Interstellar Review

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Interstellar Review

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Editor’s note: the review does go into the spoiler zone. Readers wanting to avoid spoilers should not read this review.

“Mankind was born on earth, it was never meant to die here.”

These were the words uttered by Cooper to his father in an alternate–though not necessarily impossible–future Earth, one struck by a blight that caused crops to die out and initiated a global food crisis. Just when all seems lost, a secret NASA exploration program is commissioned to find new planets for humankind to inhabit. These planets are accessible by a wormhole located next to Saturn and adventure ensues.

Interstellar is the new film written, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan, who is notable for a number of successful films including Memento, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy. Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine to name a few from the excellent cast. Interstellar is considered to be the most anticipated film of the year according to most news outlets, since expectations are incredibly high whenever a film by Christopher Nolan is announced. So how does Interstellar fare as a movie?

To begin, it is an entertaining and thought-provoking movie, but it does have its fair share of flaws. One of the strongest positives of the movie is the performances of the cast; Matthew McConaughey does an exceptional job of playing Cooper, the father of two children who is forced to join the exploration program for the good of humanity. Anne Hathaway also does  very well in her role, but she doesn’t really come off as a likable character at first and it is hard to connect with her character. Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy both play Murph, Cooper’s daughter in the movie, with Foy portraying an adolescent Murph and Chastain as an adult Murph. Both actors have played their roles really well. Another positive for this movie is the production values that were utilized to the fullest in the movie, resulting in nothing less than astounding. The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema is astounding and the visual effects are awesome, the production design was great and the sound design was brilliant. And as expected, Hans Zimmer’s score is simply beautiful to listen to.

The film never stops asking questions about humanity’s place in the universe and our will to survive as a species, and the movie’s themes of sacrifice, survival and love are presented nicely too. Surprisingly, this is Nolan’s most emotionally driven film in his career; often his films come off as cold and clinical, but this is a noticeable exception to the trend.

However, looking at this movie objectively, it is not entirely perfect. For one thing, the third act of the movie was rather perplexing and somewhat illogical; it is hard to understand at first and it may require multiple viewings to fully comprehend what is going on (a trait many of Nolan’s films share). For another, there are some characters that do not contribute much to the story and are regarded as somewhat wasteful. If you don’t like exposition in movies, then be warned before viewing this one. There is a lot of exposition and it may come off as unnecessary in a film like this, where most of the visuals are fully capable of explaining everything. Conversely, there were some holes in the plot and in logic, but if these were filled the movie would be less interesting. There are, also moments in the film where characters make decisions that are considered to be irrational as well as somewhat overly sappy.

Nonetheless, it is still a good movie and a serious Oscar contender for the technical categories (i.e. cinematography, sound, etc.). In my opinion, it is not the best of Christopher Nolan’s filmography and it may not match up to the standards of his (arguably better) previous films, but it is definitely worth watching.

 

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