Writer: Casey LeeWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"2001: A Space Odyssey", "Prometheus", "Voices of a Distant Star" The Good, the Bad and the Stellar:
The Earth is dying. A blight ravages every edible crop known to man except for corn. An often occurrence of sandstorms chokes the fields, leaving farmers only able to hope that they would have enough food to survive until the next sowing. It is evident that agriculture is the only answer left but it is wrong for mankind's survival, in a planet that is slowly producing more nitrogen than oxygen. Coop (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot and engineer, is a man born out of his time; when the sciences and its innovations are not just forgotten but overwritten in order to spread a new propaganda that agriculture is the greatest solution to mankind; the attempt to reach the stars is an accepted failure. While in his frustration that his young and bright daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), would not be accepted for adopting the scientific method into understanding the poltergeist in her room (and too young to understand Einstein's theory of relativity), a cryptic message is sent from what would be called random lines of sand, if not deciphered as Morse code.
Following the signs with a lack of any scientific conviction except human nature's to follow numbers, Coop stumbles onto the last bastion of science and a mission that is about to embark on one last chance to spread humanity in a new world, while the old one is only waiting for its impending doom.
One might think that "Interstellar" is the kind of movie to let you impose on your friends how amazingly smart you are for understanding the theories and concepts of time and space (based on your glances on Wikipedia). Even with the probable backing of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, Nolan doesn't get into the science and numbers, so that no debate would take you away for a moment of the immersion that is the human drama and sacrifices that come with space-time travel.
The science, if anyone tries to argue (and watch the debate rage on the gentle Internet on release day), is flippant. Easily discarded as the dramatic backdrop as how McConaughey's Coop illustrates how he could outsmart the forces of time dilation with just two lines and a circle on a flip board. Such shallow justification on how it could work would probably be the lifetime thesis for a real scientist to prove, but that's explanation enough on why the crew should do it. And there's a lot of doing without much thinking in "Interstellar", even when given the amount of runtime the movie. There is always something to do without a pause. There's no need to understand the how, there is only the why, as John Litgow's grandfather Donald would say.
It does feel a little weird for a Nolan movie to aim for a 'happy' ending ("Dark Knight Rises" not withstanding), and the lack of ambiguity to its trajectory can be somewhat unsettling. Not that it is predictable during the moments when it would appear so, because the story is kept running like Newton's second Law of Motion by the forces of game-changing plot twists with capitals. However, as the dramatic focus shifts onto the complications that comes with time-space travel, it makes the actors the center of gravity to keep audiences sufficiently engaged to their character's next move, highlighting that directing actors is not quite the strongest suit of Nolan's; the tiny imperfections that could blow up a pressurised chamber that is the an experience, if done in arrogance.
While Matthew McConaughhey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Matt Damon have their own gripping moments on their own, the others (a hallow Jessica Chastain among them) just barely exerts more force of personality than the square-shaped robots, relying on the eject button that the audience would understand their emotions from the script, rather than from their projections of what is at stake for them. Even at its best of moments, the performance is still an insignificant dot in the grand scheme of things, leaving too few of those moments that stand out as being memorable once the experience and emotions have passed or when the next set piece hits.
Which brings to the spectacle, as it has always been, is where "Interstellar" soars. While not the masterful successor to last year's "Gravity" that would taken as a comparison if there were any real similarities, but the visualisation does take plenty from the old and sprinkles a little of the new. A word of caution, however, it is in the opinion of this review that the amazement would only come from the screen size of the IMAX, and not the resolution and clarity of the visuals; whether we can appreciate the grain and dullness of film or not.
The flipside to that, however, is the sound mixing and score which makes "Interstellar" one that needs to be listened to. Haters of Hans Zimmer's bawling horn from "Inception" would be glad to know that he has opt for a score of pipe organs and synthesizers. The achievement is to Zimmer for making a sound that eerily resembles Philip Glass's work in the "Qatsi" series; fitting to belittle the fate of one man in the face of an entire species, albeit sometimes miscued. Regardless, seek "Interstellar" in the highest audio quality that can make you quake in your seat with each rocket boost.
Walking out of the IMAX hall after a screening of "Interstellar", it would be a natural act if one were to reach into their pockets, dig out their smartphones and check the time. Not just the time, but also the date and year, to make sure that they are still on the same time-space plane that they left before entering into the dark. That was the effect after watching "Interstellar"; absorbing, numbing, and displacing. Like being spit out from a Black Hole in the dimension of time, you wonder where you were for the last 169 minutes of your life. That is what escapist entertainment feels like, and "Interstellar" successfully saves humanity if that was its mission. Mankind lives to see another Nolan movie. Just that.Look Out For:
The cue light from TARS. Trivia:
For much of the interior shots of the spaceships, "Interstellar" was shot with a modified IMAX camera to be hand-held by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who replaces long-time collaborator Wall Pfister when the latter was unavailable for directing "Transcendence". "Interstellar" is likely to have the most 15/70mm IMAX footage for a feature film and it could also be the last to be projected in that film format. Best Watched With:
Anyone who doesn't study astro-physics (formally or otherwise). Unless you want a science debate. Cinema Online, 04 November 2014