Interstellar: A Movie Review

While the beginning was a tad slow, Interstellar is a movie completely worth your time, says the Stinger reviewer.
While the beginning was a tad slow, Interstellar is a movie completely worth your time, says the Stinger reviewer.

One word to describe Interstellar: mesmerizing.

The film takes place in the near future, where a sort of ‘second dust bowl’ is taking place, and blights are killing crops everywhere. As a result, food is extremely scarce for everyone on the planet, making farming the most important job on Earth. Cooper, a farmer who used to be a pilot for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), is commissioned to be part of a mission to space as part of a desperate attempt to save humanity.

Interstellar is directed, produced, and co-written by acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, who was also the director of the excellent films The Dark Knight (2008) and Inception (2010).

The film obviously takes some influence from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey,  a seminal film acclaimed by many critics. However, having seen that film, I frankly do not see what all the fuss is about. I thought that A Space Odyssey was slow and boring. In this case, Nolan was able to one-up Kubrick. Never in Interstellar‘s 169 minute run time was I bored for even a moment.

One could describe Interstellar‘s relationship to 2001: A Space Odyssey with Sir Issac Newton’s famous quote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” And yes, that is true in some respects. Kubrick may have provided the initial building blocks to this type of film, but Nolan expanded those ideas and realized them to their full potential.

The characters are the most essential part of any film. How much one cares about a film’s characters is directly correlated with his or her enjoyment of the film. Therefore, much of a film’s weight rests with its characters, and by association, the actors that portray them. Matthew McConaughey is likable in the lead role of the film and carries much of the emotional weight as well. Throughout the film, one grows to care not only about his character, but also about what happens to him and his family. All the other actors and actresses in the supporting roles give brilliant performances as well.

The only actor, or rather actress, that I had a problem with in the film was Anne Hathaway, the female lead. It is not that her performance is particularly bad in the film; I just feel that they needed more of a ‘Sigourney Weaver from Alien‘ type character in the role. Another character that I must mention is the robot, Tars. When I first saw the robot, I hated the design outright. However, when I saw him in action I had to change my opinion. Tars is certainly more likable (if less iconic) than 2001‘s HAL 9000, and I became just as attached to the robot as any human character.

Now, lets talk about the visual effects. Interstellar accurately portrayed the vast scope, scale, and beauty of space, more so than any other film I’ve seen. The CGI flowed seamlessly throughout the film, making me feel as if I truly were there in space. In that regard, the film blows similar films like Gravity (2013) out of the water, giving us majestic views of stars, planets, and black holes.

I am no theoretical physicist, but I was able to follow the science of the film fairly well. Even when I could not, I didn’t mind because it really wasn’t essential to understand everything in the film.

The stunning visuals spoke for themselves, but the ending of the film has garnered mixed reactions from audience members and critics alike, with some calling it brilliant, and others scratching their heads in confusion. My opinion? I was OK with it. Initially, I wasn’t too keen on the ending; however, as I thought about it more, I realized how touching it was, and how open it left the story.

On a side note, I hope that they never make a sequel to Interstellar. As you can probably tell, it isn’t because I didn’t like the film, but just the opposite. I would hate to have such an enjoyable, well-done film ruined by a sub-par sequel, as is the case much of the time nowadays.

Interstellar is a truly great movie, much deserving of a place among the stars.