Interstellar (2014) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

When I was growing up, reading science fiction from such authors as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke meant discovering new worlds of imagination and wonder. Sadly, what passes for science fiction today is mostly a reflection of a world imprisoned by fear. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, a visually thrilling film of almost three hours in length, does its best to recapture the wonder of space exploration as envisioned by its earliest dreamers, but even though it falls short, it has the courage to see the possibility of a world beyond our three-dimensional model, a world where love transcends time and space.

Co-written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan, Interstellar opens sometime in the future with the Earth in the midst of an environmental disaster and the survival of humanity threatened. Dust storms have destroyed the wheat harvests leaving only corn to save the planet from starvation. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”), a single father and former NASA pilot, now works as a farmer to support his teenage son Tom (Timotheé Chalamet, “Men, Women & Children”) and daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy, “The Conjuring”). “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars,” he tells his father-in-law (John Lithgow, “The Campaign”). “Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

Murph tells her dad, however, that she has seen a ghost in her room that hangs around her bookcase, disturbing objects. When this poltergeist sends a coded message with directions to an underground NASA base, Coop again begins to look up at the sky. He soon discovers that one of his old teachers, Professor Brand (Michael Caine, “The Dark Knight Rises”) directs the NASA facility and has a startling story to tell him. Years earlier, five-dimensional beings created a wormhole near the planet Saturn to allow mankind to be transported to a galaxy far, far away when it became necessary.

Initial probes identified three potential planets that might be capable of sustaining life and Brand wants Coop to pilot a large ring-shaped ship called The Endurance to rescue a stranded astronaut, find the most suitable planet for colonization, and complete the mission. One of the problems identified by Professor Brand, however, is that there is a nearby black hole that will skew time so that one hour spent on the planet’s surface is the equivalent of seven years on Earth.

To undertake the mission, Cooper must leave his son and daughter behind with uncertainty as to whether he will ever come back or what age his children will be when he returns. Though the parting is swift, it is not without tears. Leaving his family behind, Coop is accompanied by Professor Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”), two astronauts (David Gyasi and Wes Bentley), and the android TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin). Stunning state-of-the art visual technology and the cinematography of Hoyte Van Hoytema bring outer space closer than ever.

We are stunned when the crew encounters mile-high tidal waves rolling over the ship, when we witness the docking with another ship that has spun out of control, visit a planet filled only with water, and another where the surface is blocked by frozen clouds in the atmosphere. There are also emotional high points. For example, when the abandoned astronaut, Dr. Mann (in a surprise appearance by a major star) is overjoyed at being rescued but soon loses his grip on reality. In another moving sequence, Cooper views communications from home that span a period of twenty years (Jessica Chastain plays his grown-up daughter) and realizes that his children have given up the idea of ever seeing him again.

Interstellar maintains its tension throughout but, unfortunately, is hampered by poor sound mixing, banal dialogue, and a convoluted story that gives your brain a good working over but is inordinately filled with scientific jargon that eventually becomes off-putting. McConaughey does a creditable job in the lead role, however, but somehow remains aloof and never quite draws us into his character. Both Hathaway and Chastain do the best with the roles they are given, but their characters are seriously undeveloped.

Regardless of its flaws, Interstellar is a welcome change from standard Hollywood fare and is definitely worth seeing. Though you may have other interpretations of its meaning, to me the film is about humanity turning away from what is crumbling before our eyes and, rather than endlessly reciting Dylan Thomas’ poem about “going gentle into that good night,” letting go of our rage and welcoming the ineffable beauty of the light.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
4 Star Rating: Good


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'Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)' have 18 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 2:29 am OKeeps

    Contrary to what’s being said Interstellar is not Nolan’s best work.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 2:46 am tropicslumberparty

    To think humanity survival was because of one mans psychosis is a definite mind-trip.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 6:03 am Carl Sr.

    What an exhausting movie. So much abstraction to comprehend it practically begs to be seen multiple times.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 9, 2014 @ 3:24 pm Starth

      Yep, and it absolutely needs to be experienced in a theater too.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 8:31 am Tamora

    Beautiful movie.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 9:45 am Lowell

    “Go big or go home” – Christopher Nolan

    Not sure if he can top this but I can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for us next…

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 10, 2014 @ 12:34 am R3d M3rcury

      The production is definitely big no doubt about it. The story however, pretty much follows the same recycled path we’ve walked before and is hampered with underdeveloped characters.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 9:58 am MattRiggins

    This makes Gravity look like childs play. The sequence when McConaughey was trying to dock the ship to the spinning station was so much more intense than anything Bullock went through.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 9, 2014 @ 3:27 pm Starth

      The blackhole sequence was even more exhilarating.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 12:00 pm dickie

    Matt Damon you selfish son of a bitch.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 10, 2014 @ 5:57 pm Deb

      That WAS such the surprise.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 6:31 pm Roman

    Care to explain the ending to me?

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 9, 2014 @ 6:53 pm ZappaEnthusiast

    I’m usually one to faun over the Hans Zimmer Chris Nolan collaboration but I thought the deafening bass overpowered a lot of the dialogue. Loved the movie otherwise.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 12, 2014 @ 2:39 am Tom Watson

    This review is pure fucking garbage. Hazy generalizations and plot summary. Just give up and put your time into something else.

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 12, 2014 @ 11:08 pm General Disdain

      Like comment trolling, slick? Now go back to your hole lest we sic the billy goats on you . . .

    • The Critical Movie Critics

      November 19, 2014 @ 7:23 pm Howard Schumann

      Sorry you didn’t like my review, Tom. Now if you could offer something constructive instead of childish insults, your comment might be of some use.

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 17, 2015 @ 9:15 pm Sick Boy

    I liked “Interstellar” immensely but I cannot subscribe to its main premise – that it’s the humans who could or should carry life over to other worlds once this one is spent. Evolutionary speaking – humans cannot exist outside a pretty narrow margins set within the current biosphere, not without immense technological backup which is neither practical nor feasible.
    If anything is to be sent up there – it’s the viruses and the bacteria, lifeforms that have a much, much better shot at fast adapting to any new conditions they meet. And they’re already traveling with Voyagers I and II. If it’s not enough for some because it will not be your kids, just remember that we have more in common with viruses than any organic entity has with the inorganic ones.

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