INTERSTELLAR Needs a Hug – Movie Review
In the world of Interstellar, armies no longer exist. The New York Yankees have been reduced to play baseball in little league parks. Giant dust storms swallow up towns. And, oh yeah. Because of the rampant consumerism happening at present, the world has run out of resources and is dying a slow death
Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former pilot recruited by NASA to lead an expedition through a worm hole that appeared near Saturn almost 50 years ago. Something created it for them to travel through, and on the other side is believed to be a new planet for humanity to inhabit. He accepts the mission, leaving his two children behind. Joining him for the ride are Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and her team of scientists, which includes Wes Bentley.
It’s impossible to talk about Interstellar without bringing up Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Director Christopher Nolan, in his first film since completing the Dark Knight trilogy, makes it blatantly clear he’s aiming for a modern day version of Kubrick’s sci-fi classic, with trippy visuals, loud music, a similar tone, and TARS, a highly developed artificial intelligence system that looks like 2001‘s monolith, but with arms and legs.
For all of the good to be found in Interstellar, the film has eyes that are too big for its stomach. Nolan is trying way too hard to be all the things; a cautionary environmental fable, father-daughter tale, mind-bending sci-fi epic, a story of survival, a historical documentary … the list goes on and on. The film touches on a number of fascinating topics, like the sheer amount of time space travel takes, with the expedition landing on a planet where one hour equals seven Earth years, and also the personal toll that time takes, as Cooper’s daughter grows from a little girl into Academy Award nominated actress Jessica Chastain. Even with a run time of 169 minutes, Nolan doesn’t dig into any number of subplots happening, instead opting for gorgeous visuals until a new idea has popped into his head.
McConaughey deserves all the credit in the world for keeping Interstellar from spinning off its axis. When he’s not being drowned out by Hans Zimmer’s boisterous score or Nolan’s fixation on the technical side of film-making, the actor somehow sneaks some humanity into a movie that can’t be bothered with such things. Interstellar may be about saving the human race, but really doesn’t show a lot of interest in the people on screen, especially when there are thousand-foot waves to look at. For a director as precise and removed as Nolan, Interstellar may be his most impersonal film yet.
Interstellar isn’t a bad film by any stretch. The visuals are gorgeous, especially in IMAX. Nolan is one of the best directors out there, and anything the director makes is worth seeing. It’s just that he’s so concerned with the bigger picture that there isn’t any room for the human touch, making every big emotional plot point feel unearned and hum-drum. The director deserves kudos for taking a risk, especially when a respectable semi-misfire like Interstellar is better than most filmmaker’s best efforts.