We’re definitely not short on science fiction movies. This past summer, we had movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow. This is also definitely not the first time I’ve seen Christopher Nolan try his hand at the genre, as he made Inception a few years ago. I’ll admit I missed last year’s Gravity, but it’s been a while since the last time I’ve seen a movie attempt something with Interstellar’s epic scope.
Interstellar takes place in a not too distant future when a family of farmers, headed by Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), finds itself, along with humanity, faced with the threat of extinction when a global epidemic causes mass failure of crops. Cooper is then roped into NASA’s last-ditch effort to find another home for humanity.
The first act of the movie gives us the requisite exposition with Cooper’s family. We meet his two children Murphy and Tom. The movie makes a drastic turn for the epic when Cooper gets launched into space.
I will already go as far as to say Interstellar probably has the best special effects out of all the movies I’ve seen this year so far. I had absolutely no trouble believing the spaceship Cooper and his crew rode was real.
While most of the movie took place in empty space, it looked absolutely gorgeous. Cooper’s ship finds itself in another galaxy and orbiting a black hole. While the black hole was a constantly ominous presence, there is no denying how terrific it looked on screen. The movie’s visuals with Hans Zimmer’s score (largely composed of organ crescendos) basically gave me the audio-visual treat I’ve been looking for in a movie for a while. If nothing else, Interstellar is set up for some technical Oscar nominations.
Despite the fact that the actors, namely McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, turned in fine performances, I wasn’t as invested in the characters as I would have liked to be. Most of the characters were very little beyond what we saw. Since I have been watching movies for a long time now, I more or less had an idea how the movie’s conflicts would be resolved, so that may have been why I had as hard a time caring if the characters made it through their struggles as I did. There was at least one scientist who died in a very red shirt manner in a monster wave. I didn’t even remember what the guy’s name was. The movie had some of the same problems as last year’s Man of Steel, also written by Nolan.
That said, I will say I was very impressed with McConaughey and Hathaway. Up until recently, I didn’t really take either of them very seriously, though Hathaway was a terrific Catwoman in her previous collaboration with Nolan in The Dark Knight Rises. I remember Chastain killing it in Zero Dark Thirty, and she did not disappoint in Interstellar.
Overall, Interstellar isn’t really going to exercise your brain too much beyond some pseudo-scientific techno-babble; thankfully that was nowhere near as problematic as it was in Lucy. What Interstellar is is an audio-visual experience. While I don’t think Interstellar was Nolan’s best work, it’s definitely worth seeing once. This is one time I think you should absolutely see something on IMAX.