Check out our review of this epic sci-fi adventure from director Christopher Nolan. With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 168 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1/1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by:Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 31, 2015
"Mankind’s next step will be our greatest"
From director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight trilogy) comes the story of a team of pioneers undertaking the most important mission in human history. Set in the near future, crop blight has caused civilization to regress into a failing agrarian society. Former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) lives on and maintains a working farm with his, 10 year daughter Murphy, 15 year old son Tom, and father-in-law Donald. Murphy who is extremely bright and close to her father, believes her room is haunted by a “ghost” that is trying to communicate with her. What they discover at the heart of the matter is a gravitational anomaly that when examined reveals binary coordinates that direct them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor John Brand. Brand reveals that a wormhole, potentially created by an alien intelligence, has opened near Saturn and leads to new planets in another galaxy that may offer hope for survival. NASA's "Lazarus missions" have identified three potentially habitable worlds: “Miller”, “Edmunds”, and “Mann”, named after the astronauts who left earth to survey them, orbiting a supermassive black hole they have named Gargantua. Professor Brand recruits Cooper to pilot the spacecraft Endurance, and along with scientists Dr. Brand (Prof. Brand’s daughter) and Dr. Romilly, set out on a mission to recover the astronauts' data; if one of the planets is habitable, humanity will follow on space stations.
This is the basis for the story of Interstellar. Co-written by director Christopher Nolan and brother Jonathan Nolan, Interstellar is far from what you might consider your average sci-fi film. Epic in scope and narrative this is a multi-genre experience that at least for me, required more than one viewing to thoroughly digest. I saw it in the theater with my family and came away from it feeling as though I hadn’t fully gleaned its elements. Not so after this second viewing. I love the story which to me at its heart is truly about the love between a father and his daughter. Aside from that remains the texture of the narrative’s body which an intelligently crafted story with enriching elements of adventure that revolve around a science based foundation. I appreciated the incorporation of the historical reference to the Dust Bowl and thought that it worked quite well in the plot’s construct.
Meant to be thought inspiring but not preachy, Christopher Nolan’s typical approach to filmmaking, enhanced by visual expression, is fully realized as the world of Interstellar has a tangible aesthetic that is captivating thanks to outstanding production elements and spot on direction. Underscoring the film’s sci-fi/adventure is an emotional center which is a derivative of the fundamentally rich character design which flows through the performances of the ensemble. I wouldn’t say that I am a big Matthew McConaughey fan but I generally tend to enjoy his films. I think that he has come into his own as a dramatic actor and his performance here is another example of that. Mackenzie Foy (10 year old Murphy) stole every scene she was in and wound up as my favorite character in the film.
Interstellar reaches for the stars and doesn’t always hit its mark but it’s a marvelous film experience that warms the heart and excites the senses. I look forward to sitting down with it again.
The rating is for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element):
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
Interstellar comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This video presentation incorporates two different aspect ratios. When I saw it theatrically its AR was 2.40:1 however some of the film was shot using IMAX cameras which results in a 1.78:1 AR. Both have been integrated here with some scenes/sequences having one AR and the next the other. The result doesn’t infringe upon fidelity or interrupt the visual flow of the movie in any way. In examining segments of each I honestly saw little difference in perceivable resolution although the IMAX segments seemed just a tad sharper to my eye. This can be a dark film at times and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this Blu-ray disc delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen.
The sequences in space look breathtaking. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that the long drawn shots on earth and above have seemingly infinite depth. Shadow detail is consistent and as good as I have seen. Images are sharp with exquisite definition and boldly applied contrast. There were a few instances where I noticed that the picture appeared less definitively resolved but this is innate and not to a point where I would describe it as soft. Colors are well delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of colors used. Fleshtones are beautifully textured with warm, subtle description and lifelike complexional depiction.
I often hear from enthusiasts who rate the quality of movie soundtracks by the amount and depth of the bass it produces. There are select titles that are considered to be the “go to” for reference quality bass. I suspect that after experiencing this lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack there will be a new addition among them as this presentation rocked, literally. The film’s opening moment features a flash of a nightmare where Cooper is involved in an aircraft crash. It is abrupt but jarring as it provides a glimpse of the soundtrack’s dynamic range and deep, authoritative bass. Later during the crew’s liftoff headed toward boarding The Endurance the room literally comes alive with rich, tactile, low frequency energy. As they approach for docking the short bursts of the engines thrusters in the silence of outer space result in ostensible LFE thumps that sound and feel great. The response in my room during several sequences attained infrasonic depths that could easily be classified as skin tingling. A few that stood out other than those mentioned are the entering of the wormhole, entering Miller’s atmosphere/landing, Cooper and Gargantua. Bass heads will have a great time with this one.
In addition to the noteworthy bass response this is an active sound design that makes great use of the entire surround platform. The surround mix eschews prominent use of discrete effects in favor of extending the soundstage via atmospherics/ambient related effects that envelope and revolve around the listening position. It generates a sound field that is aurally stimulating as you are transported into the events onscreen. Hans Zimmer’s beautiful music score is a perfect mate for the spirit of the film as it is often blended with action sequences and sounds superb. Occasionally I found myself struggling to hear dialogue especially when blended with an active sequence shared by effects and music. In all other respects I didn’t have any issue with dialogue perceptibility although frankly it could have been mixed to a more prominent position overall. Otherwise I had nothing to complain about and found this audio mix to be engaging and primarily what I recalled from its theatrical presentation.
- Feature film in high definition
- (HD) The Science of Interstellar—Extended cut of the broadcast special – 50 minutes
- (HD) Plotting an Interstellar Journey—Discusses the film’s origins, influences and narrative designs – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) Life on Cooper’s Farm—Bringing Americana and the grounded nature of a farm to a sci-fi space movie – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) The Dust—Learn how cast and crew avoided sand blindness, and see how to create, and clean up after, a catastrophic dust storm – 2 minute feature
- (HD) TARS and CASE—Designing and building these unique characters and how they were brought to life on set and in the film – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Cosmic Sounds—The concepts, process, and recording of Hans Zimmer’s unforgettable score – 13 minute featurette
- (HD) The Space Suits—A look at the design and build of the suits and helmets, and what it was like to wear them – 4 minute featurette
- (HD) The Endurance—Explore this massive set with a guided tour by production designer Nathan Crowley – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet—Travel with the cast and crew to Iceland and see the challenges they faced in creating two vastly different worlds in one country – 12 minute featurette
- (HD) The Ranger and the Lander—A look at the other two spaceships in the film – 12 minute featurette
- (HD) Miniatures in Space—Marvel at the large-scale models used in the explosive docking sequence – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) The Simulation of Zero-G—Discover the various methods that the filmmakers used to create a zero gravity environment – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Celestial Landmarks—Explore how the filmmakers used practical special effects informed by real scientific equations to give the illusion of real space travel for both the actors and the audience – 13 minute featurette
- (HD) Across All Dimensions and Time—A look at the concept and design of the Tesseract, which incorporated a practical set rather than a green screen – 9 minute featurette
- Final Thoughts—The cast and crew reflect back on their Interstellar experience – 6 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical Trailers
- Collectible 70mm IMAX Film Cell
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
From visionary director Christopher Nolan, Interstellar is an epic, multi-genre piece that rewards via an intelligently crafted screenplay, outstanding production value and excellent performances. It may not be wholly gratifying to everyone but it’s a marvelous film experience that is capable of warming the heart and exciting the senses. Speaking of exciting the senses Interstellar comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring room shaking DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound, excellent high definition video and a well-rounded supplemental package that is worth checking out. Interstellar is a must see film that comes highly recommended on Blu-ray.
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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package