His Movie Review of Interstellar:
Christopher Nolan’s newest movie, Interstellar released this weekend, opening at the box office at $47.5 million, which was just shy of the estimated $50-55 million expected according to Hollywood Reporter, and currently is sitting in at a modest low 70s on Rotten Tomatoes. Interstellar stars Matthew MacConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Jessica Chastain. It also features a few exciting big name cameos, which I will not spoil here.
So what is this movie about? That is a hard question to answer, as much of what this movie is about is the journey, and spoiling the journey would certainly make this film a lot less desirable to watch. But the jist of the movie is in the future, the world has begun to “die”, farming has become an increasingly important occupation because harsh conditions have caused many staple crops to not thrive any longer. Matthew McConaughey’s character, Cooper, is one of the farmers, but he was an engineer in a previous time, as well as a pilot—which leads to him reuniting with Professor Brand, who is set on saving the human race. The cost for Cooper would be high though—years of his life away from his family, but the reward would be his family along with the rest of humanity to survive.
So what does Cooper have to do that is going to cost him years? As the title might suggest, he will be venturing off into space to find a new world for humanity to live on. McConaughey accepts this mission—not just to save the human race, but partially because his personal ambition has always wanted him to do something more than simply be a farmer.
Interstellar really delves into quantum physics once the space aspect of it gets going. While the movie does its best to help the general audience understand the basic principles, I think some of the audience might get bored or lost as the movie goes further and further into this “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” type stuff, to borrow a phrase from Doctor Who. For me and other “geeky” movie-goers I am sure, this was very interesting to me. Discussions of black holes and their effect on time, and space-time theories are really entertaining for me, but I can certainly see how some people would simply not really be entertained by such “nerd” talk. I think this could be a very big reason for the somewhat mixed reviews Interstellar is seeing on Rotten Tomatoes.
As for pacing, the movie takes some time to get going. There is a lot of time spent on Earth, laying out the framework of the world and setting up the story, which surely accounts partially for the long run time of the film (164 minutes or so). Once we take off into space with Cooper and Brand (Anne Hathaway’s character, who is the daughter of Professor Brand) the movie really gets its stride.
There are a lot of themes running through this film, with one of the main ones being that humanity is meant to be a pioneer/explorer. I think this theme is becoming more prevalent in cinema in recent times, with movies like Gravity and Europa Report having a similar tone, in that the film portrays space travel in a very realistic way, versus something like Star Wars or Star Trek, which takes a number of liberties when their films are made.
Another big theme running through Interstellar is the idea that observations can appear magical or supernatural until the science and testing behind the observation is tested, and proven. This is a huge theme that plays out later in the film, which is an amazing scene, but at the same time is confusing and provokes a lot of questions that probably only a quantum physics scientist would be able to answer. Nolan also touches briefly on artificial intelligence and robots through the film, posing the age -old question: at what point does A.I. constitute consciousness?
Overall, this film does a really good job of making a case for why humanity should be reaching for the stars, which is one of the main reasons why I enjoyed the film so much. One of my “bucket list” goals that I have little control over is humanity venturing farther in space than the moon. But this movie certainly helps fulfill a small portion of that hope.
Despite this being a “sci-fi” movie, there are a lot of emotional moments in the film as well. The evolving relationship between Cooper and his daughter has so much depth, yet 75% of the movie’s time they are separated by light years. There is one particularly heart-wrenching scene that occurs after a pretty big mistake during a mission that costs Cooper and the space crew dearly, and watching that scene unfold was really a heartbreaking moment between Cooper and his daughter.
I know my review is pretty vague, but I feel that the best part of the movie is waiting to see what comes next. There are some very specific movies out there where knowing too much before seeing the movie can completely ruin the experience, such as Gone Girl, Memento, Inception, and The Prestige, to name a few. Interstellar certainly falls into that category.
So, overall I highly recommend Interstellar. It is certainly not the greatest Christopher Nolan movie, but it is still a great watch — especially if you are interested in space travel. As I said before, pacing is a little slow in the beginning, but as the story ramps up it is made up for in the end. I also think the movie is an important watch, especially for those of us who want to see us out in the stars. But for those really disinterested in space travel, I think enjoying this movie will be a little tougher. I struggled coming up with a rating on this film, but I think I will go with a 8 out of 10.
Her Movie Review of Interstellar:
The sci-fi adventure film Interstellar is written by brothers Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The brother duo has worked together before on films such as The Dark Knight and The Prestige. This film has quite a star-studded cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and many more — as well as a surprise or two that I won’t mention, because I hadn’t heard about it before, and was probably meant to be kept under wraps!
Interstellar takes place at some point in the future when Earth is basically dying due to Blight which has attacked most of the crops, and which causes constant dust storms. Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is a former pilot who is now a farmer, because apparently that’s what almost everyone does in this society, become farmers, since that’s the occupation that’s most in need at this time. Through some seemingly supernatural events, Cooper finds the coordinates to top-secret NASA headquarters, and is recruited to be the pilot of a space mission that will travel through a wormhole in search of other habitable planets. Unfortunately, he has to leave his 10-year old daughter and 15-year old son behind, and he doesn’t know when he’ll be back.
There’s quite a lot more to the story than that, considering that the movie clocks in at 169 minutes (2 hours and 49 minutes), but I’ll just leave it at that in the interest of avoiding spoilers.
I had been highly anticipating Interstellar for quite some time now, admittedly, ever since I saw the first teaser trailer, without really knowing what the movie was about. Just the title of the movie, and the fact that Christopher Nolan’s name was attached to it was enough to excite me. Then we finally got a more substantive trailer that gave us more insight to what the movie was going to be about, and I was among the first to see that trailer when it debuted at San Diego Comic-Con — and it gave me goosebumps.
Space travel has always fascinated me. I want us to get out there and explore the universe. I want us to discover new worlds that could sustain human life. So, as you can see, this movie played right into my interests.
The movie itself was breathtakingly beautiful to watch, with stunning visual effects, and an amazing score done by Hans Zimmer, which made for a truly immersive movie-going experience. However, in shots where there should not have been any sound (since there is no sound in space), there actually was no sound, and I greatly appreciated that aspect of the film.
The acting in the film was superb, without exception. Indeed, Matthew McConaughey has come a long way from his 1993 Dazed and Confused “Alright alright alright” character David Wooderson to today, since it seems that only in the past few years has he been considered a serious actor. I am glad that his potential was finally realized, as I felt he did a perfect job portraying Cooper, a character that conveyed a broad spectrum of emotions, which McConaughey nailed in every instance. I even enjoyed MacKenzie Foy (who you may recognize as Renesmee from Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2), who played 10-year old Murph. If you know me, you’ll know that I often get annoyed by children in TV and movies — but in MacKenzie Foy’s case, I thought she did an amazing job playing Murph.
Interstellar does get into a lot of very complicated, science-y discussions, however, which for the most part seem like they would go over people’s heads, leaving them grasping at straws, trying to understand exactly what they’re talking about. For the most part, though, I feel like the most important parts of these conversations are dumbed down into simple terms for the audience’s sake, highlighting what the audience really needs to know in order to follow the storyline. However, I thought having watched Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series, that I could follow what was going on just a little bit better than the average audience member! Then in the end, things get even more complicated, and at the same time, more interesting.
Being a nearly three-hour long movie, there are distinct and separate parts to the movie, and admittedly, the pacing of some scenes in the movie are much slower than others. However, I never felt taken out of the movie at all, and I found myself interested consistently throughout the entire film.
I must also applaud the fact that women played key roles in this film, and were portrayed as equals to men in the realm of science, as they should be. So a big thank you to the filmmakers for that.
One thing that I felt the film fell short on, however, was its insistence on including the theme of love, and its transcendence of time and space, and attributing all things to love. Yes, it’s a nice thought, and definitely true, but I thought it was overly ambitious to try to make everything point back to the concept of love, and at times felt a little out of place. It was like the filmmakers wanted to use love to make the movie that much more epic, tying everything together because of love. A valiant effort, but a little too blatant, so I ended up not quite being sold on that aspect.
Overall, a thought provoking film, which although very long, was definitely very interesting and beautiful to watch. One thing’s for sure, people will be debating for years to come, trying to understand and explain what really happened.
My rating: 8.5/10