Perhaps the most anticipated film of the year, “Interstellar” is Christopher Nolan’s (“The Dark Knight,” “Inception”) ninth feature film. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, John Lithgow and Jessica Chastain. The story, which is penned by Christopher and his brother Jonathan Nolan, takes a look at a world ravaged by the effects of climate change. Things have gotten so bad on Earth that people are simply looking to survive, taking no time for anything else, including space travel. However, it is revealed that space travel is perhaps the only thing that could save the human race, as it is becoming increasingly necessary to find a new world to call home. Worked into the story is very high concept science fiction, surrounding Kip Thorne’s work on wormholes. The film also pays homage to the classic “2001: A Space Odyssey” in many ways that would be very spoilerific if I were to reveal them here.
“Interstellar” does an abysmal job of creating the same sense of awe and amazement that “2001” did simply because of awful writing. “Interstellar” is like a great looking meal a restaurant thinks you are too dumb to chew. The movie’s beautiful visuals (and they are truly sublime) are counteracted with a bulky script that tells way more than it shows, going against a cardinal rule of filmmaking. Instead of letting the audience be amazed by the wonder of the unknown, Nolan’s script basically tries to tell us how to feel. The amount of scientific mumbo jumbo about this strange new solar system makes it seem completely normal. For every shot of a beautiful black hole devouring the remnants of a supernova, there are two or three lines explaining every nook and cranny about how space travel works. While that would make sense if a character knew nothing about space travel, it doesn’t work given the characters are an astronaut, engineer and astrophysicist. As an audience, we’re being talked down to.
The beauty of this film is second to none this year. Nolan uses a combination of practical and digital effects to create a stunning cosmos that will get attention come awards season.
I keep drawing similarities with “2001” because it’s obvious that this is what Nolan was going for. The stunning views of space, Hans Zimmer’s score mimicking several classical songs and a story involving humanity’s evolution. Between that and Nolan’s previous works, I went into this film expecting an experience like I had when I watched Stanley Kubrick’s opus. But what I got was a bastardized, Hollywood makeover of “A Space Odyssey.” Even in moments where the film tries to make a statement, it is completely lost when the characters blatantly state the subtext in dialogue. All in all, I left the theater disappointed in Nolan himself more than anything else because it seems that he compromised art in order to be financially successful.
I give “Interstellar” 3.5 out of 5 stars based solely on the visuals and scientific accuracy in its portrayal of wormholes and relativity. However, the script gets a 1 out of 5. There are only a few moments that I cared about the characters and they disappeared faster than the spaceship left Earth’s atmosphere.