Movie Review:”Interstellar”- Unparalleled Reach To the Stars

Written by Spencer Sterritt November 09, 2014

Interstellar, black hole, time, space

“Interstellar” finds Christopher Nolan reaching to the heavens to answer some of the basic questions behind science fiction: what’s out beyond the stars, what does the future hold, and where does humanity belong? “Interstellar” features Nolan’s most cinematic work with some truly dazzling set pieces, and though it has a myriad number of flaws, it still breaks expectations.

In an unidentified future, after the world has returned to a Depression-esque Dustbowl, the remains of NASA sends Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), Brand (Anne Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Romilly (David Gyasi) and the surprisingly funny robot TARS (Bill Irwin) through a wormhole to try and find a new Earth for the dying human race.

“We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can save us. We must confront the reality of interstellar travel.”

“Interstellar’s” three hours are crammed with plot, and though it doesn’t fall apart in the end, Nolan shies away from a truly revelatory ending. Instead he opts for a finale cemented by love, and how it transcends all time and space. The last act is visually amazing but undeniably corny and short-sighted. As with most movies that mess with time and space it doesn’t end up making a lot of sense as Nolan twists the science to match his saccharine world view.

Interstellar, space, time, black holes, theory of relativity

Never mind the overwhelming plot and logic holes, there are also some serious script problems. Dylan Thomas’ famous “Do not go gentle into that good night” poem is spoken so many times in the film that is loses all meaning and quickly becomes annoying. Everyone turns in a fantastic performance, but not even McConaughey and Hathaway can make Nolan’s dialogue believable. The exact same script issues that hampered “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises” are all over the “Interstellar” script, most notably stock characters. The amazing cast includes Jessica Chasten, Casey Affleck, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, and even Topher Grace, but everyone is wasted on un-dynamic characters.

“Mankind was born on Earth, but we were never meant to die here.”

Where “Interstellar” does shine is the  scope and feel of the film. Christopher Nolan is undeniably a visual storyteller, and though that often leads to underwhelming character work, no one can claim that he doesn’t know how to tell a story. “Interstellar” is dazzling to behold and scenes set in space are some of the most beautiful shots of this year. Space has never felt so vast as the tiny Endurance space ship floats in front of gargantuan black holes and planets. Scenes on the planets Cooper’s team visit are just as vivid. A little whitewashed yes, but each planet has a distinctive feature, whether it be frozen clouds or a massive wave, that gives it personality.

Interstellar, planets, time, space, ice

The wormhole effects are remarkable in every way. As they enter it, all of space seems to pull out from under their craft like a rug. The effects, based on real theoretical physics and equations, are so remarkable that they have even helped scientists like Kip Thorne (who executive produced “Interstellar”) determine what it would actually be like to enter a black hole, and are the basis for several new papers that Thorne is releasing later this year.

Interstellar, wormhole, Kip thorne

Before “Interstellar’s” release Nolan talked often about how he was tweaking the sound for it, and was going to “present a very ambitious sound mix to give audiences an incredible immersive experience.” He would reportedly apparently visit IMAX theatres in the week leading up to release to make sure that the audio was just right. If this is the case, then Nolan is going deaf because “Interstellar’s” sound mixing is atrocious. The soundtrack is just too damn loud, and the background sound is too forward in the mix. Whole conversations, critically one between Caine and Chastain, are rendered moot because you can’t hear a damn thing they’re saying. Hans Zimmer’s score, composed primarily on an organ, is interesting and new but loses a lot of it’s character at such a high volume.

“I pray you never have to know how good it feels to see a human face again.”

“Interstellar” certainly has a lot of problems, mostly stemming from the script. But as the movie closes you can’t help but feel elated by a sense of wonder. It really is epic in every way, and dares to travel into parts unknown. It’s refreshing to see a space blockbuster that doesn’t either descend into a huge space battle a la “Guardians of the Galaxy” or one crazy man stalking a ship (looking at you “Sunshine”). Christopher Nolan’s reach might exceed his grasp, but he still reaches farther than anyone else this decade.

My Rating: 8/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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