In some 60 odd years, the Earth has become a dry and dusty place. Some kind of biological crop killer has killed almost every product, and only corn remains.
On a small farm in a small town, we find Cooper, a former NASA pilot and an incredibly smart man who’s career has been reduced to farming (just like everyone else’s). They call themselves the caretaker generation as the world tries to sit tight, try to make as much food as possible, and hope the rain comes back next year.
But NASA knows it won’t.
When Cooper and his aspiring-scientist daughter Murph stumble upon a set of coordinates that lead them to a secret NASA base, Cooper’s old teacher Professor Brand, Brand’s daughter, and a collection of other leading scientists have a plan; a last ditch effort to try and save the human race. Just a few year’s distance away from Earth, near Saturn, a wormhole appeared 14 years ago; 10 years ago, NASA sent 12 astronauts through it to a distant galaxy with the hope that they would find a planet suitable for human life. There were a few promising finds, and now Cooper and his new crew must bring the supplies necessary to create human life on one of these planets, and hopefully, help find a way to bring those on Earth to their new home planet.
Interstellar is a true sci-fi film. One of the truest I’ve seen in a long, long time. There are tons of films that get the “sci-fi” genre tag: The Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games, and such. Sure, they belong under such a label, but they aren’t the types of films and stories that jump into mind when you hear the word “sci-fi”. War of the Worlds, 2o01: A Space Odyssey, Metropolis; these are the films and stories that made me fall in love with the genre, and not only because they involve crazy futuristic fantasies, but because to some degree, they ring true. They make you believe in their author’s vision of the future. They are bold with a scope beyond just being a regular film. They pose questions about our world and our lives. That’s what Interstellar is.
As a side note, I find it interesting the timing of two of the most intriguing films about space: Gravity and Interstellar. Now, Gravity was great in it’s own right, but after seeing Interstellar, Gravity seems like a film for children. That’s how huge the scope this film has. Gravity doesn’t even come close.
The plot and the science within the film may confuse some viewers. There is a heavy focus on the quantum physics and details of traveling through worm holes, the fourth and fifth dimensions, and other vast scientific topics that the human race doesn’t actually have answers for. Despite that fact, Interstellar makes sense within itself. It provides a reasonable answer to some of the biggest questions of the universe. And Christopher Nolan didn’t just take a stab in the dark. Take a look at this quote from an article from The Guardian:
“The black hole itself was generated using calculations from theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose work inspired the movie, and fed into software developed by Nolan’s effects team using computing power so vast – each frame of film took around 100 hours of machine time – that Thorne, watching the footage for the first time, had new insights into the way light behaves near the event horizon of a black hole, which he plans to explore in a series of papers for scientific journals.”
I don’t know about you, but that is pretty amazing to me. Are the answers proposed in this film correct in any sense? Maybe not, but they are based on a lot of concrete, accepted knowledge that we currently have.
Of course, a film with such a vast scale with Christopher Nolan behind the camera is going to be an amazing visual experience. Much of this film was shot with IMAX cameras, and was meant to be viewed in as grand a way as possible. There are generations of a black hole and scientific anomalies that no one has ever seen before (see: above quote). The sounds, too, from an IMAX theater create a huge, daunting atmosphere for the story in which the very fate of the human race hangs by a thread. And speaking of sounds, the soundtrack of this film, lead very much by huge, sometimes overbearing pipe organs, which I loved. The sound is naturally grand, and bold, and even a little frightening, and this all blends wonderfully with the visual and thematic content.
When you have a film like Interstellar that tries to connect characters, an adventure story, and some of the most complex scientific ideas, you are going to be able to poke some holes in the writing. It’s something that is pretty common in Nolan’s films, especially when they involve big shifts in plots. This has never bothered me before, as I have thoroughly enjoyed each of Nolan’s films, just as I did this one, and there are much more wonderful things to question when the credits roll at the end of this film.
The acting was good, as McConaughey continues his renaissance, all of the production details were fantastic (the sound mixing during the pivotal, life-or-death scenes was chaotic, loud, and helped created a remarkably anxious feeling in me as a viewer. It was awesome), and while not perfect, the story was classic Nolan and found a way not to drag despite its 170 minute run time.
As if we needed anymore proof, Christopher Nolan has shown an incredible ability to create wonderful, grand films that are immensely captivating and interesting, time and time again.
4/4 – Grand, frightening, wonderful, and inspiring, Interstellar is an awe-inspiring film that asks and answers the universes most advanced questions. I’ll answer two lesser questions: is the plot and story perfect? No. Is this one of my favorite film experiences ever? Without a doubt.