Good science fiction movies about space travel are unfortunately few and far between, so when Nolan announced he was going to be tackling an epic based on time, human suffering, and space travel, many people, myself included, were dubious but excited. Could Nolan pull off the cold harshness of space in the context of the desperation of the human experience? It turns out, for the most part, yes.
Let’s take a look at Interstellar.
Check out our Objection on this movie here!
Interstellar starts with a world dying due to the worst dust bowl ever experienced by man. Humanity’s efforts have gone to growing food to try and get ahead of the shortage. However, NASA has been secretly planning an evacuation program, which they will enact once they find another planet to live on. Three out of the nine astronauts they sent out through a wormhole reported results back, and so McConaughey leaves his family behind to try and find a new world for humanity to inhabit. There’s a lot more to the plot but I’d hate to ruin the emotional roller coaster for anyone.
The third act has the most problems, but not because of the weird “love as a force of nature” thing, which is an issue so small it barely blipped on my radar. In fact, it got mentioned so little I even forgot it was in the movie until the end. No, it was the weird science that suddenly it decides it doesn’t want to play by the same rules as the rest of the movie. You can’t pass through a black hole and you can’t put things in black holes and how do “they” even grab the astronaut out of the most destructive force ever?
This is where the fiction part comes in, hard, but it’s like “Well we spent this entire movie make sure we were scientifically accurate so…fuck it, let’s now do what we want.” I liked the time represented as a physical dimension, that was clever, but the lack of explanation at the end (are they even going to go the new planet? Did they only grab American people? How did it take them to this whole thing together when the implication was they have maybe just a handful of years left?) really killed it for me.
The acting is stellar in this film, way better than the Batman films (no offense Christian Bale). Matthew McConaughey might come off as an insufferable air head in real life, but damn if he doesn’t have this acting thing down. He manages to be emotionally powerful and funny at the right times and plays off the sassy robots (who are the best parts of the movie) well.
Anne Hathaway is also excellent as the optimistic and kind hearted daughter of the project’s head, though occasionally she make her seem like a naive sap. Jessica Chastain might be my favorite for how she so encapsulates this hated of her father and the desperate struggle to save all human life. Some people think the movie is lacking in emotional impact, because it’s not typically Nolan’s cup of tea, and that may be so, but it feels like so much more potent when it is compared to the vast emptiness of space.
The music is a big homage to 2001 as are the sassy robots (because of course). Even the imagery has Kubrick inspirations, be it just the gorgeous space scenery, but the action scenes, are al Nolan. It’s a very visually pleasing film, and it’s worth watching just for the stunning images.
All these aspects play into the concept of humanity in the cold heart of the unknown, desperate and afraid but needing to go forward to survive. You could read it as a metaphor for pilgrims in the new world, or the beginnings of humanity, or the inevitable choices we will have to make due to the irresponsibility of our forefathers. Or, you know, it’s just a really well done space movie. That happens sometimes too.
All in all, Interstellar is phenomenal movie that was just short of being absolutely perfect. It has excellent visuals, a very strong cast and story that doesn’t drag in any way. If the third act could have kept it together, it would have been an undeniable masterpiece but as it stands, I really do think it will be one of the best loved of the space epics and may Nolan’s best films to date.
– Fantastic cinematography.
– Excellent acting.
– Great story.
– Some of the science “fiction” is too contrived.
– Plot waivers in the third act.