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The Mass Media

‘Interstellar’ isn’t stellar, but you should watch it anyways

Interstellar+starring+Matthew+McConaughey
‘Interstellar’ starring Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey, the star of Interstellar, watched his own movie and said he “cried three times.” After watching the sci-fi epic that spans three hours, I think I was more concerned about my bladder. While it certainly lacks mainstream appeal, Interstellar is a thought-provoking journey that’ll take you through the vast reaches of space and time to explore human morality and the malleable nature of love.
Film critics may try comparing the film to last year’s Oscar hit Gravity, but it’s an unfair comparison. If anything, Interstellar has more of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in its DNA, but ultimately doesn’t measure up to the classic. I found no fault with its slow but unassuming pace, and the producers actually hired renowned theoretical physicist Kip Thorne to ensure scientific actuality. Rather, the film suffers from being too ambitious, and its third act will divide audiences.
Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, who Director Christopher Nolan describes as an “everyday man.” This everyday man is also a former NASA pilot, skilled at hacking drones and automating his farm. Interstellar takes place far into the future, where the earth has become an unharvestable dustbowl, where you don’t reap what you sow.
Being the only skilled pilot remaining, Cooper is thrust into a mission to save his children’s future, humanity, and all that jazz. He embarks with the company of a small crew, including Anne Hathaway, who plays the icy-cold, but secretly vulnerable, Amelia Brand, and some fun robots that look like Tetris shapes. Without giving anything away, Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck give strong performances and a big name actor has a surprising yet somewhat distracting cameo.
Visually, Interstellar is stunning. Christopher Nolan spared no expense in constructing the final frontier. He went to great lengths to reduce the use of CGI, in contrast to films like Gravity. Hans Zimmer scored the film, utilizing church organs, as opposed to his signature strings and drums which have seeped into every modern soundtrack. Unfortunately, some of the dialogue was overpowered by the score. This reminded me of Nolan’s last film, in which Bane’s incomprehensive voice sounded like Sean Connery speaking through a tin can. Oh, fun factZimmer scored the film with just a single page of description provided by Nolan. He probably wrote, “Make it good.”
I don’t think it’s fair to watch Interstellar just because it’s a Nolan film. As a director, Christopher Nolan is a darker, and more serious Steven Spielberg. His films are deeply philosophical, with themes of memory, personal identity, morality, and unconditional love permeating his entire filmography. He’s also flexible, and able to spew out blockbusters like The Dark Knight without much compromise. Interstellar is a quintessential Nolan film, draping a story of the human condition under a sci-fi tapestry. It’s also very unlike Nolan, being undefined and bloated in its narrative.
Interstellar was filmed in secrecy for a reason. There’s a lot of room for spoilers; I read a brief “spoiler-free” article and actually figured out the ending. So don’t read any more reviews or even look at the movie on IMDB. Rather, watch Interstellar if you enjoy the classic sci-fi epics like 2001: The Space Odyssey, or if you need an unfair comparison, a more literal version of Gravity. Just don’t expect Star Trek Into Darkness, or the typical Nolan quality we’ve come to expect.
3/5