Well, friends, Christopher Nolan’s newest film entered the box office as his lowest box office weekend premiere since The Prestige. However, as many fans of The Prestige know, this is not necessarily a death-sentence. Interstellar is sitting at a solid 73% on the Tomatometer and a B- on A.V. Club’s film review section of their website. While these are not the worst scores out there, it did tend to deflate the expectations that viewers previously held. Regardless of expectations, Interstellar was a unique movie with a phenomenal performance from Matthew McConaughey, and while it disappointed many, I plan on delving into why you should get out there and take three hours out of your day to check out this tear-jerking, epic space-opera.
Be forewarned, readers. I am breaking this up into two major sections. The first will be a less-in-depth spoiler-free section, so I can discuss the film in a way that would not ruin any major plot points for those of you who are interested in seeing it. For those of you who have seen Interstellar, or you simply don’t care, you can also move down to second section, which has some of my favorite moments in the film. Be warned, as I did not censor that area from any spoilers.
Interstellar: A Spoiler-Free Look into the Unknown
For starters, this is no Inception. While there are mind-bending qualities similar to that 2010 masterpiece and Memento, and while it’s a somewhat complicated subject, the overall plot design is rather simple, for a Christopher Nolan film. The year is some future dystopia in which humans have inevitably been put on the endangered species list of the Earth. Similar to the effects of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, the Earth has seemed to turn against common farming methods, and it has grown impossible to grow anything other than corn, and even that is starting to get difficult to farm. It’s implied that this is somewhat do to the way that the human species has carelessly spent the Earth’s resources. Even after the film, I still cannot tell if Nolan meant this to be a social commentary, but it certainly came off that way to me. You, however, may not feel the same way. Either way, Earth has started to grow uninhabitable due to some parasite called the Blight, and Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is one man chosen to look elsewhere in the universe for a viable solution. How? By journeying through a wormhole, of course!
Before walking into movie theaters, I tend to be rather informed about movies I am seeing before actually sitting down in my theater seats. This was an exception, however. While I knew the general plot, I knew there was so much more that had to be on screen, as it’s almost a three hour-long movie, but I didn’t really gather much more than that from trailers. And I think that’s the way it was meant to be. There were predictable plot points in the film, but it was nice to not really know the framework of the entire film beforehand. Of course, there’s rising action, climax, resolution, and all that jazz, but the way that it was approached was different. That’s one word that continually creeps in my mind when thinking about this film. It was different than I was expecting, for better or for worse.
If you are hoping for the most cerebral movie out there, you will be disappointed. I think the movie was so hyped up because Christopher Nolan has such a large fan-base, and one of his most recent directed films was Inception, which collectively blew our minds. Here’s my advice to you if you are interested in seeing Interstellar: throw your expectations out the door. This is not another Inception, Memento, or The Prestige. This is not Gravity 2.0. This is the space-opera that has been credited by such famous names as Neil deGrasse Tyson. (For those that are not aware of the term, a space-opera is a subgenre of the science-fiction field in which heavy, often romantic plotlines are carried out almost exclusively in the context of, you guessed it, space.) There was a surprising slew of actors I did not expect to find in the film, and they all performed admirably. McConaughey stole the show, but that is to be expected, as he’s the main character, and because he’s Matthew McConaughey Reborn (AKA Matthew McConaughey after such films as Magic Mike). The overarching story was powerful and intriguing, but the most powerful scenes were those that displayed familial relationships. Christopher Nolan seems to emphasize familial relationships is all of his films, minus, perhaps, Following, but that’s because it’s been so long since I have seen said film. My point is this: if you are in any form or fashion moved by family bonds and the consequences of breaking those bonds, this is the movie for you. For those reasons, it lead to a very stressful viewing experience, but that’s not a bad thing. It kept me rightfully on the edge of my seat in times that I would normally be growing bored.
With all of the above stated, there are some bad elements to it. Some of the acting is comparable to the famous Dinklebot issue (from Bungie’s Destiny), in which great names are put in the script, but there doesn’t seem to be much there. The story is fascinating, but it also feels like a re-hash of a lot of space-themed movies in the twentieth century (which could actually be what Nolan was going for). On top of those issues, it’s a long freaking movie. Just don’t drink a 32 oz. at the beginning of the movie. You will regret that decision.
Bottom line: If you are a Nolan fanboy, you enjoy the acting of McConaughey, you are interested in space and physics, and/or you are moved by familial ties and conflicts that disrupt those ties, this is a movie for you. However, I really do urge you to walk in the theater with a fresh mind (as you should with every movie), so that you can enjoy it for how it has been made, as opposed to following group-think.
Intersteller: SPOILERS GALORE – Most Memorable Parts
Guys, it’s really hard to remain vague when talking about movies. Someone give me a pat on the back because that required an exorbitant amount of restraint. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
Time Always Moves Forward
If you haven’t gathered already, I believe McConaughey to be a god-send for this movie. The most powerful scene of the entire movie was Coop looking at the video of his children aging before his eyes. This was the most stressful part of the movie for me. I knew something bad would happen when they were on that planet, but to see the instant repercussions like that tore me apart. I cried almost as much as Coop there, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Anything that has to do with father-son or father-daughter things just gets to me.
This was me that entire scene:
The Weird Bookshelf Room
Alright. This was the hokiest part of the movie for me. I really feel as if the whole blackhole part of the movie was a way for Nolan to cheat. As we don’t know what’s to happen in a blackhole, he could have made anything happen, and he chose a weird 5th dimension thing that was just odd. Now, it all kind-of made sense, but I was expecting a tad more from Nolan. I was hoping for more of an explanation than something as trivial as that. “Oh, it was just Coop the entire time, so that can tie everything together nice and neat,” is what I imagined went through Christopher and Jonathan Nolan when they were writing.
Now, I felt great after I finished the movie (minus a few tears). It all tied together in a neat fashion, and it finished all major plotlines. But that’s actually one of my issues with the ending. It was so cookie-cutter perfect. Not that it didn’t make sense, but I was expecting a tad more tragedy. (This is not to say that I didn’t think the ending had no tragedy. Having to watch your kid on her deathbed is no easy thing for a parent, and I felt for Coop every minute of that scene. I just didn’t think that Nolan would end in that fashion, is all.)
Overall, I really did enjoy the film. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the film. Leave a comment below whether you agree or disagree with anything I said!