‘Interstellar’ Review: An Epic and Beautiful Film

It’s taken me several days to fully process Interstellar, which I saw at a screening here in Atlanta last Monday night. Initially, I was unsure how I felt about the film as a whole – other than saying it was absolutely beautiful and really, really long – oh and things get really weird towards the end of the film. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.

Interstellar is truly interstellar in size. Wormholes, black holes, time travel, the end of mankind – the attempts to relocate mankind… It’s all very grand and epic in concept. And when you leave the theater, you just feel heavy – so much happens in three hours that you feel weeks must have elapsed. Perhaps you were the one suck down a wormhole?

The plot may remind you of Armageddon in the beginning. Earth is in trouble. The next generation won’t be able to survive, so a team of explorers have to venture out into the galaxy in hopes of finding a planet that is similar enough to earth that we can all relocate.

When the film starts, we’re at Cooper’s (Matthew McConaughey) farm. His daughter believes that a ghost is sharing their residence – and trying to communicate with her. Coop tells her to use science to explain it – that ghosts aren’t real. However, this odd form of communication inspires the catalyst for the film. Coop eventually believes that someone is trying to use gravity to communicate with them. He hops in his pickup truck and drives to the middle of nowhere – which ends up being the secret headquarters for NASA. NASA has become a top secret organization researching how they can transport mankind to another planet. Will it be possible to move everyone? Or will a bunch of test-tube babies along with select humans be the ones to continue life elsewhere for our species?

The plot a bit too convenient for me. Everything that is happening just doesn’t seem realistic. The man who didn’t believe in ghosts, accepts that gravity is trying to communicate with him – drives off to the coordinates that “gravity” leaves him in the dust (literally)… and apparently he is the only man capable of piloting this mission to space (he was a pilot for the military in his younger years). Bam, we’re going to space. Sure, we don’t want to waste too much time on showing any type of training, I mean this is already a three hour movie. I get it. But it all just seems way too convenient, and the mission doesn’t feel planned out.

Once we’ve been traveling through space for two years – we travel through a wormhole near Saturn. We get the chance to explore these 3 possible new homes – that’s the part of the film you’ve been waiting for. It’s a playground for your imagination – and Christopher Nolan creates a space that truly does feel infinite. I appreciated the actual science that went into creating the wormhole, the blac khole, the worlds that they were dealing with – and the actual mechanics of their craft – All of these elements are what drowned out the plot issues for me. It was just so vast and beautiful – that I couldn’t focus on picking apart the story. All I could see was the sheer beauty of what was on the screen. Nolan did an incredible job at creating visuals for something we know very little about, but our imaginations love to play with.

Matthew McConaughey delivers a solid performance as does Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon – and all the rest of the cast. The only one that felt awkward to me was Anne Hathaway’s performance as Brand, but I think that was more an issue with how her character was written than Anne’s actual acting. Brand is all about science, and then all of a sudden she’s all about love and following her heart. It seems messy and inconsistent for the character.

When you’re dealing with science verses sci-fi, you have to be very careful about how you construct the story and what you introduce to the movie-goer. Otherwise they won’t buy into this grand concept. Interstellar walks a pretty fine line. We start off pretty grounded in reality. However, as the film progresses and explores the meaning of relatively, love, life and death – things get a little more grand. And while the story had holes, the actual script was pretty fantastic, there were so many subtle moments that impacted other moments.

I truly appreciate that Interstellar tackled everything it did at the end of the film – exploring an area that so rarely gets touched – the “what happens next” scenes that normally are left up to our imaginations. It makes the ride all that more exciting – even if we venture into pretty weird territory.

Bottom line, the film is stunning and while there may be some issues with the plot – it’s still a pretty stellar movie that is well worth seeing – and seeing on IMAX.

Interstellar Review

Grade: B+


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