Tenet had its day in theaters, and is still playing on the big screen in many places around the world. But it’s also available on home video so anyone can watch it from the comfort of their own couch. Or, in one case, one made scientist YouTuber decided to put Christopher Nolan’s time-bending blockbuster on, of all things, an old Game Boy Advance. Specifically the SP model. He lovingly refers to it as, “the worst way to view Tenet.”
The video in question was recently uploaded to the WULFF DEN YouTube channel. The process involved getting some flashable Game Boy Advance cartridges so that Tenet could be imprinted on those very cartridges and subsequently viewed on the device. The video goes through the process in detail. It’s extremely doable for those who might feel included, though it is quite a bit of work just for a joke at Christopher Nolan’s expense. The host explains where the idea came from and why he did it.
“I got this idea when the whole meme was going around about how much Christopher Nolan really wanted you to go to the theaters to see this movie… He said, quote, ‘This is a film whose image and sound really needs to be enjoyed in your theaters on the big screen.’ So I immediately thought, ‘Yes! We have to put this on a Game Boy immediately.'”
To accomplish this mission, they had to use not one, but five different Game Boy Advance video cartridges. At the time this handheld Nintendo console was on the market video on mobile devices was, at very best, primitive. That really becomes clear when we see the final product. Yes, Tenet is technically on the Game Boy Advance but the video is heavily compressed and choppy. This is the exact opposite of what Christopher Nolan had in mind. And that is no doubt the point of the whole thing.
The Game Boy Advance was released by Nintendo in 2001. The SP model shown in the video, which had a flip-up screen, was released a couple of years later in 2003. All in all, the Advance was a huge hit for Nintendo, selling more than 80 million units worldwide. It was later succeeded by the Nintendo DS, which ruled the handheld market until the Nintendo Switch arrived.
Tenet was supposed to be Christopher Nolan’s prestigious and ambitious follow-up to his WWII epic Dunkirk. It was arguably that, yes. But what was crafted as a must-see event in theaters was hampered by the near-global movie theater shutdown in 2020. Yet, Nolan was insistent that his movie come out by summer. So Warner Bros. released it in August and, unfortunately, it did not do nearly enough business to save the movie business. It topped out at $363 million worldwide, taking in just $58 million domestically. Despite a somewhat mixed response from critics and moviegoers alike, it seems highly likely that Tenet would have made a lot more money under better circumstances. Be sure to check out the full video for yourself from the WULFF DEN YouTube channel.