Interstellar – Blu-ray Review
There is something immediately grand about Interstellar. Whether it is the overall tone or the expectations set from peers and trailers, I’ll be never be quite sure. What I can be sure of is that even my extremely high hopes and expectations were surpassed and the film won me over, big time. On the surface, this doesn’t look like a Christopher Nolan film (more like something you’d expect from someone like Ridley Scott.) Keep in mind, this is not exactly a stretch for Nolan when we consider the overall story. When you are watching Interstellar it feels big, it feels dramatic, it is a space epic in every sense of the word. Nolan took a unique story and pushed it to its absolute limits letting us see a rather different space epic that is driven by emotion and heart. This is one you definitely will not forget.
Our story follows Cooper, a man born in the wrong time living out his days in a world that has been devastated by famine and drought. Everything seems to covered by dust and all hope for a grand future seems to be gone. The world consists mostly of farmers, who year after year fail to yield the necessary crops to survive. Cooper is a former pilot and engineer who, almost instantly, seems out of place. Destined for something greater, Coop finds himself front and center with the opportunity to pilot the last hope for saving the human race. An Interstellar exploration mission to find a habitable world to house the earth’s population, if not start over with a new colony (but let’s call that Plan “B”).
The Film 5/5
There are a lot of things that Nolan did extremely well with this film, the first being his cinematogrophy. Nolan has always made unique filming decisions and this was no exception. It is no accident that this film feels bigger than life. Filmed on 70mm IMAX film and coming in at just over 600 lbs of film in total, this film is absolutely meant to be an experience of its own. The only disappointing aspect is that I do not have an IMAX theater in my living room. Don’t get me wrong, it has a profound effect even without the added bonus of a giant screen and the ultimate sound system, it is just very obvious it was made for a theatrical IMAX experience. That being said, there is also an obvious difference between this film and other space films in that much of the film was made without the use of CGI. In fact, over an hour of the film was made without the benefits of CGI. Obviously the film would not be possible without these effects but Nolan insisted on going against green screens on set as much as possible. Most of what we see are practical and on location effects that lead to the ultimate experience of plausibility in what would otherwise be deemed as quite the opposite.
This film is a shining example of how the score can impact how a movie is perceived. The score was composed by the well known Hans Zimmer and is big and bold and comes across instantly memorable and beautiful. It does exactly what a good score does and draws an emotional connection out of a seemingly innocuous scene. I’ll be the first to admit that in the theater there was a moment where I was so overwhelmed by the sheer scope of what I was experiencing that I started to tear up. It wasn’t necessarily what was happening on screen that made it happen, instead it was the music that was able to push me over the threshold completing a very unique experience.
I rather enjoy the packaging for this release. It had the added bonus of coming with a real film cell from an IMAX 70mm print which as far as bonus collectible material goes is rather cool. More than a couple of us here at filmsathome.com grabbed these copies up while they were available and as you can see, the images varied from copy to copy. Other than that, we have a decent slipcover and a sturdy case, in lieu of an economic case, that goes through and through. I am a bit disappointed that we ended with a spindle, however when considered all that’s included, I will let it slide.
The Packaging 3.5/5
With over three hours over special features this release is jam packed with all sorts of exclusive extras, not seen in theaters. I was more than happy with what they ultimately decided to include for this epic masterpiece. The features are as follows:
- The Science of Interstellar (50 minutes)
- Matthew McConaughey narrates us through what feels like a in documentary of space travel, wormholes, and the theory of relativity.
- Inside Interstellar
- Plotting an Interstellar Journey
- We are taken through the birth of the film, from initial concept to actual conception and what the major influences were.
- Life on Cooper’s Farm
- We find out just how important the right location was for the farmhouse setting.
- The Dust
- We are shown the very practical effects that helped create the very real dust.
- TARS and CASE
- Nolan talks to us about his thoughts on how the machines came to be the unique, yet practical, puppet robots.
- The Cosmic Sound of Interstellar
- We get to see how the relationship between Zimmer and Nolan played a huge role in accomplishing such a unique and driving force behind the score. We also get to meet the man behind the organ that supplied the immense sound that would contribute to most of the score.
- The Space Suits
- We get to see where the ideas behind the space suits used in the film come from.
- The Endurance
- Production Designer Nathan Crowley and Christopher Nolan speak to what they wanted to accomplish with the design of the ship.
- Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet
- Nolan talks about the decision to film in Iceland, being to able to recreate two very different world in one place.
- The Ranger and The Lander
- We get to see how the two almost real ships came to be very functional for the use of filming.
- Miniatures in Space
- Once again we get to see how the combination of practical effects, CGI, and miniatures results in a film that will stand the ets of time.
- The Simulation of Zero-G
- Down to every detail we see no effect must be overlooked as an immense amount of time was spent making the zero-g aspect of the film feel believable.
- Celestial Landmarks
- Kip Thorne takes us the how radical the “realistic” representation of the black hole/wormhole in the film are.
- Across all Dimensions and Time
- We get taken through the concept of the tesseract and how it came to be founded in a mathematical theory.
- Final Thoughts
- Nolan, Cast, and crew takes us through the very personal aspect of the story of Interstellar and why they really wanted to be a part of this story.
- Plotting an Interstellar Journey
Special Features 5/5
This one was a no-brainer folks, with an all star cast including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine and several more prominent actors and actresses who make their way into this film, it’s no wonder that we end up with such an amazing film full of outstanding performances. You pair that with a well written and executed script that tests the very limits of what film can accomplish and you end with somewhat of a masterpiece. I wish it was just those two factors that bring this film over the edge to greatness but it seems that almost every aspect has such care and thoughtfulness that the deeper you go the better it gets. Buy this film.
Overall 4/5 – Cannot Recommend Enough