Doctor Strange has been the most visually stunning movie in the MCU. The Thor movies showcased Asgard and Guardians of the Galaxy gave us a window into the world beyond our solar system, but Doctor Strange featured jaw-dropping CGI. The film is now nominated for an Oscar for its visuals and I’d like to think it’s going to win. Whatever your opinion on the film’s actual plot, no one can deny how beautiful the movie was to watch.

Director Scott Derrickson sat down with The A.V. Club to discuss the film and the differences between directing a big Hollywood blockbuster and the smaller films he is known for, such as Sinister and Deliver US From Evil. When asked about the contrast between the projects, Derrickson said they were “night and day”.

“I wanted to make a mind-trip action movie about one man overcoming himself through these spiritual ideas. They were just 1,000 percent supportive of that vision all along, and they never shied away from any of the boldness, whether it was in the visuals or in the ideas. That’s why it was such an amazing experience.”

CGI had a lot to do with what we saw in Doctor Strange’s final cut. Derrickson goes on to admit that this film most likely couldn’t have been made five years prior. It is amazing how quickly technology changed and how it continues to morph.

“…the visual effects needed to reinterpret magic in a much more tactile way. I didn’t want amorphous light, I didn’t want amorphous smoke. I didn’t want the kind of signature imagery that usually tells an audience we’re dealing with the mysteries of magic and mystical powers. I wanted to get away from all those things, and create surrealism, magic as surrealism through physically tactile, recognizable textures. So the audience doesn’t feel like they’re looking at CGI, they feel they’re looking at something that’s really physical…”

Derrickson ended the interview with high praise for actress Tilda Swinton. Premiering as The Ancient One, Swinton’s character trains Stephen Strange. Apparently, she is the one Derrickson became closest to one set. But, that isn’t to say that he wouldn’t become star struck from seeing her walk the red carpet. According to the director, “She just kind of has that effect on you.”

To read the whole interview, check out The A.V. Club and see the visuals yourself when Doctor Strange comes out on Digital HD February 14th and Blu-Ray February 28th.