Don't Miss

Interstellar – Joint Review


Release Date: 7th November 2014 [USA]
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey - Anne Hathaway - Jessica Chastain - Michael Caine - David Gyasi - Wes Bentley - John Lithgow - Casey Affleck - Topher Grace - Ellen Burstyn - Mackenzie Foy - Matt Damon

Posted November 10, 2014 by

Full Article

Interstellar – Joint Review

Josh Adam’s Perspective:

Admittedly, I fawned over the concept of Interstellar long before actually viewing the film, as I hold a deep passion for the subject of space exploration, and all the dangerous beauty therein.  The thought that master filmmaker Christopher Nolan would create a space exploration epic whipped me into a frenzy.  Trailers confirmed what I already suspected, that Nolan was making a film which spoke to humans’ long-lost love affair with the heavens, and begged us to recall our true nature as explorers.  The truth is, we really have forgotten who we are.  What once was an optimistic and romantic venture has taken huge steps backwards, to the point where the general consensus is to shun space exploration altogether.  Fear, technological limitations, money, and even religious beliefs have kept us, for the most part, Earth-bound.

Nolan, the man with the tactical skill of a blockbuster director and the heart of an independent, will have none of that.  Interstellar is a film, an experience, with remarkably bold ideas, proudly embodying the explorer spirit of the human race in all our ugliness and beauty.  Even more triumphantly, it is a film keenly aware that our collective strengths far outnumber our weaknesses, and always will- even up to the point of extinction.  After all our trials and tribulations, this film knows as I do that we should always dare to experience the awe of our universe beyond our home.  This is a film that dares to stand up and proclaim that our spirit of discovery should be celebrated, never withheld.   I adored Interstellar, but mostly for reasons that extend beyond the actual quality of the film, and instead what it roused in me.  I love that Nolan has attempted to re-ignite our passion for exploration through a movie.  I love that he cared to explain the actual science of interstellar travel without bogging our minds down in technical babble.  I love the tactfulness, the attention to detail, and the understanding of who we really are. Every plot point, every piece of action, every struggle a character endures seems to point to the human condition, then pushes forward with a positive nudge.  I love that the film is still pays respects to the dangers of space and nature, yet doesn’t buy in to the dogma of our time that says space travel isn’t ‘worth’ the cost.  I love how truthful this film is to the human condition; that honesty, paired with the film’s scope and beauty, make it one of the year’s best films, and an experience I will not soon forget.

McConaughey stars as Cooper, a former pilot whose expertise with machines helps him farm amidst a global-wide famine.  Massive dust storms constantly ravage the land, crops die out, and humans can see their extinction in the rear-view mirror.  An “anomaly” leads Cooper and his daughter Murph (Foy) to discover a hidden bunker, where, you guessed it, secret plans are being made by secret scientists to help take care of the Earth’s problem.  Their solution?  Find another suitable location for humans.  We know nothing of that sort exists in our solar system; in theory, we should be out of luck.  However, these scientists have found a ‘wormhole’ (or  an Einstein-Rosen bridge for you science nuts) located outside of Saturn’s orbit.  That ‘hole’ allows for the literal possibility of travelling to a galaxy far, far away.  In perhaps the film’s weakest moment, the scientists choose the one man (Cooper) who found their secret location (but weren’t looking for him before) and ask him to pilot their craft.  After all, he has all of the skills, knows the man leading the project (Caine), and mostly, the plot requires it.

Nolan crafts characters here with real depth though, considering their situations and all of the grand things going on about them.  Case in point- Cooper is a pilot, but also the father of two children.  His situation presents the main problem for anyone considering interstellar travel: time.  To begin with, he must consider the fact that he’s leaving his children (who’ve already lost their mother), possibly for good.  Then, once he makes that decision, there is a possibility that if he returns, enough time will have passed on Earth that his children may be dead.  Every hour he spends in an alternate galaxy, seven years pass on Earth.  Imagine the difficulty that decision brings, compared with the gargantuan task of saving the human race from extinction.  His mission team for project ‘Lazarus’ have their own responsibilities that they wrestle with, and I love that the script acknowledges both the brilliance and vulnerability of the individuals.  After all, they are still human, and have to endure completely new experiences in the harshest of environments.  Even Nolan’s robot creations have personalities.  TARS and CASE (Interstellar’s amazing droids) are both stunning to look at and carry unique personalities.  They represent, quite possibly, the nearest thing to mission-assisting AI in film history- clunky, yet useful, and wholly believable.

The ‘Lazarus’ mission presents the crew with two possibilities- first, that the astronauts might find a habitable world to transport Earth’s survivors to; second, they find a world to begin a new colony, but only if the first plan fails.  By the time Cooper comes upon this project, teams have already been through the wormhole, and have scouted potential homes in advance of the following team.  Nolan gives us ground-breaking, astounding visuals as the crew traverses time and space, from the unbelievable slingshot that is the wormhole to the various alien surfaces and through a giant black hole.  At the same time, there is something familiar about what we see; Nolan knows that the audience expects a degree of reality from him, and something fantastical, a la the psychadelic colors of 2001: A Space Odyssey, wouldn’t seem right in his film.  The alien planets should look like Earth; after all, that is their goal.  That’s party why the film works so well; being grounded in reality and the familiar allows you to accept what happens as plausible.

I must admit that I admired Christopher Nolan long before the arrival of Interstellar.  I now feel a different, and perhaps greater, admiration for his work. His film bothers to challenge us and ask difficult questions.  If we damaged our planet beyond repair, should we not seek out a different home, even if it runs contrary to logic or religious beliefs?  Should we be willing to sacrifice our ‘greatest gift’, life, to achieve that goal?  Should we not examine every possibility, up to and including the illogical, to save our species?  Should we shun our true natures because of difficulty, or fear of difficulty?  This is a film interested in confronting the grand dangers of human and Mother Nature, and respectfully picking ourselves up and pushing forward when She knocks us down.  As the film states, she is “formidable, but not evil”.

The great 2013 film Gravity represents our primal, logical, conservative “right” brain, asking us to take Ms. Nature as a literal force to be reckoned with.  We feel the intense connection Sandra Bullock’s character has for her Mother Earth at the end as she emerges from the water, gripping the ground with intense gratitude.  We feel her character understanding her place in the universe, content with fearing the unknown once more.  On the other hand, Interstellar mirrors our cinematic left brain, examining all creative and scientific avenues.  We feel Cooper almost stretching his hand out into the void of space and fearlessly admiring the beauty of what it may hold, yearning for a greater understanding.  Interstellar challenges us to think bigger, as it should.  If you want to be simply entertained by loud noises, overly maudlin storytelling, and vague explanations not based in real science, this won’t be for you.  You’ll need to don a thinking cap, and that’s refreshing.  It is representative of the very reason we go to the theater, and why we always have.  It entertains, but asks you to participate; it stays with you, asking you to consider that the human race is better than what we’ve done or where we came from, and that we should always move forward.

It is possible that the experience of this film will never again be replicated for me.  I sat front and center to an IMAX screen, my body shaken by the deep bass of space engines and rockets, my mind enveloped by the journey.  Like most cinematic ‘experiences’, however, it may not translate well to the home screen.  At that point the grand ideas of Interstellar should take center stage, and if you’re willing, it can take you places.  At a time when there seems to be so much pessimism towards the notion of space exploration, this film offers the view that we should never give up searching. That sense of discovery, that thirst for knowledge, brings forth the most positive of feelings, and stirs our primal souls.  Nolan is right to frequently quote Dylan Thomas in this film- we should never go gently into that good night.  We should always rage, rage, against the dying of the light.  This is a film that truly knows what that means.

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 20.59.08

Josh Adams
Freelance Contributor


Kevin Sebastian’s Perspective:

“In an age where we no longer marvel at the age of space travel, Interstellar gives us childlike wonder and splendor of reaching to the stars”

There’s something one may start to realize when they begin to watch a Nolan film. There’s the normal universe, then there’s a universe as perceived by Christopher Nolan.

This lengthy space opera plays on a grand scale that often finds itself playing on the lines of science fiction and science fantasy and I can tell you that the transition between both isn’t smooth. However between the plot holes that stem from the wormholes and black holes, Interstellar is a visually stunning film if you overlook the general science behind it. Specifically this film is meant to be watched in IMAX in the way you’d want to see it as intended. One thing’s for certain, Nolan’s movie will be a super massive box office hit. What it spells for their chances at the academy may be a different story altogether.

Strictly speaking, as an individual who was hyped about this film ever since it came out will find themselves loving and hating the narrative altogether like most Nolan diehards. Scripted in part with his brother, Jonathan Nolan, we see a future that’s not far from reality as it stands today. A dystopian dying earth where food supplies are diminishing thanks to the blight, a weather storm that thrives on nitrogen and cuts out oxygen forcing humanity to focus all their resources on survival. Not giving much away into the plot to explain this next bit, minor spoilers but nothing you don’t know already if you’ve watched the trailers.

Which brings in our failed pilot now farmer, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who yearns to do something to find a way that allows his family to survive. Cooper encounters gravitational anomalies that lead him to one of NASA’s last bastions. The team of scientists, led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) reveal a wormhole has conveniently appeared and they’ve received signals from “them”. “They” in this case is never openly explained what they are just that they appear to be helping in good faith. The wormhole entails that it’s a shortcut to another galaxy and potentially habitable worlds within reach. The plan is simple, Cooper is tasked with finding a habitable planet while Brand within this duration, solves the “problem of gravity” to build a space station big enough to take home earth’s survivors and hopefully, Cooper’s family in a test of faith and time for the human race.

We don’t see all these events happen immediately but gradually in a runtime of three hours. You’ll notice and even compare the visuals to films well known and inspired from. It ridiculously plays on the same lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is where the film shines, while there could have been so much to show us in terms of visuals, Interstellar reminds you that it isn’t about the wonders of space rather it’s the journey of the human race across space and time. It even reminds me of certain themes we’ve seen with other sci-fi journey films such as Contact, Event Horizon but it does try to maintain the scientific accuracy, since it has a hard act to follow with the likes of Gravity.

Somewhere towards the clincher in the film is where you begin to see how flawed it can get. While there are the perils of space, Interstellar alludes to the perils of the human condition. There’s a certain je ne sais quoi that comes up short when it comes to dialogue. While there’s no disputing the fact that Nolan may have made a visual masterpiece and left us with just as many questions as we’ve seen with Inception. The plot doesn’t seem to hold itself together till the very end. It’s a shame certainly that this could have been the opus of what Nolan has done do far in his amazing journey as an auteur.

There’s some real science involved from theoretical physicist Kip Thorne who, in developing the theory of a fictional black hole led to an actual scientific discovery. The equations used to direct the visual effects team to develop a black hole resulted in a visual which accurately depicts what a black hole would look like in reality.

While this was the case with Gravity too, Gravity had the minimalist charm and direct emotional quotient driving it. Mix up theoretical physics and the case of how love transcends all dimensions of space and time would leave some of the audience rather heavy hearted and just questioning the movie further.

Let’s not forget that it’s certainly a challenge to deliver years of science on to a layman audience and there is always room for personal interpretation and exaggeration of the facts to fit it more closely towards the film. The cast held it together quite decent in fact. Michael Cain’s rendition of Do not go gentle into that good night seemed to have more haunting meaning as we progressed but its apprehensive progression with several incoherent parts that left little to the imagination.

The score as usual from Nolan favorite Hans Zimmer delivers on all fronts ranging from a childlike wonder to the stars to the eerie madness of humanity on the edge. Interstellar has all the pickings for a good film save that it doesn’t seem to put it all in place. For Christopher Nolan, it does in fact represent that he can still create a blockbuster that’s as big as the black hole, Garganuta. That being said, it’s a film full of ambition but seems to have trouble identifying itself as science drama or a space opera that should have spent more time in letting the audience understand the thrill of emotion that should have been the case on departure OR the science that drives the film to understand the urgency of it all.

Then again, when did you last see a sci-fi movie to learn science and head to the internet to understand what you just watched?

Written By:

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.29.45

Kevin Sebastian
Freelance Contributor


Read Similar Articles?…

[Joint Review] – ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E’
[Joint Review] – ‘Fantastic Four’
[Joint Review] – ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’

Reviews | Joint Reviews | Articles | Debates | Promotions | Interviews |

Join The Debate! Leave us a comment…


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.