November 10, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar

All right, I am going to warn you right up front that this is not going to be a full review, but considering what my writing schedule will be for the next week, I figured I should get something down before I can't write anything at all. With that said, I am not sure what is about to come from my fingertips, but should be spoiler free. The movie in question, of course, is Interstellar, the latest cinematic excursion courtesy of Christopher Nolan, a filmmaker I have become a big fan of ever since discovering Memento, a movie I am very happy to have seen in a theater. Over the years his movies have grown, gotten bigger, gotten bolder, and while opinions are generally split, they create conversation. Not a bad thing.

I recall Nolan ruffling some feathers prior to the movies release, espousing his love for the 35mm film format and getting the film released a few days early to theaters showing the film in the physical format instead of the now standard digital. The theaters who had put everything into their digital conversion were not happy about the classic format getting this push. Whatever, get over it. I, for one, am glad he exercised his pull in order to get the film release. I can argue in favor of film and digital, but my heard will always be with the physical. To that end, I made the trip down to see it at an IMAX theater showing it in 70mm. I am glad I did, it looked and sounded great. There is something about the film projection that looks different. I loved it.

Now, not only did I love the 70mm projection, I loved the movie. It is big, epic, and involving. It is a movie that tantalizes the mind, engages the emotions, and brings something different to the big screen. It is a heavily science driven movie (employing theoretical astrophysics from scientist Kip Thorne, who also served as adviser and executive producer) that attempts to more or less realistically represent black hole and wormhole science. The thing to remember, while it attempts to be true to the science, it is a fictional movie and it does seem that liberties are taken in an effort to up the drama quotient. I am all right with that. The thing to remember is to not watch this as a science lesson. That is not what it is here for.

Interstellar is an epic tale that involves the heart and the mind, from the science, to the amazing cast that Nolan has assembled, it is not about to be ignored. There is something about the way it presents the science and mixes in the heart, and with the exception of elemental love traveling through space and time, I was completely engaged. I was there, experiencing what they did, anxius to discover what they would find next. Nolan has said he drew inspirations from movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and he isn't lying. Still, while you see flavors of those movies, the overriding aura is that of Nolan.

The movie picks up life on Earth at some point in the future. You could look at it like a post-apocalyptic tale, nothing is said about what happened, just everything is plagued by dust storms and food is scarce. Matthew McConaughey is Cooper, a former test pilot and engineer turned farmer as life has dictated a change in direction. He hooks up with an underground chapter of NASA and is enlisted to pilot a last ditch effort to save humanity by looking for a habitable world to move to.

It sounds simple enough, but toss in travel through a wormhole, multiple possibilities, a black hole, time dilation, and continued efforts back on Earth and you have something that is very big. I got bits of Event Horizon, Sunshine, and Prometheus throughout. It is a movie interested in big picture ideas while retaining a much needed human element. It is a special film. I hesitate to call it perfect, but it still manages to sit with you long after it is done.

The movie begins simply, grows more and more involving, before jumping into something else entirely. It tantalizes the mind and goes right off the cliff into a what the...? moment that works based on what we have already been given. Nolan manages to keep it all together, with a little help from the solid cast. This is a must see on the big screen, in film if you can.

Highly Recommended.

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