Interstellar review

Nolan's ambitious sci-fi trips itself up at the end, but still delivers astronomically good AV on Blu-ray

In Christopher Nolan's latest smash, a secret NASA expedition heads to another galaxy in an effort to find a new home for humanity after a devastating crop blight threatens to leave the Earth uninhabitable within a few generations. Following signals sent by earlier probes, the astronauts have a trio of potentially suitable planets to investigate, but the fact that they orbit a supermassive black hole means that time will pass differently for the crew than it does for those they left behind on Earth...

You certainly can't fault anybody involved for a lack of ambition when it comes to Interstellar. Working from an idea generated by theoretical physicist Kip Thorne (who stayed on as scientific advisor on the film), Nolan and his brother/co-writer Jonathan have cooked up a remarkable vision of interstellar travel that goes out of its way to get as much of the science right as is possible while also telling a thrilling story. It's designed to remind audiences of the wonders of the universe, while confronting them with profound philosophical issues.

Sadly, it comes unstuck by abandoning the science that has driven the story in favour of a fantastical finale that is the equivalent of waving a magic wand to sort everything out. It's a shame, as up until that point Nolan's film achieves a skilful balance of grand spectacle and genuinely affecting human emotion. Even so, Interstellar is proof that Hollywood can still make an engrossing sci-fi that stimulates the brain as well as dazzles with spectacle.

Picture: As with his previous few films, Nolan opted to shoot Interstellar using a mix of anamorphic 35mm and IMAX cameras. As such, the Blu-ray features an aspect ratio that shifts between 2.40:1 and 1.78:1 depending on the source of the footage.

The sheer amount of IMAX material used means that the transitions don't feel quite as arbitrary as they did in the likes of The Dark Knight Rises. The downside to the increased frequency of breathtakingly crisp and clear 70mm IMAX footage is that it makes the traditional 35mm material look softer than ever and highlights any flaws in the footage – most noticeably some washed-out blacks towards the start of the film.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: The film may only feature a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix on Blu-ray, but it's an extremely effective track. Sequences such as the escape from the giant wave (Chapter 10) demonstrate brilliantly balanced and wholly expansive surround effects, while a close encounter with a black hole (Chapter 17) delivers the sort of controlled yet impactful low-end effects that will put a smile on the face of any bass-head.

And, regardless of reports from cinemagoers, we had no problem making out the dialogue in the mix.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: A second Blu-ray platter houses the 50-minute The Science of Interstellar documentary, plus a collection of 14 Inside Interstellar behind-the-scenes featurettes focusing on specific aspects of the production and four theatrical trailers. A limited-edition Digibook Blu-ray can also be picked up, which contains extracts from the tie-in book Interstellar: Beyond Time and Space.
Extras rating: 4.5/5

We say: Chris Nolan's fascinating but flawed sci-fi epic serves up a truly spectacular AV experience on Blu-ray

Interstellar, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £25/£28 Approx