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April 10, 2015
Interstellar Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
6/11/20148/4/2015Warner BrothersChristopher Nolan
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1MMatthew McConaughey

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Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey star in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

Director Christopher Nolan is one who seemingly can do no wrong. Between his Dark Knight trilogy of films he created The Prestige and Inception so when he went to Warner Brothers, Paramount and Legendary Pictures with his new project, Interstellar is seems they loved the idea with a phenomenal $US165 million budget allocated to the film. So what is this film about?

In the near future, Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen its lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage into the unknown. Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.

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The spacecraft returns to Earth.
There is no doubt, Interstellar is a visually striking, thought-provoking and well directed and acted film. Matthew McConaughey is the lead actor and he carries the film pretty well while Anne Hathaway is equal to the task, and probably even more enjoyable in her role. Supporting cast are impressive, most notably the young daughter of Cooper, Murph who is played by Mackenzie Foy - certainly an actress to keep an eye on.

Sadly for all the adherence to keeping the film firmly rooted in scientific fact - or at least our current understanding of fact when it comes to worm holes, black holes, and distant space travel - there are still so many factual or baffling inclusions. Why, for instance, does NASA seem to be reduced to a rabble of a handful of people. Why are they launching a massive rocket from underground, and right next to their offices which would be obliterated. Of course it's for cinematic benefit, but annoying for those that look at details. Why do the probes sent through the worm hole only transmit miniscule amounts of data that the very first modems could eclipse? Why do the explorers decided on a planet right next to a black hole to look at setting up a new civilization - perhaps one a distance away would be better. We're sure Christopher Nolan had a reason to do it, however scientists, and viewers with a scientific mind, will be a little miffed.

Then there's the conclusion of the film. We won't spoil it for you but it's an ending that is likely to push the bounds of believability for some people, and perhaps, ultimately, finalize your opinion of the film.

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Preparing to travel across the universe.
Don't get me wrong, despite the issues we've detailed above Interstellar is an immensely watchable film that never feels like it's padding out the lengthy 169 minute runtime as there is always something interesting to look at. While the ending will likely divide opinion, it's a film that deserves to be viewed by all.

This film also won an Academy Award for best visual effects, and there's no doubt this is a visually stunning film which has some absolutely gorgeous scenes. Fortunately this Blu-Ray release of the film is absolutely pristine and amazing to see on a big screen TV.

This AVC MPEG-4 encoding uses a variable aspect ratio with the film flicking between 2.40:1 and 1.78:1 throughout which matches the IMAX experience and allows for some stunning visuals to really have an impact. Despite the frequent change in aspect ratio it's never jarring and, in fact, took us a while to even realise it was happening.

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Landscapes of new planets look amazing.
Not to be outdone, the audio on this disc is also amazing with a cracking DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which really shines and in particular makes Hans Zimmer's score truly shine.

While the lossless audio track is quite stellar it's not without controversy. The audio in this film has what can only be described as wildly inconsistent volume levels. At times it's hard to hear what is being said as the characters talk quite softly and the next second the room is absolutely blasting with audio in particular when the rocket blasts off, or the shuttle craft are flying through the atmosphere. For many people, ourselves included, you'll be reaching for the volume control to adjust the levels on occasion. We must say, however that despite what we've read online that much of the dialogue is drowned out (intentionally) by Hans Zimmer’s glorious score for the film, we rarely had issue with this however Matthew McConaughey's mumbley voice doesn't help even in the quieter scenes. Still, these issues are more to do with the original mix, rather the then the transfer to Blu-Ray so it's a hard one to score as a result.

Other Audio tracks on the Interstellar Blu-Ray include English Descriptive Audio which is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 640kbps, a German lossless track in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 640kbps.

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Cooper is having a discussion.
Subtitles are presented in numerous formats including English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing which is, from our numerous sampling across the films runtime, are accurate to the on-screen dialogue as well as German, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish.

Interstellar comes to Blu-Ray with no extras on the film disc (allowing a maximum video and audio bitrate no doubt) with a second disc of extensive extras. The only disappointments are a lack of audio commentary (or video commentary - what has happened to them on Blu-Ray!?), anyway here's what to expect.

The Science of Interstellar (50:20/HD): This is an absolutely brilliant documentary which explores the science and themes within the film and includes interviews with real scientists as they discuss how we find distant planets and ones which NASA has already discovered, the theory of worm holes and black holes, the creation of the universe, time travel and how we may travel through space and time in future including the privatization of space exploration with companies such as SpaceX. This is one of the best documentaries we've ever seen included on a Blu-Ray release and a must watch.

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Space Suits are built to be realistic.
Inside Interstellar (2:01:40/HD): A little annoying that there is no "Play All" option, but what we have here, when combined, is a phenomenally detailed exploration of the creation of this film which runs for just over 2 hours. Pretty much everything is covered, and the segment titles give a great idea what to expect. These segments include "Plotting An Interstellar Journey" (7:49), "Life On Cooper's Farm" (9:43), "The Dust" (2:38), "Tars and Case" (9:27), "The Cosmic Sounds Of Interstellar" (13:40), "The Space Suits" (4:31), "The Endurance" (9:24), "Shooting In Iceland: Miller's Planet/Mann's Planet" (12:42), "The Ranger And The Lander" (12:20), "Miniatures In Space" (5:29), "The Simulation Of Zero-G" (5:31), "Celestial Landmarks" (13:22), "Across All Dimensions And Time" (9:02), and "Final Thoughts" (6:02).

Trailers (9:30/HD): Four trailers are available for viewing called "Lee" (1:52), "Wonder" (2:34), "Memories" (2:35), and "Mankind" (2:29).

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Interstellar is another wonderful film from Christopher Nolan.
Interstellar is a remarkable film and another hit from the maker of The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception, and a must watch. Thought provoking, visually stunning and well-acted everything falls in place here despite some minor audio niggles, some scientific inaccuracies and ending that will likely create debate. With a second disc with some of the best bonus content we have seen on a Blu-Ray release this is highly recommended.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Warner Brothers. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.