Interstellar is a big ol’ science-fiction masterpiece that feels much more grand and epic than the usual, plastic fantasy fodder. In a semi-dystopian near future where the earth is dying and crop farming became the primary human concern, Cooper, a NASA test pilot-turned-farmer stumbles on some inexplicable supernatural events while trying to care for his family.
Matthew McConaughey brilliantly portrays Cooper, who’s caught between his passions for engineering, space travel, the fate of humanity, and his children. McConaughey is obviously an accomplished and experienced actor, and in this case his work is stellar. Together with Anne Hathaway, some incredible child actors, and a collection of more famous faces, the cast all portray their parts to a tee, and that is one aspect that makes this film go far beyond other sci-fi films.
Speaking of similar films, 2001: A Space Odyssey definitely comes to mind. It’s undeniable that 2001 had a significant influence on Interstellar, but it’s nothing like a remake or ripoff. Fans of Contact and Close Encounters of the Third Kind will also spot some similarities. Though it uses familiar images, concepts, and story elements to these previous films, Interstellar clearly stands alone as a unique story, and narrative expectations and presuppositions doesn’t hinder the storytelling.
Director Christopher Nolan (who previously made the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception) returns here with what must be his most ambitious project yet. As a firm believer of real practical effects instead of computer generated graphics, and shooting on film (sometimes IMAX) instead of digital cinematography, Nolan achieved breathtaking resultant images, best viewed on the amazing IMAX format. The behind-the-scenes stories about this film’s production (especially the space travel and rocket launch sequences) must be fascinating.
The storytelling is a bit weird and choppy at times, but not nearly as strange as in Inception. (For example, why would details of an astronaut’s mission only be explained to him once they’re safely in outer space? This makes sense for script/movie structure purposes, but falls flat in terms of narrative realism.) If you go along for the ride without asking too many questions (as any good filmgoer ideally should), this shouldn’t bother you too much, but you may start asking difficult questions on your drive home from the cinema.
Interstellar is grand and huge, and must have cost a fortune to make, but it’s not Nolan’s masterpiece. In my opinion, it doesn’t quite match the breathtaking exhilaration of The Dark Knight or the Modern Noir Mystery of Memento, but Nolan gets to tell a Nolan-type story in a way that only he could. While someone like Steven Spielberg (who was once attached to this project) could have directed this script, the resultant film would’ve been something completely different. That’s what makes Nolan (and Spielberg, I guess) worthy of the “auteur” title.
Have you seen Interstellar yet? Did you find it as groundbreaking as the trailers made it out to be? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! If you’ve enjoyed my review, feel free to share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Watch t his space for regular updates in the Movies category on Running Wolf’s Rant.