Directed by: Christopher Nolan Written by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema Music by: Hans Zimmer
Premise: Earth has been devastated by a blight that is slowly destroying different types of crops. It's turned much of the world into a dust bowl. With his dreams of space flight reduced to the high tech farming of corn, Cooper gets an unexpected opportunity when chasing down a weird anomaly in his daughter's bedroom. The coordinates from the anomaly lead him to a secret base, one where NASA is being pursuing two different plans to try to save the human race from extinction. And an old colleague has need of Cooper's unusual skill set, but it will mean leaving his family and no guarantee that he will ever see them again in his lifetime. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Matthew McConaughey knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of Cooper, an ex astronaut turned farmer. His deep emotions when watching the videos from his kids are heartwrenching. Mackenzie Foy as young Murph makes the audience connect with her and Cooper, captivating our hearts for the ride ahead. Jessica Chastain as an older Murph ties it all together. Anne Hathaway did a great job as Brand and an even better ying and yang to Brand's father, played by Michael Caine. John Lithgow was endearing and quite amusing as Cooper's father-in-law, Donald.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the effects are quite subtle in nature, with very little flare except in a few spots. But it doesn't make the efforts any less grand. They even use actual real footage of space and weave it in with created content. The look and feel of the spaceships make the film feel like something that could happen tomorrow. The dust storm effects were very well done. And worked excellently with how the dust was used in Murph's room.
The worlds we see are cool in their contrast, even as they end up very much on the same par. The use of the blockish (and quite versatile!) artificial intelligences gave the film a very future feel, even as the AI's themselves grew more human by the moment.
There are several scenes that spin about for realism, but luckily they don't last too long and do give the film a fun and more realistic feel as they largely fit our current modes of space travel.
The wormhole and blackhole were nicely done - some lovely light refractions - but again are done in an understated way. They permeate everything yet aren't blaring. Everything felt very real. And wait until you see the special tunnel towards the end... Nicely done!
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: Science Fiction is about social matters, emotion, and human change as well as science. "Interstellar" definitely fits the definition and even brings the heavy science into play without losing the audience. They bring in things like time dilation, the laws of relativity, and more. The film also explores family, the ties of love, loneliness, keeping or discarding our humanity, and plain human stubbornness - at times one of our best and worst traits.
There's not a lot of information on the Blight aside from quick bits fed to the audience throughout the film. Using interviews from those who lived through the real Dust Bowl was a nice touch and gave a bit of homage to those who experienced those hard times. Gave the whole film a higher level of authenticity.
Most, if not all, of the science was solid and explored a lot of fun bits having to do with quantum physics, gravity, and time. Several big unexpected surprises and lots of hard, emotional moments. If you've ever have gotten tearyeyed at a film, I strongly suggest bringing some tissues.
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Mad driving through cornfields, being battered around in space ships, some hand-to-hand fighting, the stunt department was not left without fun things to do.
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: In this too there was a lot of subtlety, but still made from some grandiose or beautifully spanning fields of view. The chase of the glider through the cornfields and the view bringing us close and also fanned out visually increased the excitement of the sequence.
Great open shots on each of the planets, making the small areas filmed look like huge open spaces that might never end. The views of the black hole as they neared the system proved again and again the epic scope of their mission. At other times the shots would focus on small details, like the clamps opening and closing as they're unable to lock in place, visual portents of what is soon to come.
Amazing job in setting the different moods as well. Hear, hear!
Conclusion: "Interstellar" has strong science elements going hand in hand with the emotions that drive us, Good and subtle effects make everything seem all the more viable. If you ever get teary eyed at movies, bring tissues! You'll need them! The film is 3 hours or so long, so no giant drinks. :)
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Would Pay Full Price To See Again)
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