Sunday, November 9, 2014

Interstellar – review

If you ever wondered what 2001: A Space Odyssey might have been like if someone else directed it, this would be the result of that labor. Interstellar has amazing visuals, its soundtrack is nothing short of epic, and the acting is incredible with a cast of really amazing actors. The main problems are: the story is way too long; the dialogue is often maudlin; the dry, constant chatter about relativity makes this movie feel like a science lesson.

In the near future, Earth’s crops are dying from dust storms. Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, is an ex-NASA pilot and engineer turned farmer who is living with his family. His daughter Murphy discovers that her room seems to have a ghost trying to communicate with her. When he looks into it, he discovers that one of the messages is a coordinate for a NASA base. When he visits the base, they recruit him for a mission to go through a wormhole discovered around Saturn. Their goal is to either find a new home for humanity, or to create a new colony using fertilized embryos.

The visuals for this film are often breath taking. Between the colossal dust storms in the farmlands that are like those of the Dust Bowl in the Great Depression, and the massive space landscapes, it is a wonderful vision. The future is portrayed as bleak and agrarian. The musical score matches the epic nature of all that you see. It comes off very grandiose.

The acting is fantastic. Jessica Chastain playing the adult Murphy might be Oscar worthy. Matthew McConaughey also does an admiral job as a pilot risking all for his family. Unfortunately, the relationship between McConaughey’s character and his son was cut too short.  It was as if the writer wanted the Cooper character to only have a real bond with only one of his children.

The movie is a very long sit, clocking in at close to three hours.  In that time you will hear a lot about relativity, the science of love, and the occasional bad joke from a robot that looks like a it’s made from Tetris pieces. When it begins to drift into the realm of time travel, it sends the viewer into an entirely different mind drain because there are paradoxes not addressed.

Is this a terrible movie? No. It isn’t a good movie though. A good movie is entertaining throughout and this was a slog at times. Normally, I would recommend it as a rental.  I do think it will lose a lot of the epic scale in a home viewing, much like the movie Gravity. That being said, if you are a fan of science fiction, or just curious about this movie- see it as a matinee. You’re less likely to be disappointed that way.

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