Director and writer Christopher Nolan continues to reinvent the genre that he takes a look at:
time and mystery (“Memento”), the subconscious (“Inception”), comic books (“The Dark Knight Trilogy”) and now time travel and intergalactic space exploration with “Interstellar.”
Mr. Nolan, known for his vision of grandeur, does not disappoint in taking the audience in an exploration of inter-dimension galaxy and the question of higher beings.
In the not too distant future, Earth is experiencing a blight of issues with the weather resembling the ’30s Dust Storm and the impending food shortage that may leave its inhabitant to become the next species extinct in the evolutionary timeline.
Commanding the crew that is responsible for the exploration of other dimensions through a worm hole is Matthew McConaughey as Riley Cooper. In this futuristic dystopian world, society places a greater emphasis on being a farmer than an enginner.
A former space pilot, he’s relegated in the beginning to play the widower father to his children: Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and Tom (Timothée Chalamet), while looking after the farm with his father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow). Mr. Lithgow’s character is to bridge the gap between the different generations under one household to reminisce about the yester years before their bleak present.
Mr. McConaughey’s relationship with his children is the central theme during the first act of the film. His relationship with breakout actress, Ms. Foy, provides the humility in which he must make the hard decision to leave his children in order to protect them and the others on Earth.
He’s recruited by NASA to commandeer the space shuttle by his former professor, Dr. Brand (Michael Caine). Mr. Caine serves as the audience go to interpreter when the scientific logic is incomprehensible as he breaks it down into laymen terms. He also serves as the constant remainder to the crew and the audience to not go gentle into the good night.
Along for the mission is Brand’s daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley). It wouldn’t be a science fiction film without the assistance of artificial intelligence: TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) & CASE (voiced by Josh Stewart).
Even though the robots are programmed to understand emotions and humor, the audience can not help become suspicious of them and wonder whether or not they are here to help the humans or hinder them upon their mission.
The film picks up as they travel through the Solar System to get marvelous shots of the Earth and other nearby planets before they travel through the worm hole. Fans of space will appreciate Mr. Nolan keeping the film grounded in reality by abiding by the rules of space and time travel.
Being away from his family, Cooper, begins to bond with his new space family, as they depend upon each other for survival but also focusing on the mission that is at hand.
While away from his family, his children have grown up with Jessica Chastain portraying the older Murph and Casey Affleck portraying the older Tom. Mr. McConaughey has a pivotal emotional scene in which he can only bond with his family back on Earth through pre-recorded messages.
The second act of the film features the exploration of the planet in which words can not describe the different realms that they must explore to see if it possible for humans to inhabit.
Each exploration leads to discovery and losses that the crew partakes that gets them closer to solving Earth’s dilemma. Conflict arises in close quarters as decisions and risks must be made for the crew to determine as they monitor their supplies and fuel level to ensure their return back home.
The third act of the film is where viewers will be talking about after the film ends in which the film ties it all together. The script by Mr. Nolan and his brother, Jonathan, is clever with its dialogue and their interpretation of space and time travel. The film along with its visual is also aided by its music composed by Hans Zimmer.
What Zimmer did for brass in “Inception,” and strings in “The Dark Knight,” he has effectively used pipe organ music to convey the drama and tension of the unknown in space.
Being humanities’ last hope for survival carries upon itself a burden upon those onboard as they realize that they are facing the essence of time not only in space but the few precious moments back on Earth and its survival.
The film is featured exclusively at the Des Moines Science Center of Iowa in its IMAX format.
Grade: 5 stars out of 5 stars.
Add “Interstellar” to the pantheon of great science fiction films dealing with space exploration and time travel that will have audience talking about after the credits.
Rating: PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
Timing: 2 Hours, 49 Minutes
Genre: Science, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy.
- Director & Writer: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan
- Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck,
David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow
with Michael Caine.
- Voices: Bill Irwin (TARS) & Josh Stewart (CASE)