Wow. What a movie. I saw Interstellar last night and I’m still trying to process most of it. I have a lot of thoughts about this movie. I’m not convinced that I have everything down for sure, but I’ll try to cover as much as I can while remaining spoiler-free.
This sci-fi drama takes place in a future where Earth is deteriorating. Food is scarce and humanity as we know it appears to be going out with a whimper. As a last ditch effort, several of the few remaining NASA scientists embark on a mind-bending journey through space in hopes of using interstellar travel to find a new home for humanity.
It’s easily Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious film to date, tackling many different sci-fi themes all while keeping things in a mostly emotional focus. This is likely going to be a polarizing movie, alienating some and enthralling others. This much, however, is undeniable: Interstellar is one of the most unique movies this year, and it’s unlikely we’ll see another movie like it anytime soon.
Is that a good thing though? Well. You know. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and all that.
What I liked
The visuals in this movie are nothing short of breathtaking. Christopher Nolan is known for avoiding CGI at all costs, preferring to construct set pieces and illusionary effects to make his films look as real as possible. This can’t always be done with an outer space backdrop, but the intention of making the environment look real is still there. The CGI, even though it is CGI, looks incredible. If you’re thinking about seeing this movie on a large-screen format, then do it.
Interstellar also boasts an impressive story. The movie establishes it’s tone and overarching themes early on, but these themes stay relevant throughout the story, feeling completely fulfilled by the last shot. The film paints a picture of a doomed Earth in such a terrifyingly realistic way, and the beats (actions) that take place there match the setting perfectly. The same remains true when our heroes are shot into space, matching up expansive and tense scenery with interesting exposition (more on that later). As it usually goes with Nolan movies, the biggest, loudest, and most resonating beats await the viewer at the end of this movie. I can’t say much more about the story, though. I’m afraid of giving away plot details.
Personally, I also liked some of the weirder themes this movie took on. Like I said, it’s really difficult for me to explain that because I’m super wary of spoiling some things, but let me just say this. This is a serious sci-fi movie that exhausts almost every outlet of the genre. Interstellar is bold and weird. For me, that was fantastic. If you like Doctor Who and/or similar stories, you’re probably going to enjoy this movie to some degree.
At its core, Interstellar is an emotional sci-fi adventure that encapsulates the human journey. It only makes sense that the acting in this movie is phenomenal. Of course, Matthew McConaughey continues to prove his salt as a respected actor and Anne Hathaway delivers another impressive performance. However, this can sometimes go unnoticed due to how much soul each and every actor throws into his or her role.
Because of this, you feel everything that the characters feel. It creates a near-perfect sense of immersion that many people, such as myself, crave in movies. But…
What I didn’t like
Interstellar’s dialogue often disrupted this sense of immersion.
The science of the movie is largely based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who also serves as one of Interstellar’s executive producers. That’s a really cool idea on paper, but it also means a lot of the movie’s dialogue is drenched in scientific space-jargon. Even as a Doctor Who fan who’s accustomed to that sort of thing, there were a lot of times in this movie when I felt a little left behind. The jargon is almost always followed by action that illustrates what it was trying to say, but until that point, we’re left in the dark.
It didn’t kill the experience completely and I was still able to get the general concept of the movie. But this kind of of storytelling will put off a lot of people, especially in a movie this long.
That’s another thing. This movie, clocking in at approximately 2 hours and 49 minutes, is unnecessarily long. I know that sounds like a really subjective statement, and it is. But for me, there were just some scenes that I didn’t think needed to be there. Others simply went on for too long. I’m sure someone will like this because it gives more time for the tension to build, but it was just too much for me. I don’t think this movie needed to be almost three hours long.
Interstellar, while unwieldy and confusing at times, is a magnificent beast of a film that reminded me why I love movies so much. Would I recommend this movie? Yes. Would I recommend this movie to everyone? No. So who should go see this movie?
If you’re a cinema geek, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. If you like thought-provoking movies that can be artistically analyzed from like six different angles, then Interstellar is for you.
HOWEVER. People without patience should not view this movie. Interstellar has a dramatic point and a compelling ending, but it will take you a while to get there, so buckle in. If you’re still confused as to what the heck happened in Inception, don’t expect to understand any of Interstellar.
What do you make of Interstellar?