Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Interstellar



My longer Canadian Mennonite review can be found at: http://www.canadianmennonite.org/articles/no-time-give-planet-earth

Wow!

Okay, Paul is correct in saying the science doesn't work. I could tell you exactly why the science doesn't work, but even to hint at it would give away more than I should, so I will be updating this review in a few weeks, after everyone has had a chance to see the film (on an IMAX screen if possible).

And yes, I predicted the biggest plot twist about a third of the way into the film. But I have watched a few too many sci-fi films and my brain just can’t help itself. 

And sure, some of the characters needed some greater depth.

But this is what Hollywood should be doing with its millions instead of making stupid superhero films or animated films full of redemptive violence. Interstellar is the kind of grand epic that IMAX theatres were made for. Christopher Nolan has become the master of IMAX and he never uses 3D (THANK YOU, MR. NOLAN!). Instead, he uses Han Zimmer’s score and gorgeous jaw-dropping visuals to create an intense escapist entertainment that is also relatively intelligent and thought-provoking. In this case, Interstellar has both a head and a heart. 

Interstellar is set in the relatively near future, in a time when the earth (thanks to global warming) is becoming less and less able to sustain life. Is the answer, therefore, to give up on earth and find a way to relocate to another planet? Some scientists believe it is and set about trying to make that happen. But there are seemingly insurmountable problems, at least until Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph (as an adult, played by Jessica Chastain) get involved. For now, that’s all I will say.

I have written about Nolan at length. It is no surprise that I would love Interstellar because he has never made a film I didn’t like. It’s also no surprise that Interstellar would suffer from the same problem as most of his films, namely an implausibly contrived plot. This time he has taken it to an extreme level that would not be forgivable if Interstellar wasn’t so much fun to watch (by fun, I mean intense).

McConaughey, Chastain, Anne Hathaway (as Brand, Cooper’s colleague) and Michael Caine (the genius behind it all, and Brand’s father) are all excellent, as are those playing smaller roles, like Matt Damon, John Lithgow and Ellen Burstyn. I’ve said enough about the rest - great stuff!

Interstellar has been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and there are certainly many similarities. But the magic of Interstellar wasn't up to the level of 2001. 2001 was also about an earth that was losing its way and about the possibilities for interstellar travel, but it didn't have the kind of "the earth is doomed" foundation that Interstellar has. It's a problematic foundation, of course. Do we put our resources into the possibility of saving this planet or escaping this planet. As much as I am enticed by the prospect of space travel, I would have to say that the former is far more sensible.

Nevertheless, Interstellar is a wonderful exhilarating experience that deserves no less than ****.

For the first time ever, I have awarded **** to ten films in a single year, and there’s still two months to go. Interstellar is the only member of the ten made by Hollywood (thanks to Nolan’s genius). What a year for film! **** My mug is up. Stay tuned for an update in a few weeks. 

1 comment:

  1. I definitely understand the Wow for this one. I think I'm going to have to write my own review (or maybe two) for this. But first just let me confess my hypocrisy and then justify it - I just ranted about Lucy because of its stupid science and logic, but as Interstellar proves, I can tolerate all kinds of bad science when I want to. Lucy was such a bad movie, I had no desire to overlook it. But here the bad science just made a wonderful film possible. I also think I disagree with some key elements in this film (as I think you were alluding to as well) but I can overlook that too when the film is such a profound ride. One final comment for now - I think there is less value in comparing this to 2001 and more to seeing how this addresses (and heals? counters? reinterprets?) 2001. In any case, this is another agreement on **** with two mugs held high.

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