Like the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the furthest universe is best when it’s portrayed as an uncharted ocean; something that’s so mysterious that the imagery we see is never still. Dimensional and unexpected are the words that come to me when I try to consider what’s out there. While I think that extraterrestrials are possible, I was one to never believe in creatures that would visit us to attack the earth or study humanity. We have evolved to learn more about space and what we have understood is that the Earth is more special then ever; there is only one of us within our galaxy and it’s up to us to keep our home habitable.
I can understand why people are keen to saving our planet; you destroy our place and you destroy our species. Interstellar really emphasizes how important it is to make sure that humanity will forever have a place, even if Earth cannot forever be it’s home. It also pushes how little of the universe we have really tapped. We may have looked through telescopes and developed theories on how everything works, we will never understand until we can continue going up. Interstellar shoots for the stars in the latest Christopher Nolan feature.
In the future, humanity it at the brink of collapse as the Earth has been ravaged to a point where weather in cumbersome and farmers are seen as ideal careers. One of them is Cooper (played by Mathew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot who lives in a dusty home along with his father Donald (played by John Lithgow) and his two kids Tom and Murph. Murph convinces her father that a gravitational anomaly is occurring in her room. This leads them to an underground facility where former members of NASA including physicist Professor Brand (played by Michael Caine) have been scooping a newly opened wormhole near Saturn.
They tell Cooper that a mission is being planned as the last hope for the future of humanity. The goal is to send astronauts through the wormhole to examine the three Earth-like planets that people could settle on. For his skills years before, Cooper is selected to pilot the mission, but this requires him to be away from his family for years (decades!). He makes the promise to come back, but Murph refuses to hear it and only considers that she may never see her father again.
Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite filmmakers. He took something like Batman and has given us The Dark Knight; a movie that changed super hero movies forever. I was hoping that Interstellar would do the same for science fiction. I’m sad to say we do not have the next masterpiece. Interstellar keeps boasting that it’s a story about humanity, yet I found very little of it here. McConaughey, Caine, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain all talk more like professors then identifiable beings. Sure they will talk about their emotions related to the story, but they seems to love talking about it’s meaning and philosophy more.
Speaking of story, it tries hard to emulate 2001 by crafting it’s story in separate parts. The first third, set on Earth and going through the wormhole, has it’s moments. The second part, all about the various planets and the state of Earth, is overlong and stuffed with relative physics, and comes off more boring. The final act however is so good that I cannot even say why, though it matches 2001’s ending. Aside the story’s pacing, I can’t say it’s a total waste as there is a clear mission for our heroes and their goals. Blockbuster seekers will probably get their fill, but they need to pay attention.
Though I was disappointed story wise, Interstellar was a nice movie to look at. If Nolan does something in his movies that never go wrong, it’s the cinematography. The farming scenes look eerily close to Dorothea Lange ‘s Dust Bowl shoots, the space scenes are phenomenal (I want that shot of the spaceship flying under the rings of Saturn), and as I said, the third act blew me away for reasons that I cannot spoil.
I’ll give this three wormholes out of five. Again, sorry to diss a Christopher Nolan film, but Interstellar is too bound by it’s own ambition and science. It gets high marks for is notes, but fails in it’s final presentation. I do think that a lot of people will be moved by this, but this makes me move to the theater that’s screening Inception or The Dark Knight.