizarre).
Needless to say, the quality of the film on Nintendo's 20 year-old device is, er, poor. Compressed down to a 192 x 128 resolution, the film thing looks blurry even on the GBA's tiny screen. And at just six frames per second, it ain't smooth either. After watching this video, we can imagine Nolan begging viewers to at least watch Tenet on the instead.
So why did Wulff do it? The clue's in the title of the video: 'I put Tenet on a GBA Video cartridge out of spite'. "So I got this idea when the whole meme was going around, about how much Christopher Nolan wanted to go to the theatres to see this movie," Wulff says in the video. "You know, in the middle of a global pandemic. So I immediately though, yes, exactly, we have to put this on a Game Boy immediately."
From iPods to Apple Watches, internet users have enjoyed poking fun at Nolan's comments by squeezing the film onto several small-screened devices (below). But when it comes to effort, Wulff's five-cartridge extravaganza wins the 'as Nolan intended' meme for us.
taking a much needed break from the news to watch Tenet the way Christopher Nolan intended pic.twitter.com/WIE4fJj8S3January 8, 2021
While we're excited to return to cinemas, we'll have to do with enjoying films in a way their directors didn't quite intend in the meantime. You can of course interpret that how you choose – whether it means investing in one of the best TVs, or dusting off your favourite 20 year-old handheld games console.