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Interstellar (2014)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres:
Sci-Fi Adventure, Science Fiction
Director:
Christopher Nolan Christopher Nolan
Starring:
Ellen Burstyn Ellen Burstyn
Matthew McConaughey Matthew McConaughey
Mackenzie Foy Mackenzie Foy
John Lithgow John Lithgow
Timothée Chalamet Timothée Chalamet

8.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: March 09, 2015
I'll tell you, I'm not much of a fan of Chris Nolan's work. I feel like he puts together these deep plots, but just can't keep them together throughout their running time. As great as the Interstellar trailer was, I was more than worried that this was going to be another in a long line of movies where Nolan had conjured up this great concept only to piss it away. Was he finally able to deliver?

Off in the future, it's not looking so good for this planet that we call our home. The entire planet's ecosystem has been reduced to the dust bowl that plagued the central U.S. during the 1930s. Most professions have been deemed unnecessary, and people have been reassigned to farming. This isn't sitting well with former-pilot Cooper who positively hates his new job. His son has an aptitude for it, but his daughter, Murphy, shares his love of science and aeronautics. Incidentally, she also has a ghost living in her room. Naturally, Cooper initially denies its existence, but eventually the signs not only become too much to ignore, but actually point father and daughter to a hidden NASA base where Cooper is reunited with his old professor, John Brand. It's far from a happy reunion however, as he learns that the Earth can only support life for a few more decades, but there is a sliver of hope. A wormhole has opened just next to Saturn that leads to another solar system. Cooper's old profession makes him uniquely qualified to lead this mission, but the differences in gravitation is going to affect the flow of time differently for him. In other words, if it takes him ten years, a lifetime will have gone by on Earth. Not only does this put a pronounced time pressure on their task, but it means sacrificing his life with his family.

It's all but impossible not to think of last year's Gravity when you sit down to watch this, however, these are two entirely different movies. While Gravity strived for relative realism, Interstellar is a full-blown space fantasy. While I'm told all the gravitational time dilation science actually checks out, the mission not only moves from planet to planet, but across time itself. What the two films do have in common however is that they both look absolutely amazing. I don't want to fully discuss the specific visuals I loved because I don't want to spoil what happens on the other side of that wormhole, but suffice to say, it was breathtaking. Likewise, the score that accompanies these visuals is just as striking. Unsurprisingly, the film earned Oscar nominations for both Visuals Effects and Original Score, and reeled in the former. It certainly deserved it.

As you can tell, Interstellar is not a shallow undertaking, and again, Nolan tends to lose his handle on this type of subject matter. Fortunately, he was able to keep it together for the most part. Now, I'm not giving him full credit: he was definitely starting to lose it by the end of things and the big reveal was a little cheesy, but the potential for a total blowout was absolutely huge. To his credit, Nolan brought in an astrophysicist to guide him through the more abstract details of black holes and time dilation, and the results cannot be understated. The fact that the science isn't as fantastic as say, a Star Wars movie, goes a long way in tying the film down. It doesn't seem like science fiction so much as we just haven't quite made the technological advances to make these moves in real life.

Out in space, the movie is held down by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as Brand's daughter, Amelia. Simply put, they were both phenomenal. McConaughey in particular handled Cooper's juggling of the mission's importance with his desire to get back to his kids beautifully. Not to be outdone, Hathaway provided a perfect stoic foil to his character, while not missing a beat during Amelia's emotional outbursts when things take turns for the worst. They're joined by robots CASE and TARS who are voiced by Josh Stewart and Bill Irwin respectively. Not only did both voice actors give each their own personality, but kudos to the film makers for creating such original designs. They're just big rectangles with a screen on the front, and dozens of hinged sections. At first they seemed pretty limited, but once they were in action, it's amazing how well they utilized such a beautifully simple design. Back on Earth, Michael Caine makes his obligatory appearance (this is a Christopher Nolan movie after all), but the real story is Murphy Cooper. Both child Mackenzie Foy and adult Jessica Chastain not only captured this headstrong character wonderfully, but also did a very nice job bridging that two-actor gap.

Whoo, was this a fun one. Sure, it got a little ham-fisted towards the end there, but that was just a minor problem in a great movie. Don't miss it. 8/10.
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George Snow #1: George Snow - added 11/02/2015, 03:30 PM
This movie bored the hell out of me. I tried to enjoy it, and it just did nothing for me.
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