I really don't give a crap what Nolan approves of in a later release just as long as I get a version of what I saw in the theatre.If I had seen this film in IMAX I wouldn't agree to settle for a MAR'd version on BD that is pretending to simulate the IMAX experience. Good thing this will be available for rental, because I sure won't buy it in its presently incomplete form.
And that certainly is your right to want those things.
But it's funny, as hot a topic as this seems to be, who wants to bet that 90%+ of people who buy this disc either 1) aren't going to notice, or 2) aren't going to care?
Seriously, agree or disagree, I understand what Nolan is doing. Here's the situation as I see it:
1. Nolan experimented with using high-end, expensive Imax cameras to shoot a small percentage of footage.
2. Nolan knows 90%+ of theaters aren't Imax equipped, so he has to create a 2.35 constant version. This may or may not be "his intent" as a director, but he's constrained by the reality of the situation. Most commercial theaters don't do "on-the-fly movable mattes" so if it's not an Imax screen, it's gotta be a constant AR.
3. He's got a percentage of the movie that has a different AR than the rest, but nearly 6X the resolution which some home theaters can take advantage of. For those with true 1080p sets, just check out how sharp the Dark Knight Prologue looks on the Batman Begins Blu Ray, it blows the Batman Begins picture away, no comparison! On my Sony KDS-60A3000 it's not even close, I was actually disappointed in the BB part because TDK Prologue looked so sharp.
So what's he to do for the BD release? He's got this 20% (as someone else posted, I don't have the figures) of the film in hi-res that he paid for and shot. He wants to transfer its benefits to home video. Yes the 1.78 does not equal 1.44 but I can pretty much say that no one has a true Imax screen at home. So he does the next best thing in his mind
(and here's where it's each individual's right to agree or disagree with Nolan):
He decides that he has to get the higher res benefits of the Imax footage he shot to home video, and that means using the Imax stock and not the 2.35 picture. Rather than simply hard matte it to 2.35 (which would defeat the "opening up" effect he created in the Imax showings, even though the 1.78 does not have quite the same level of dramatic effect, 1.44 pillarbox would have the opposite effect on home video), he opens it up to the industry-standard 1.78 for widescreen HDTVs. So really it's not much different than what he did when he created a 2.35 constant picture, he kowtowed to the industry standards. Except now he's still trying to preserve the benefits of Imax in any way he can.
Can I blame him? Personally, no, I understand why he did it, and to me it doesn't bother me. Will some people be bothered? Of course. Can't please everyone. But my guess is that most of the home video buyers won't notice or care.