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“Interstellar” at the BFI IMAX in London

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by:  Ulrich Rostek, Germany Date: 05.12.2014
Me, on my way to IMAX. The cliffs of Dover in the background on the journey to London.

When I read here on “in70mm.com” that Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” was partially shot in IMAX and would be performed in real 70mm IMAX I was pretty curious about it. Unfortunately the few (real film based) IMAX cinemas in Germany were closed a couple of years ago and for my travelling budget being very tight I dropped the plan to take a trip to England only to watch that single movie. But after reading the short but enthusiastic report by Wolfram Hannemann about his "Interstellar"/70mm IMAX experience in Bradford I was immediately set on fire again. A cheap special offer bus tour brought me to

The BFI IMAX is proud to present the biggest screen in Britain – and really it is! Having booked a seat in the 5th row, center, my whole field of vision was covered by the giant almost square shaped screen. Before the show started the theatre’s manager gave some short instructions concerning the use of mobile phones: “Please do not record this movie with your mobile. This film is not meant to be watched on such a tiny little display. And, furthermore, it’s illegal.”

The trailershow – screened in IMAX digital – revealed the limitations of 2k digital projection on such a large screen. The pixel grid pattern was too obvious and irritating. But when they changed to the 70mm IMAX projection of “Interstellar” it felt like a veil being lifted, like the fog being blown away. Even the letterboxed Panavision sequences of “Interstellar” looked great on the giant screen, although the limits of 35 mm photography became obvious due to lacking sharpness. The IMAX sequences – grainless, razor sharp, and amazingly detailed, backed up by that marvelous almost SENSURROUND -like sound – really gave me that hyper realistic first person experience which I not even sensed with our beloved Cinerama. This visual impression soon dragged me into the movie – not leaving much brain capacity to think about the one or the other logical disruption of the plot and the somewhat overloaded storyline.

It took me the whole end credits to find my way out of the black holes and get my feet back on steady ground. My personal conclusion: If there is anything that might top widescreen then it is IMAX “highscreen” – in glourious 70 mm 15 perf.
More in 70mm reading:

Warum sollte man 700 km fahren um Hamlet in 70mm zu sehen?

Why drive 400 miles to see Hamlet in 70mm?

Interstellaring in London

"Interstellar" Goes IMAX 70MM and 5/70 MM

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Updated 21-01-24