INTERSTELLAR delivers cool and weird science wrapped in a space thriller

INTERSTELLAR is a thinking person’s big movie that stresses science more so fiction, while coming up short on character building yet delivers a very impressive experience.

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT…

The film takes place several decades in the future where Earth is on its last legs. Our food supply is running out and apparently only a few countries remain living on the likes of corn and guarding against torrential dust storms.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot turned farmer, and his genius daughter Murphy (played by three different actresses for young, adult and elderly ages, including Jessica Chastain) links a series of events including reading coordinates from a crashed flight drone and identifying messages from apparently random gravity pulls of dust and Morse Code. The messages lead them to reunite with Cooper’s former NASA chief (Michael Caine), who reveals the grand plan to save humanity by sending a select crew (Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, and several Tetris-like robots with varying senses of humor) into the cosmos for a new inhabitable planet. However, the astronauts soon discover the mission carries peril that pushes them to the edge.

The mission significantly affects Cooper and Murphy’s relationship because of relativity. Cooper and the astronauts’ journey may only take a little over a year, however Murphy will experience decades pass.

SPACESHIPS DON’T COME EQUIPPED WITH REAR VIEW MIRRORS

The movie was change of pace for me. I recently sat and watched TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION and I thought it was terrible, loud and dumb for all of the wrong reasons. Watching this movie actually encouraged my brain to get engaged here and think about the mass amounts of theory regarding black holes, wormholes, the nature of gravity, relativity, and the space-time continuum. The science is based on the ideas of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who also served has an executive producer, and it helps carry those of us without a Ph.D. in astrophysics along without dumbing it down to a few explosions.

I did enjoy this clip featuring media darling astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and the TV series “Cosmos” discussing the science of the film. Check the 2 minute mark to see the Today Show host’s brain shut down.

Check this clip featuring Tyson discussing the ending in particular, which I must say, literally burned my brain as I sat in the dark theatre alone with my thoughts on theories of which I’m not knowledgeable.

I carried high expectations for director Christopher Nolan after THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY and INCEPTION. Nolan put together a technical powerhouse of sight and sound. The portrayal of interstellar travel presented appeared very realistic, in contrast to Star Wars physics where we can hear you scream and fire exists in space. The special effects were awesome and a big part of the experience.

WE HAVE FAILURE TO LAUNCH

The story works the “seek new worlds” angle really well and grounds it within actual theory. The characters, no matter the years that pass throughout the film, are still the same people at the start and end of the movie. That’s not what I expected however change because of their journey and that part was a bit disappointing considering the extreme circumstances.

Maybe writing in static characters was for the best because some storylines get dropped and put on a bus into the nearest dust storm. The science is the real star and the people are just experiencing it like the rest of us. The actors did their job within what was given, so kudos there.

ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN…

INTERSTELLAR provided a thought provoking exploration of space mysteries to captivate your attention at the risk of frying your brain. If the movie had better character development, this would be a masterpiece for the ages… Maybe later in 10 years it will be, however today, it’s just a very fine movie. Oh and it’s almost 3 hours long. I had to use the bathroom twice and adjust multiple times in my seat.

8.5

of a possible 10

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