Release Date: 11/5/2014 Limited 11/7/2014 Wide Release
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Amelia Brand), David Gyasi (Romilly), Jessica Chastian (Murph), Casey Affleck (Tom), Wes Bentley (Doyle), Matt Damon (Dr. Mann), Michael Caine (Professor Brand), Topher Grace (Getty)
Review Grade at the Bottom
I walked into Interstellar still sitting with the assumptions that I had when this movie was first announced oh so long ago. At that point it was just a story about some people breaching a wormhole. This piked my interest due to theories that wormholes are the key to time travel as well as improved space travel. With that concept in mind, I wanted to see the movie. In Nolan’s benefit, he kept the ads minimal and not much of the movie was ever spoiled. That can’t be said for the movie which suffered from a straight forward story that was trying to masquerade as more complex than it was. Now, don’t get me wrong, Interstellar was a satisfying movie. It hit the right spots even if it ran a half hour longer than I’d have liked.
There is something that is inherently gripping about exploring the unknown. For the longest time we as a species have ventured out into the world. Steadily over time expanding and learning more about the world and space around us. So what happens when the world that we’ve come to rely on begins to turn on us. That’s what Interstellar was out to examine. However, Interstellar wasn’t willing to stop there. Themes of love and space travel were swirled together with the ideas of abandonment and faith. It really was a lot to tackle and with so many themes, Interstellar struggled to really deliver on them all.
One of the issues was the construction of the story. Interstellar delivers an array of stellar performances (with a few duds) which help provide us with a solid understanding of the characters. There are two movies in one. One movie focuses on the emotional journey that the people went on. It was a story of love and caring about those loved ones. Then there was the space travel movie that was focused on the fun sciencey bit. Nolan managed to make them mesh together, but there were a number of times when the two stories didn’t feel very coherent together.
It wasn’t uncommon for characters to display extreme reactions that only harmed others. In one instance, a periphery character opts to make a decision for him and his family that only put him in harm’s way. Rather than protect his family, rather than make sure that his family was going to survive, he opted to stand his own ground, his family’s health be damned. Near the same area of the movie we saw yet another foolish action as a interstellar travel survivor turned on the crew that could have kept him alive. It was an outlandish act and while his actions can be rationalized as those of a man who’d lost his mind, it’s hard for it not to seem contrived. yet another way to make the plot more complicated for the other characters without it making complete sense.
A great surprise came in the form of CASE and TARS. TARS in particular was a fascinating character who provided a tn of assistance for the interstellar travel. However, it was TARS customization settings that really made his character shine. Whether it was his humor settings or truth settings he managed to provide the majority of the film’s few laughs.
There aren’t a whole lot of movies that just look so epically beautiful. It is a great credit to the effects team who managed to design captivating travel and landscapes. There were so many shots, whether it was on burning farms or a black hole, it was magnificent. The beauty that was on screen can not be denied. The lingering shots on the wormhole or the black hole were some of the most captivating images that I’ve seen. As was the tremendous swell that was present on the first world the interstellar travelers landed on.
Interstellar is long. 169 minutes long. Two hours and 49 minutes. Do’t get me wrong, I don’t mind long movies. I savor the 201 minutes of Return of the King. However, much like the surprise multiple endings that left people wondering if it was actually over. I spent much of Interstellar thinking about all the scenes and events that could be completely shaved off the movie. Did we really need to see Cooper get his daughter suspended from school because she believes that we did go to the moon unlike the rest of the world is supposed to believe. Time after time I found that there was so much that could have been trimmed, scenes trimmed while maintaining the heart of the story and making it more concise.
I mentioned previously that there were some great performances in this film and that is something that is hard to deny. Matthew McConaughey shined in the role that forced him to be part dreamer, part family man, part realist, and part adventurer. It’s a lot of different things to go through and never once do you feel like he doesn’t love his family more than anything. Anne Hathaway also was wonderful as Amelia Brand. unlike McConaughey’s Cooper, Amelia was filled with life and realism. However through all that realism she was driven by love and hope that they could in fact save the human race. Then there was Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Tom. It was a very small role and in his defense it was, in my opinion, poorly written. Unlike the other characters in the film I didn’t buy it, because he didn’t sell it.
Interstellar delivers on a deeply satisfying film. However, I left the theatre feeling like my satisfaction felt unmerited. Yet, I couldn’t lay my finger on why I wasn’t wholly in love with the film. It gave me space travel. It gave me theories to discuss. It gave me things to complain about, but not so much that I couldn’t enjoy it. Even now, after I’ve discussed the film ad nausem and tried to work out my feelings I can’t pinpoint why I don’t like this movie that I should be absolutely in love with. I still like it though. As for anyone else going to see the movie. If you are a fan about science fiction, if you love space operas, providing you can stand a long run time, you’re likely to at least enjoy the movie.
What did you think of the movie?