Monday, November 24, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar

directed by: Christopher Nolan
starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, and more.

Truthfully, I hadn't been that excited about this movie's release. I thought it looked okay from the previews, but from them alone I don't think I got a full picture of what this movie was about. In the end that was okay because I saw the film anyway, as you can tell since I'm writing this review, and I really enjoyed it.

I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

So, the basic plot revolved around the typical scenario for the future of the Earth: everyone is doomed. It was interesting to see this particular take on a future Earth because it's state reminded me of the past, particularly the Dust Bowl and also a bit of the Potato Famine. I'm sure there are other examples in history of similar devastations that greatly affected people but those were what came to my mind.

The only thing left for everyone on Earth to do is to find another sustainable planet that they can move to and inhabit. Matthew McConaughey plays a pilot/astronaut named Cooper that will lead the mission to seek out that new planet. He has a really rough time leaving Earth, especially because of his daughter who he'll miss. Michael Caine plays the great NASA scientist who stays behind to try to unlock the problem of being able to move a planet's worth of people through space. That's plan A. It's the most desirable plan because it saves everyone from staying on Earth and either suffocating or starving to death. Plan B is the back up. If the first plan falls through, then the astronauts will have to forget everyone on Earth and begin to colonize, with the aid of a lot of frozen DNA, on the most ideal planet they can find.

Now, there isn't another habitable planet in this solar system but luckily for the future Earth people, a black hole has opened up next to Saturn that makes it possible to travel a bit faster to another galaxy. The most helpful bit to this current mission is the fact that there was a previous mission in which a bunch of pilots traveled to various planets through the black hole. They've been able to relay back whether or not a planet looks to be a good candidate for plan A. There are three planets that are sending back good messages, so the astronauts are going to have to check these out with their own eyes. The first planet they visit is intense. It sits so close to the black hole which has a great impact on the way time moves there. In visiting the planet for an hour, years were actually passing by. Not only is there that terrifying notion but the planet itself, though it contains plenty of water, is quite desolate and features tremendous waves. It would have been funny if that were to be the planet that was chosen for the colony because then it would have felt similar to Kamino from Star Wars.

So to add to the drama of the story, things aren't going very smoothly with these visitations. The hiccoughs not only include factors from the planets and their properties but also with the human components coming to them and the traits and faults that we can bring with us. I liked the focus on the love and bond between the father and daughter in the movie. The two of them try so hard to bring out the best in each other which is reflective of the better qualities of humans. I also liked how the movie showed imperfect family relationships because it made for a more natural setting to ground this kind of crazy sci-fi movie in.

The movie is visually cool. One of the more terrifying moments for me was when Cooper goes speeding through the black hole and over it's horizon. I think the whole movie is great. I thought the bit about there being higher beings who had planted the black hole and are looking out for the humans was a little odd but it made sense in the larger context of the story and it all made much more sense to me once Cooper began to really uncover the truth about his whole journey. This movie is definitely worth checking out. I really enjoyed Anne Hathaway's performance in this. And the robots were cool, too. I give the whole movie five stars.

-O. Pelaez

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