Interstellar Review and Bluray Features
7 Dec 2014
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
No violation of science laws
Early in pre-production, Dr. Kip Thorne laid down two guidelines to strictly follow: nothing would violate established physical laws, and that all the wild speculations would spring from science and not from the creative mind of a screenwriter. Christopher Nolan accepted these terms as long as they did not get in the way of the making of the movie. That did not prevent clashes, though; at one point Thorne spent two weeks talking Nolan out of an idea about travelling faster than light.
Creation of worm hole and black hole
To create the wormhole and black hole, Dr. Kip Thorne collaborated with VFX supervisor Paul J. Franklin and his team at Double Negative. Thorne provided pages of deeply sourced theoretical equations to the team, who then created new CGI software programs based on these equations to create accurate computer simulations of these phenomena. Some individual frames took up to 100 hours to render, and ultimately the whole CGI program reached to 800 terabytes of data. The resulting VFX provided Thorne with new insight into the effects of gravitational lensing and accretion disks surrounding black holes, and led to him writing two scientific papers: one for the astrophysics community and one for the computer graphics community.
Composer Hans Zimmer was instructed by Christopher Nolan to make a unique score: “It’s time to reinvent. The endless string [ostinatos] need to go by the wayside, the big drums are probably in the bin.” Nolan did not provide Zimmer a script or any plot details for writing music for the film and instead gave the composer “one page of text” that “had more to do with [Zimmer’s] story than the plot of the movie”.
Ideal actor for the role
Christopher Nolan cast Matthew McConaughey after seeing his performance in Mud(2012). It was an “Ideal moment” for Nolan when they landed a Texas native, McConaughey, for the lead role. “I’m thrilled for him right now. I didn’t know how much potential he had until I saw Mud (2012), not just as a leading man but in sheer acting talent.” He remarked that in McConaughey he, “Needed an everyday man who can experience these extraordinary events.”
According to Dr. Kip Thorne, the largest degree of creative license in the film are the clouds of the ice planet, which are structures that probably go beyond the material strength which ice would be able to support.
The wormhole explanation using paper and pen is exactly the same as it appears in Event Horizon (1997).
Endurance ship design
Production designer Nathan Crowley based the Endurance ship’s design on the International Space Station: “it’s a real mishmash of different kinds of technology; you need analogue stuff as well as digital stuff, you need back-up systems and tangible switches. Every inch of space is used, everything has a purpose. It’s really like a submarine in space.
Different Sci-Fi Movie
For seasoned filmgoers, there are many similar elements (although it’s understandable) with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Robert Zemeckis’ Contact (1997). In a sense that this is not a bang-bang-shoot-shoot-blow-em-up sci-fi, but more of a slow-burning, metaphysical sci-fi which gets you to think about your place in the universe and your exact place in time.
Similarity with 2001 and Contact is never a bad thing, but it becomes a wee bit too predictable, although Nolan is a smart enough director in providing the final (a very sentimental one, I should say) twist in the story. The visuals in this film is majestic, everything is shot to a meticulously calculated level, Nolan-style. The space scenes are serenely suspenseful just like Cuaron’s Gravity, but unlike the documentary feel of Gravity, there’s a real gusto and pace to these scenes. YOU SHOULD ALSO BE PREPARED FOR THE (FOR SOME, MAYBE) UNEXPECTED THIRD ACT, IT IS NOLAN’S MOST SENTIMENTAL AND HUMANE MOMENT TO DATE. AND THIS IS WHY INTERSTELLAR IS MORE THAN JUST A SCIENCE-FICTION, IT IS A HUMAN DRAMA INTERTWINED IN SPACE AND TIME LOOP.
The screenplay is based on the works of theoretical physicist Dr. Kip Thorne. He described the story as, “Based on warped space-time – the most exotic events in the universe suddenly becoming accessible to humans.”
Q&A with Chris Nolan
In a Q&A interview at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on March 26, 2014, Christopher Nolanstated that Interstellar (2014) is “very different” from his past work and he was inspired by the movies he saw growing up during what he termed “the golden age of the blockbuster” – essentially, four quadrant films that didn’t need a “family” label to appeal to all audiences. Nolan noted it’s “really about going back to those sort of films.”
ENDURANCE SPACESHIP DESIGN
RT/Meta Critic Review
This is a film where complex concepts of quantum physics and powerful human emotions are inextricably intertwined and the ghost that haunts the farmhouse has both a scientific explanation and a sense of supernatural power. (Click here to see)
Nolan is one of the few directors with the ambition to tackle big topics — like the fate of humanity or our need to explore — and the artistic clout to bring that vision to a mass audience. (Click here to see)
Interstellar is simultaneously a big-budget science fiction endeavor and a very simple tale of love and sacrifice. It is by turns edgy, breathtaking, hopeful, and heartbreaking.(Click here to see)
Interstellar‘s 1080p transfer features a blend traditional scope widescreen at 2.39:1 and an IMAX Blu-ray full-frame 1.78:1. The transitions are seamless, not because the ratios are visually similar — they’re not — but because they flow with the film and support the narrative structure. Audiences watching the movie and not actively looking for the shifts will likely only ever notice on a subconscious level. That said, the image generally looks terrific, but there are a number of small caveats to get out of the way first. Black levels sometimes appear a little pale, particularly early in the movie, but tighten up nicely and are picture-perfect across star-filled outer space exteriors. Flesh tones often push a bit warm. Smeary edges are uncommon but not often problematic, but there are a couple of facial shots that go inexplicably smeary, a notable example being a scene featuring Cooper and Donald sitting on the porch before Cooper leaves for space. Other minor issues appear, but not to excess, including light banding, faint microblocking, and even a stray hair visible on top of the screen around the 29:25 mark that remains for several seconds. All of that said, the image generally dazzles. Details are frequently precise and a pleasure to behold. The accumulated dirt, faded paint on the truck and house, grimy tiles, alien terrains, the brushed metal robot lines, space suit textures, and human faces are frequently astonishing in terms of the raw visible details. Light grain remains, particularly around the 2.39:1 imagery. Colors are precise throughout as well. Though much of the film favors earthy, dusty textures on Earth and more bleak and monochromatic shades of gray on the alien worlds, there’s still a good, even color palette to enjoy, whether that faded blue pickup, lush green rows of corn, red and blue American flag colors, and more. They’re healthy and accurate throughout the film. Interstellar‘s problems may be many, but they don’t add up to much in total. Overall, this is a brilliant, exceptionally well done transfer from Paramount.
Interstellar arrives on Blu-ray with a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. While a fuller 7.1 experience would have been preferable, the 5.1 track carries the material just fine and still constructs a rich, detailed, and immersive world. The track finds a perfect balance between every detail, whether light outdoor atmospherics or booming, drifting thunder, spaceship blast-off, or the heaviest dust storms that batter the soundstage with a thick, heavy wall of gushing winds and pelting debris at a believably heavy, aggressive level. Music is likewise capable at any volume, from the faintest little support pieces to the most thunderous details of Hans Zimmer’s ofttimes ferocious score that’s supported by a deep, fully realized low end and wide surround support. Unfortunately, there are some moments where the music consumes everything else. Whether by design or not, the score swallows up dialogue and surrounding sonic details to the point that it’s a strain to hear the words and impossible to hear anything else. The track explores some of the more subtle bits inside the spaceship — beeps, rattles, and little details alike — with commendable attention to detail and placement. Dialogue, save for those times when it’s devoured by music, is focused, clear, and precise with a consistent center channel flow. On the whole, this is a brilliant, aggressive, and highly enjoyable listen from Paramount.
Interstellar contains all of its supplements on a dedicated second Blu-ray disc with optional English, French, and Spanish subtitle options. Inside the Blu-ray case, buyers will find a DVD copy of the film, a voucher for a UV/iTunes/Google Play digital copy, and a collectible IMAX film cell.
- The Science of Interstellar (1080p, 50:20): Matthew McConaughey narrates a fascinating look at the film’s scientific foundations, the work of consulting Scientist Kip Thorne, basic film themes, the science behind the search for planets capable of hosting life, space-time and the theory of relativity, the science of wormholes and black holes, crafting the film’s visuals based on real scientific observation, the birth of the universe, the Dust Bowl and the evolution of dust as a toxin, the likelihood of future dust storms, the prospects of escaping a dying or doomed planet, and the possibilities of colonizing Mars.
- Inside Interstellar: Plotting an Interstellar Journey: (1080p, 7:49): Cast and crew discuss project origins, the film’s imagery, ambitions, incorporating IMAX footage, and the human element within the film.
- Inside Interstellar: Life on Cooper’s Farm (1080p, 9:43): A closer look at the farm shooting locations outside of Calgary, set construction and design, working with real corn, and more.
- Inside Interstellar: The Dust (1080p, 2:38): Throwing real dust into the frame rather than adding it digitally.
- Inside Interstellar: Tars and Case (1080p, 9:27): a closer look at the film’s mechanical characters, including backstory, design, the blend of practical and digital effects in bringing them to life, the differences in the characters, and the human performances behind the characters.
- Inside Interstellar: The Cosmic Sounds of Interstellar (1080p, 1:20): A brief look at the creative process behind the film’s music.
- Inside Interstellar: The Space Suits (1080p, 4:31): A look at design, form, and function.
- Inside Interstellar: The Endurance (1080p, 9:24): Designing the vehicle to resemble the International Space Station and again built with authentic function and needs in mind. It also offers a detailed tour of the interior.
- Inside Interstellar: Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet (1080p, 12:42): A detailed look at the Icelandic locations that stood in for alien landscapes in the film and the challenges and benefits the locations offered.
- Inside Interstellar: The Ranger and the Lander (1080p, 12:20): Further tours of vehicle interiors as well as function, design, and construction details.
- Inside Interstellar: Miniatures in Space (1080p, 5:29): A closer look at the use of models of various sizes and built for various purposes.
- Inside Interstellar: The Simulation of Zero-G (1080p, 5:31): As the title suggests, this piece looks at the processes of simulating the absence of gravity in the film.
- Inside Interstellar: Celestial Landmarks (1080p, 13:22): Another examination of the scientific details and theories utilized throughout the film and that propel the story.
- Inside Interstellar: Across All Dimensions and Time (1080p, 9:02): A look at theorizing, designing, and implementing one of the crucial end-film visuals.
- Inside Interstellar: Final Thoughts (1080p, 6:02): Cast and crew reflect on the film and their hopes for it as an influence and inspiration for future generations.
- Trailers (1080p): Teaser (1:52), Trailer 1 (2:34), Trailer 2 (2:35), and Trailer 3 (2:29).