Interstellar: Nolan’s insistence on real

Since digital technologies can create lots of amazing scenes, also more and more being used in films among genres. Some directors still insist to use practical effects instead of CGI in the time of ubiquitous CGI effects. Christopher Nolan is an iconic figure. Just like what he said in an interview:

Generally, the impulse is always to try and make the thing as real as possible and be as rigid as possible in the standards you apply to the notion of could this happen in our universe.

Every film he made influenced what he stated, including Interstellar. Here’s some of the amazing scenes.



After Joseph Cooper entered the wormhole, he falls into the 5th dimension space. Though this scene looks very CGI and sci-fi, but it was physically constructed.

And then, when Cooper’s crew attempted to find habitable exoplanet, they went to Miller’s planet and Mann’s planet. These two scenes were all shot in Iceland. In addition, they built a physical space ship. Though when it’s in the Miller’s planet, the giant wave was animated, they built some physical stimulations over the top to work out how the water would be like and created all the foam on the surface and spray.


In addition, Nolan planted 500-acres of corn, in order to shoot the cornfield chase and burning scenes at the beginning.

Luckily, Zack had grown a bunch of corn, so I said, “How much can you really grow practically?” And they had done a couple hundred acres, so we looked into it; we found that where we wanted to build our farmhouse really close to the mountains Calgary. In the end, we got a pretty good crop, and we actually made money on this.

There are lots of scenes not being mentioned are also made with practical effects. But concluded, Nolan is not against CGI, but to make films as real as possible, It is hard to say CGI and practical effects which is better, though people argue about it a lot. Also, its not absolute that practical effects are more realistic than CGI, as the technology is getting more advanced. But one thing could be certain, thats the combination of the two can make good films.

Written by Liang Cao





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