REVIEW: “Interstellar” lives up to galactic expectations

Photo sent by Betsy Abendroth. Allied–THA Regional Marketing
Photo sent by Betsy Abendroth. Allied–THA Regional Marketing

By Cliff Djajapranata, Staff–

Space. Hans Zimmer. Christopher Nolan— the final frontier, the best film composer alive and the director of “Inception” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy.

I had high expectations going into Nolan’s latest film, the ambitious science fiction epic “Interstellar.” I was certainly not disappointed.

This stunning space opera starts off in a soon-to-be desolate Earth. While this backstory is not fully explained, the Dust Bowl 2.0 is getting worse, and the blight is killing nearly all of the crops, threatening the survival of the human race.

Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a single father and a former pilot. When Cooper discovers a project to save humanity, he is selected to pilot a team to another galaxy through a wormhole to discover a new planet for mankind to colonize.

However, Cooper must leave everything behind, including his young daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), who is resentful of him leaving. Because of some science which I cannot begin to comprehend, space travel will change time for Murph and Cooper as one hour in another galaxy can equate to hours back on Earth, ultimately leading to the adult Murph (Jessica Chastain) gaining years as Cooper lives in minutes.

The whole slate of cast, including Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon and Michael Caine, is a talented one. They all give stellar performances that add to film’s urgent and serious tone. Bill Irwin as the robotic assistant TARS also lends some much-needed humor to lighten up the mood of film that dares to reach for the stars.

“Interstellar” is by all means an epic that encompasses a story on a grand scale to save mankind yet also touches deep into the roots of the bond between a father and his child. It is a truly powerful relationship that Nolan highlights amid the backdrop of the silent universe, which Nolan makes a brilliant display of with spectacular visuals

This movie is beautiful. The effects Nolan uses create some of the most gorgeous images I have ever witnessed on the big screen. Outer space, all of the planets, the wormhole and the black hole are visual treats. And Nolan certainly knows how to manipulate the camera.

Dramatic scenes of the Endurance spacecraft traveling against the backdrop of Saturn only emphasize how small humanity is in the bigger picture of the universe. This grandeur is only complimented by a stellar audio package.

I’ve always been a big fan of Zimmer’s work. Magnificent scores in movies such as “Gladiator” or “12 Years a Slave” are among the greats, and “Interstellar” is no different. Zimmer created a score that had me gripping my seat in awe in spectacular scenes while also holding my breath in the film’s more solemn and often despairing sequences.

While Zimmer’s work is phenomenal, Nolan definitely knows how to manipulate the grace of silence. There is a certain peace with silence in outer space that Nolan captures so well. In perhaps the most touching scene, Cooper listens to video messages from Earth to which he cannot respond to as if the silence of space seals his mouth for eternity, and an eternity that is.

Perhaps the only problem I have with “Interstellar” is the plot itself. Don’t get me wrong, the plot is actually genius, but the science that inspires the plot confuses me. I’m sorry, but I am no quantum physicist. And apparently there is a fifth dimension— who knew? A bit more explanation could have served the film’s viewers a lot better.

However, I do appreciate the mindmixer “Interstellar” is. As in Nolan’s masterpiece “Inception” that played with the ideas of dreams, “Interstellar” explores space and time. By the end of the film, I was deeply interested in the theory of relativity as I was recuperating from having my mind blown.

“Interstellar” is definitely a film to watch this holiday season. It may be a big budget blockbuster, but Nolan certainly makes you think unlike the big-bang hits of pop movie culture today. He brings up dominant themes of family, environmentalism and even STEM education. And what would a space movie be if it did not bring up even a small mention of extraterrestrials?

And if “Interstellar” wants to play with my mind pleading me to better understand the science, then I guess I’ll have to come back for round two pretty soon.

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