You can count me as one of the bigger fans of Christopher Nolan — the titles in his filmography rank amongst some of my favorites (Batman Begins, The Prestige, Inception). With Interstellar hitting theaters last weekend, you can bet I was enthused to see a press screening last week on the huge IMAX screen (Lie-MAX) at Southdale (though it was not presented on the TRUE 70 mm film stock that will leave your jaw on the floor).
The film is set on a planet Earth that is decaying to the point where humanity can no longer inhabit the once thriving ecosystem — the atmosphere is giving out, crops are dying, and dust storms ravage the surface. With the world’s population in swift decline, the remaining underground leaders form a plan to settle humanity on new planet with similar characteristics to Earth located millions of miles away — through interstellar space travel, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and two more astronauts pilot a vessel seeking to land on a habitable planet far away to continue the human race.
The film itself has a lineup of stars that rival the red carpet come award season — McConaughey, Hathaway and Jessica Chastain are all recent Academy Award winners, and they are joined by Nolan favorite Michael Caine (also an Academy Award winner), Casey Affleck, Wes Bently, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, and my personal favorite, the wildly talented Chastain. This top notch cast collectively turns in a stellar (pun intended) showing, elevating the film’s many emotional chords.
One aspect that stands out from this film compared to Nolan’s past works is the emotional arcs within — he spends more time addressing some of the finer nuances of family dynamics, broken relationships, and the loss of loved ones. This component of the narrative is really what helps solidify the characters which adds stronger and much more understandable layers to the duration.
Along the lines of the “more understandable layers,” this film being set in the dense mechanics of space, a lot of the content within is complex science and quantum mechanics revolving around the theories of space and black holes. While this may seem a bit daunting for the casual viewer, Interstellar is presented in a decipherable manner for all levels of cosmic understanding. I felt a little dizzy at times with all the facts and numbers being thrown around about gravity and relativity, but I was never completely lost. Repeat viewings will really help this film make a little more sense once your feet are grounded in the narrative.
The visual effects themselves are nothing short of stunning. Interstellar takes the viewer to far away galaxies in ways that have rarely been done before, at least not in this beautiful of a backdrop. Nolan and his team did their homework to ground the story in actual space theory and this is translated to the screen beautifully.
Overall, Interstellar is the “out of this world” space flick that all fans and audiences were hoping for once Nolan released details about his upcoming blockbuster. Christopher Nolan continues to solidify his track record as one of Hollywood’s best and most bankable filmmakers. While Interstellar doesn’t rank as high on my list as some of his other titles, it is well worth seeing on the biggest screen you can find (my recommendation is to see it at the MN Zoo).
Images via: Warner Bros. Entertainment