Wow. I had heard Interstellar was going to be something special, and after all it is Christopher Nolan, but I had no idea what to expect. With the success of “Gravity,” I figured maybe it was just hype, driven by the latest fad in space movies. I mean the movie is about a post-apocalyptic world, space travel AND unknown forces working behind the scenes. That could be a recipe for disaster, but it was quite the opposite.
I have to say I am a complete fan of the genre, which at first led me to believe that I might be biased toward this movie. However,I’ve actually realized that it causes me to demand more from my sci-fi movies, but more on that later.
Interstellar starts off getting us acquainted with the living conditions of the not-so-distant future. You are not met, however, with an over-exaggerated post-apocalyptic world touting bands of mutants, zombies, dictators and so forth. Instead, Nolan’s future is quite normal, except for one thing: The world’s crops are dying one at a time due to “blight” and the land is one giant sand-storm waiting to happen.
Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is an ex-astronaut/engineer who finds farming dull, but necessary to raise his two kids and a father-in-law (John Lithgow). Strange events start to occur around his house, which his daughter picks up on, and that eventually lead him to discover that the world is doomed and, of course, he is the only hope.
Accompanied by fellow astronauts (Ann Hathaway) and two smart-ass robots, Cooper sets off through a newly discovered wormhole to find a new home for mankind. This is where the movie completely starts to blow your mind. With incredible visuals and an unmatched soundtrack by the man Hans Zimmer himself, the movie is perfectly setup to be awe-inspiring, all possible of course because Nolan is behind the reins.
If you thought you felt the vastness and isolation of space in “Gravity” then you have another thing coming for you. Nolan takes real concepts of astrophysics and builds them into the story in a way that really lets you understand how insignificant we are in the enormity of the universe. Playing with time and human behavior, Interstellar takes you on a journey through your own soul and back out again. And as beautiful as the space elements are in the movie, that what it’s really about: human emotion.
However, that’s where my inner-nerd felt a slight pang of defiance. I mean, we had just traveled with the characters over light years into another galaxy, overcome numbers of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and were waiting for some sort of rational answer, when we find out the answer lies deep within human emotion. Of course it made the movie better, and even my cold soul felt the warmth the movie was provoking inside of me. And obviously it makes sense that after traveling through the empty void that is space and time, you would realize that the only thing that mattered were the people around you, but still…
The only other qualm I had with the movie was the representation of science that we don’t know. It is never an easy task to show the unknown, especially in complex quantum physics, so I give props to Nolan for trying. It just seemed like it worked out too nicely in “5th dimension” and in the resolution that followed. But then again, one of my favorite things about the movie is that it also gave us closure. In a time where philosophical sci-fi stories go unfinished because the authors themselves don’t know the ending, or aren’t courageous enough to try and answer what happens next, Nolan gave us ending, and even if it’s too perfect or turns out to be scientifically inaccurate, at least it had that closure.
Despite my own personal qualms with some of the scenes, this movie was extremely entertaining to me, and even writing this review, I’m thinking about the next time I can see it before it leaves the theaters. It has action, suspense, mystery, and that awe-inspiring feeling of an infinite universe. It isn’t Nolan’s best film perhaps, nor is it necessarily going to remain one of my favorites. However, it is a movie worth seeing, and one worth pondering for some time after.