Science fiction can be hard to do well, especially on the big screen.
Constructing a new world or, in the case of Interstellar, exploring the vast galaxies beyond our own, is a hefty challenge. Thus I would like to take a moment and applaud the brothers Nolan for their visionary epic of space travel because boys, you just changed the game.
Interstellar opens in an unspecified yet not-so-distant future, where things are not looking good for Earth and its inhabitants. Crops are failing and there are constant dust storms that make the Bodélé Depression seem like child’s play. Also, everyone’s screws seem to have come a bit loose (one example: teachers at the local school deny that the moon landing ever actually happened). Everyone, that is, except our most trusted of actors these days, the groovy Matthew McConaughey, or more specifically Cooper, the astronaut-turned-farmer that he portrays in this film. (Could there ever be a more fitting part for any one actor? I daresay not).
Without getting too far into it, because the movie doesn’t really do so either, Cooper is fortuitously recruited by his former professor Dr. Brand for a mission to space, a last-ditch effort to keep the human race alive and kicking (if you’re thinking “huh, that Dr. Brand role sounds like it was written specifically for Michael Caine”, you’d probably be right). Thus Cooper embarks on a visually delicious journey through space, leaving behind his two young children Murph and Tom in the care of their aging grandfather (played by JOHN FREAKING LITHGOW). Huge plot point: Murph is not happy about any of this space biz.
I don’t want to go into the galactic action too much, because it is honestly amazing and peppered with more than a few plot twists that I would be remiss to spoil. Instead, I’d like to take a minute and focus on the emotional undercurrents of this film. Holy heck, this film has a surprising amount of cheese for the notoriously dairy-free Christopher Nolan.
He has always been a director who seems to steer clear of the mush and instead focus on the technicalities of film-making. Not so with Interstellar, whose script had more than one line that made me frown uncontrollably from mushiness. Keep in mind I don’t have a high tolerance for that stuff, so for some it may be exactly what his movies have always been missing. Either way, the father-daughter relationship in this movie is huge and complicated, like many father-daughter relationships can be in real life. Not only does Nolan imply some pretty interesting sentiments on the effects that human behavior has had on our planet, he also addresses the repercussions of our careless actions on a more intimate scale. Though it seems unlikely that Earth will be reduced to a uninhabitable dustbowl in the near future, it is still important to consider the responsibility humans will have to take for what we’ve done to our environment.
With the constant increases in movie ticket pricing and the glorious-yet-illegal advent of internet piracy, actually going to the theater seems to be a thing of the past. Every now and then, however, a movie comes along that requires, nay demands, at least a 70 ft by 50 ft IMAX screen. Ladies and gentlemen, Interstellar is that film. Watching an exploration in space of this magnitude, complete with wormholes and planetary ring skating, on any old home theater system would be downright criminal. Perhaps the most affecting part of the entire experience, and trust me it is definitely an experience, is the score. Composed by talent of talents Hans Zimmer, the organ-heavy soundtrack is remarkably beautiful and compliments the astounding visuals perfectly.
It’s a match made in celestial heaven.
Christopher Nolan has proven time and time again that he’s got the shine for movie-making. Interstellar is yet another glorious testament to his skill, and I’d go so far as to say it’s the best of them all. If you don’t utilize your opportunity to watch this film in theaters, then you should probably be chugging some V8 because you are a fool. Seriously, watch it.