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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 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

94



Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount - 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 168 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Adventure/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1/1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

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"


My Take:

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.


Parental Guide:

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.**



Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element):
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element):


Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:


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.



Bonus Features:

  • Blu-ray #1
  • Feature film in high definition

    Blu-ray #2
  • (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


Final Thoughts:

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.






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews



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I really enjoyed this one theatrically and I'm looking forward to seeing it on Blu-ray soon. Funny thing about the reception to this film. I am a father of three beautiful girls and my reaction to seeing this in theaters was an immense pulling of the heart strings for the family elements. This film gutted me at times because of this and I think a lot of that had to do with being a father. A lot of people and friends that I have who don't have kids seemed to have a completely different reaction and found it all too touchy feely and it didn't play well to them. I think this is the type of film and story that will resonate a lot more with some people than others, as do many films that focus on issues that parents relate to more than non-parents. Not that I think you HAVE to be a parent to enjoy this film, certainly not the case, but that it may play a lot different for those who can relate more to the family dynamic than those that may not.

My wife feels the same way about Gravity and Bullocks talks about her daughter. That resonated a lot with my wife but I see others who chastise the movie because of it.
 

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already ordered... where is my copy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I really enjoyed this one theatrically and I'm looking forward to seeing it on Blu-ray soon. Funny thing about the reception to this film. I am a father of three beautiful girls and my reaction to seeing this in theaters was an immense pulling of the heart strings for the family elements. This film gutted me at times because of this and I think a lot of that had to do with being a father. A lot of people and friends that I have who don't have kids seemed to have a completely different reaction and found it all too touchy feely and it didn't play well to them. I think this is the type of film and story that will resonate a lot more with some people than others, as do many films that focus on issues that parents relate to more than non-parents. Not that I think you HAVE to be a parent to enjoy this film, certainly not the case, but that it may play a lot different for those who can relate more to the family dynamic than those that may not.

My wife feels the same way about Gravity and Bullocks talks about her daughter. That resonated a lot with my wife but I see others who chastise the movie because of it.
Greetings,

I had a similar reaction and thoroughly connected with the Murph/Coop element. Thanks for sharing... :)


Regards,
 

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I expected this would be great on Blu-ray so thanks for the confirming details. Have to admit that TARS was one of the most original robot/AI constructs in a sci-fi movie in a while.
 

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I liked this film a lot and I have been eagerly awaiting it's Blu Ray release. I did see this in the theater(IMAX) and that presentation was breathtaking. The largeness of the screen was a plus for sure in this movie. Before i went to see it, I read all about how bad it was supposed to sound. Well,audio wise, what I experienced was great. I personally did not have any issues in the movie understanding lines at all. While I do admit it was loud, I have heard louder in a theater.

Now I thought the movie itself was great. It kept me engaged the whole time. Almost as much as Contact, but Contact still wins out just because how much my heart was pounding when they placed her in the ship. Although, if I can say this with a straight face, in reality, the ending of this film is more realistic. But this is a close second to that. I enjoyed the entire feel. The family(human) aspect was very well done in my opinion. And I don't even have any kids :). It is great movie in my mind, and I can't wait to get it.
 

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Thanks for the review!

This one read like it will be all around enjoyable. Look forward to the story and how it's told as well both visually and audibly. :)

I know for Gravity we made sure we watched it in a semi-darkened room. This seems like it may call for the same treatment to enhance those space scenes.
 

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Have been waiting for this one for a long time. Only 5.1 though? Thought this would be 7.1 for sure.
 

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Ralph,

I wonder if after all the complaints of dialog intelligibility issues at the cinema, they didn't do some fine adjustments with the mix balance for the near-field, home-theater presentation... Hmmm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ralph,

I wonder if after all the complaints of dialog intelligibility issues at the cinema, they didn't do some fine adjustments with the mix balance for the near-field, home-theater presentation... Hmmm...
Greetings,

It's hard to say Dan. My recollection of the theatrical sound was essentially what I heard at home. I wouldn't say that dialogue intelligibility is a pervasive problem. It only occurs here and there.


Regards,
 

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Ralph,

I wonder if after all the complaints of dialog intelligibility issues at the cinema, they didn't do some fine adjustments with the mix balance for the near-field, home-theater presentation... Hmmm...
No, that's because of so many poorly calibrated or "cranked up" theaters.
The Dark Knight Rises had the same problem with many complaining they could not understand Bane. But I had zero problem with understanding Bane so I was confused. Then I went for a second viewing across town and I could not understand a word Bane said because they had it cranked up beyond reference.
I expect it was the exact same with Interstellar. Nolan likes to use full dynamic range, loud and quiet, and a poorly calibrated theater will not reproduce this well.

Edit: actually, I just remembered the exact same thing for Interstellar. I saw it on the good theater and it was fine. Then I saw it a second time across town and it was hard to understand anything they said. I feel bad for those who never get to go to a good theater.
 

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I would suggest renting this one. IMHO, it is worth a watch, but I can't see wanting to watch it multiple times. As Ralph noted, there are several misses in the film. I really felt it could have been tighter and better. I felt like it ended up being a little hokie while trying to be too clever. Did anyone else feel that way?
 
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Haven't seen movie................have waited to see film at home.

As a side note....................multi-ratio movies drive me NUTS! I'm zooming...................so best suggestion is to set to what ratio? 1.78?

Sadly, I'll miss majority of eye candy with scope configuration but using standard! :rolleyes:
 

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Haven't seen movie................have waited to see film at home.

As a side note....................multi-ratio movies drive me NUTS! I'm zooming...................so best suggestion is to set to what ratio? 1.78?

Sadly, I'm miss majority of eye candy with scope configuration! :rolleyes:
I'm not a fan of the multi aspect ratio either..... I find it very distracting when I'm glued to the plot. I wish this trend would disappear, YMMV :)
 
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