Like Icarus. So this takes place shortly after an economic breakdown where we run out of food on Earth. It is up to a small team of scientists/explorers to travel through a wormhole in an attempt to save mankind. To say that this was hyped would be a gross understatement; this weekend, it seemed like everybody was talking about this movie. While I am a fan of all of Christopher Nolan’s works, I will say that his fans have the tendency to be a rabid, sometimes feral bunch, and according to IMDb voting, this is currently the 11th best movie of all time.
You are going to be hard-pressed to find a movie that’s more ambitious than this one, as it both literally and figuratively reaches for the stars. In fact, this reaches so high that I don’t think that it obtains the lofty aspirations that it grasps for. Now before you grab your pitchforks and torches, let me first say that I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I don’t dole out five-star ratings to every highly touted movie; while I do almost always award points from trying, the film has to be 100% successful for me to break out that particular brand of gold seal. Please don’t hate me for saying that I don’t think this is perfect.
Before gushing about all the groundbreaking stuff about this, I would like to touch upon my criticisms, with the first one being that you really feel the length of this. This is a three hour movie that feels like a three hour movie. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of the material, mind you; if you were to ask me what needs to be cut or what element could have been trimmed down, I don’t have an answer for you, because every plot line to this is completely integral to the overall story. Because of the runtime, the desire to rewatch this goes completely out the window, which isn’t a deal breaker, but it has to be mentioned. Another place where I don’t think this succeeds is the overall science of this. I don’t know how much of this is or isn’t possible, I don’t have that kind of specialized education, nor have I read Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time. The problem is that they take ideas and theories where men who are far more intelligent than myself can fill books with, and attempt to compress giant principles down to just a few lines exchanged between characters. Because of this, many of the biggest concepts feel glossed over, and you’re essentially being told to just go with it.
Speaking about this movie from a visual standpoint, this succeeds in spades. There are special effects featured here that your brain can only begin to comprehend. People are calling this Nolan’s 2001, and with plenty of practical effects to boast, that comparison is not unfounded. This also features an unassailably cool effect in the TARS, the robot, where about 90% of the comedic relief is drawn from. The acting is all quality, and the McConaissance is still in full effect. Because this is a review, where comparisons happen naturally, I feel the need to put this side by side with last year’s Gravity. This has much more of an emotional charge, as these characters are far more rounded than the every-woman blank slate that Sandra Bullock plays. However, I found myself being much more in the moment with Gravity, as I love being stressed out in my comfortable seat, and being that you can watch Gravity twice in the time that it takes you to watch this, I’m inclined to give it the edge. If space movies are your thing, by all means, go seek this out, and see it big in a theater. I just don’t think this is perfect, but I don’t fault anybody who loves this more than I do, as it is a quality film.
Interstellar (2014) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2014? See for yourself here.