Fresh on 4K: ‘INTERSTELLAR’ to take your home theater experience out of this world

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Connor Bynum // Film Critic

INTERSTELLAR (2014)

Rated PG-13, 169 minutes.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica ChastainWes BentleyMatt Damon, Mackenzie FoyJohn LithgowCasey AffleckTopher Grace and Michael Caine

Available today on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

After spending his entire career arguing for the merits of using traditional 35mm and IMAX film as opposed to digital film formats, Christopher Nolan has at long last found a compromise in the world of digital filmmaking. Along with nearly every other film he’s made, Nolan has personally overseen the transfer of INTERSTELLAR to 4K UHD to bring his work that much closer to his original vision.

Movie Grade: A-

After his obligatory finale to the DARK KNIGHT trilogy, Nolan finally got to venture back to the world of sci-fi/fantasy with INTERSTELLAR. Set in the near future on a dying planet earth, former pilot turned farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), is tasked with leaving his home and family behind in search of a better world where mankind can start anew. Filled with awe-inspiring cinematography, gut-wrenchingly emotional performances from McConaughey and fellow Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, as well as thought provoking concepts dealing with space and time, INTERSTELLAR is just about the epitome of a Nolan film and deserves to be experienced in the highest possible quality.

Matthew McConaughey as Cooper in ‘INTERSTELLAR.’ Courtesy photo.

Video/Audio Grade: A+

INTERSTELLAR makes its way onto 4K UHD courtesy of Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios from a 4K digital intermediate master format. This is a welcome addition to the list of titles that did not require upscaling from a 2K DI, and the visual quality is spectacular from start to finish. Keeping in line with Nolan’s established filmography, INTERSTELLAR boasts a combination of 2.39:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratios, the later of which indicates when one is viewing scenes shot in IMAX. The transfer of the IMAX footage to 4K UHD is nothing short of jaw-dropping. These shots are filled to the brim with details. Stand out examples include the textures on the exteriors of space ships, dust particles gently falling through rays of light, and the epic landscapes of the uncharted planets. It’s worth noting that there are the occasional moments where darker 35mm scenes do struggle to avoid a grey haze, but these are few and far between.

The film features a DTS-HD Master 5.1 Audio track. While a Dolby Atmos track probably would have offered a marginal difference, the audio on this disc still packs a punch. Scenes when the ship sounds as though it’s falling apart as it travels across dimensions at times threaten to shake the walls, and Hans Zimmer’s pipe organ pounding score repeatedly gave me a case of goosebumps. This disc is nothing short of reference quality.

Extras Grade: B+

As is often the pattern with 4K re-releases, all special features are recycled selections from previous releases. While these features are certainly interesting and offer a fantastic look at the making of the film, none of them make their way onto the 4K disc in favor of a traditional 1080p
Blu-ray.

Nolan, left, on the “Interstellar” set in Iceland, with the director of photography, Hoyte van Hoytema, on an IMAX camera. Courtesy photo.

All Special Features:

  • The Science of Interstellar
  • Plotting an Interstellar Journey
  • Life on Cooper’s Farm
  • The Dust
  • TARS and CASE
  • Cosmic Sounds
  • The Space Suits
  • The Endurance
  • Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet
  • The Ranger and the Lander
  • Miniatures in Space
  • The Simulation of Zero-G
  • Celestial Landmarks
  • Across All Dimensions and Time
  • Final Thoughts
  • Theatrical trailers

Final Grade: A

Aside from the lack of any new special features, INTERSTELLAR is a perfect combination of superior filmmaking and a breathtaking 4K UHD experience.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.

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