AUS230 – week 9 – Ssnnd frr Intrstlllr (Sound for Intersterllar)

This week we took a look at scenes from Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”.

The discussion centred around widespread complaints regarding the audio quality in the cinema release. Some cinemas apparently put up signs that they would not be offering refunds for any complaints regarding the sound quality of Interstellar.

I was unaware of any such criticism, having seen the movie in the cinema. In fairness, I don’t think I’d be able to tell, as the only seats available for the session I saw was in the front row, first seats on the left, pressed up against the screen.

Apparently the bulk of the complaints were about the audibility of dialogue. From the scenes we watched in class, I could understand what they were referring to, which I believe came down to a multitude of reasons.

Firstly, Matthew McConaughey does not have the clearest diction to begin with, and tends to mumble in an attempt to create emotion and sensitivity. This, coupled with what seems like a lot of close micing tends to obscure his lines, which often plays second-fiddle to Hans Zimmer’s epic orchestral score. This was demonstrated on the porch scene with Michael Caine, which was drowned out by the foreshadowing of the musical cues leading up to the rocket launch.

This was further reiterated in later scenes set in outer space, where it sounds like the dialogue was recorded from mics inside the space-helmets, which I speculate was intentional to create a realistic sense of the character’s  perspective within the scenes.

Overall, I think a lot of excellent creative choices were lost on the uneducated audience who were under the assumption they were going to see a “Woo!!!! Rocketships!!!!! KABOOM!!!!” kind of film, rather than the well crafted, artistic masterpiece that Interstellar ultimately is.





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