Review: Interstellar

“Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.” – Joseph A. Cooper

Writing

Interstellar is an outstanding sci-fi/adventure film set in a future world where our food supply is depleting. Giant dust storms gust across the Earth’s surface killing the precious crops that stand in its way. With every dying food resource, man faces his coming extinction. Earth is no longer a viable option for us. We need to find a new world, a new home.

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And that is what Interstellar is all about: man’s journey to find a planet that can support life and allow us to start over. The plot is extremely engaging, because it revolves around an all-too-real premise—human extinction. Not one second of the movie was dull or tiresome, which speaks volumes for a movie with a runtime of nearly three hours.

Recently, the science in the movie has come under criticism. Many scholars in the science community question the possibility of some of the events. The criticism comes with a blow to the plot—given that the film’s climax relies heavily on the science within the movie. While some parts of the film do seem improbable, I can’t mark the movie down for this. After all, it is science fiction.

Direction/Cinematography

As expected, Christopher Nolan’s directing is fantastic. Every scene is expertly crafted to move the plot forward. The world the Nolans build (Christopher Nolan’s brother, Jonathan, co-wrote the script) is unlike any I have ever seen—it’s gripping and real. In a matter of just a few minutes, we’re taken in by the decaying future. And the further our heroes travel from their homes, the more immersed we become in the film’s well-constructed plot.

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Cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema blends well with Nolan’s directing. Scenes are incredibly well-lit, leaving no confusion as to what you are looking at—which is what you should expect from a big budget movie. Though, the real highlight of the cinematography are the camera angles. The camera is perfectly aligned to provide the whole picture of any given scene. One scene the camera is close to the actors during an emotional moment, and the next we’ll get a wide shot to show the vast size of a planet. It is remarkably well done and deeply engaging.

Acting

It should come as no surprise that Interstellar is incredibly well-cast. Matthew McConaughey leads the film as Joseph Cooper, a NASA pilot turned farmer. McConaughey delivers a powerful performance in the midst of his theatrical resurgence known as “The McConaissance.” This role is perfect for him, and it’s his greatest performance to date.

INT 5McConaughey is met with powerhouse performances by award winning actors/actresses Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, and many others. Not a single moment was poorly performed by any of the cast members. Anne Hathaway was lovable in her role as Brand, while John Lithgow played Cooper’s father-in-law with a “call it how I see it” attitude.

Soundtrack

Hans Zimmer’s work in Interstellar is nothing short of amazing. Each song richly enhances the tone of the scene, making incredibly suspenseful scenes all the better. Much of the movie’s score adds to the mystery of the film, and heightens the film’s level of immersion. This score will surely be an award winner.

Other Factors

Interstellar has a big focus on human connection. Throughout the movie, Cooper’s primary motivation is his family. Everything he does, or thinks about doing, is for them. The film does a wonderful job showing the importance of relationships. This focus really pushed this movie above and beyond for me.

The movie also mentions the story of Lazarus. The space explorations are called “The Lazarus Missions” since man is trying to “come back from the dead,” referencing their coming extinction. This was a great reference that made me crack a smile in the dark theater.

INT 4The biggest issue I had with the movie was the sound quality. Most scenes were fine, but in a few scenes it was hard to hear what the characters were saying (especially at pivotal points). Christopher Nolan has since spoken about this issue, explaining that it was an artistic choice. Nolan purposefully did not allow the audience to hear certain parts in order to convey emotional tone. To me, it wasn’t successful, but it wasn’t a huge issue either.

Content Warning

This space epic contains a few scenes of cursing and foul language. It is fairly tame when compared to most movies released today, but it is there none-the-less. This movie, being a science-heavy film, deals with the theory of evolution. In certain parts, there are statements saying that we need to evolve. Just a note of caution to any viewers that want to see this movie.

Conclusion

I found Interstellar to be an exceptional space epic and one of my favorite space-themed films. If you can get past the nearly three hour runtime, you will surely be hooked by this juggernaut of a film.

Positives

+ Excellent writing/plot + Stellar acting + Fantastic directing/cinematography + Award-worthy score + Human connection focus

Negatives

- A few poor sound choices - Some language

The Bottom Line

I found Interstellar to be an exceptional space epic and one of my favorite space-themed films. If you can get past the nearly three hour runtime, you will surely be hooked on this juggernaut of a film.

 

9.2

Michael Kirksey Jr

3 Comments

  1. Josh Hale on December 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Here are my thoughts on the film
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eInT31UWX7Y&list=UUwpVBRQA7AIqFhkiJO–8wA
    I thoroughly enjoyed it and think some of the criticisms of the film are interesting to say the least.

  2. silasgreen on November 20, 2014 at 8:55 am

    I liked this film quite a bit. It’s the closest thing our generation has gotten to another 2001: A Space Odyssey. Where Kubrick has the mission threatened by a malfunctioning computer, Nolan shows how very human motivations can be our undoing… or our salvation. I’ve loved almost all of Christopher Nolan’s films.While I still think this falls below The Dark Knight, Inception, and Memento in the gallery of Nolan films, it’s visually spectacular, made with love for hard science fiction (even if some popular scientists are picking on it now), and has enough human drama at its heart to satisfy most audiences. I would say it’s Nolan’s fourth best film, ahead of Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises., and even The Prestige. Nolan’s films tend to have more head than heart, and I can’t say this one is fully an exception, but it’s a move in the right direction, and I can’t wait to see what he gives us next. Cool review.

    (So… do you think humankind is going to one day take to the stars? And what did you think about the film’s message about a natural, scientific explanation for love (especially when it comes to Hathaway’s dramatic speech), and things that might be supernatural? It seemed (to me) very cold at times.).

    • Michael Kirksey Jr on November 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Hey silasgreen, Thanks for the comment! I’d have to agree with you on it being behind Memento and those films. Nolan really has made a name for himself in the film industry, and for good reason. He hasn’t really made a bad movie (that I can think of).

      As far as taking to the stars, i fully agree with the movie. “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.” as long as we have this mindset and keep cutting NASA’s budget, we won’t get there. But I hope we will one day. It would be pretty cool! And I completely agree with you on the movie’s message about love. It did seem kind of cold, but the fact that they placed such an emphasis on Love in the movie (however scientific they made it) kinda warms my heart. lol

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