Interstellar

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‘Mankind was born on Earth.  It was never meant to die here.’  Overpopulation and a ferocious blight attacking crops is driving humanity ever closer to extinction.  Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a farmer like everyone else, but also an ex-NASA pilot and engineer.  Their world now resembles the 1930’s Depression era dust bowl, with drab clothing and utilitarian farmhouses.  While society regresses technologically, there are a few who realize the salvation of mankind isn’t on Earth but out in the stars.  Once again, it’s the ‘NASA saves the day’ cliché, but since I wholeheartedly support the space program, I don’t mind one bit.  Interstellar is a rather magnificent combination of incredible cinematography and a lot of cool real scientific stuff, and a story of family and what makes us human.  Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, with which there are a lot of parallels, you will most likely love it or hate it.  I’m one of the few who fell right in the middle, able to appreciate all the good qualities in director Christopher Nolan‘s work, but still conscious of the stretches in logic and other faults.

Interstellar has undeniably spectacular visual effects, but it is exceedingly long.  With a run time of almost three hours, I did find myself checking the clock quite a bit.  It’s highly appropriate that the space vessel is called The Endurance, because it’s a trait you will need to get through the overly long and dare I say it, bloated film.  The most I can tell you about the plot is it involves a space mission to find other habitable worlds in order to save the human race.  Pretty much anything else is a spoiler.  Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, a walking Rubix cube wise-cracking robot and a few red shirt extras, including Seneca Crane from The Hunger Games (Wes Bentley, unfortunately minus the crazy beard), set out via a convenient wormhole on a quest designed to assault you with dumbed down but valid science, and copious quantities of stunning visual effects.  The whole movie is a paradox with most everything eventually tied up in a neat bow, so be prepared for a lot of mind bending stuff as well as some rather ridiculous plot devices (the solution to everything is “solving gravity”?  And what was up with that bit resembling that Doctor Who episode The Girl in the Fireplace?)

Despite the annoying absurdities, there are quite a few marvelous things about Interstellar that I must acknowledge.  The cast is beyond impressive with the aforementioned stars as well as Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Casey Affleck and Topher Grace.  The soundtrack is wicked, with a nice use of pipe organ and I especially liked the subtle tick-tock motif used on the water planet to illustrate the urgency of time passing.  I might actually forgive composer Hans Zimmer for the Gladiator incident, wherein he failed to give credit to Gustav Holst after blatantly ripping off Mars: The Bringer of War from the collection The Planets.  With highly charged emotional content, many tangents regarding high-minded philosophy, quantum science, metaphysics and other conundrums, my personal favorite was a fascinating discussion about the nature of love.  You won’t believe the number of plot twists and while the ending might not be the most satisfying, it certainly fits with the outré thematic comportment of the film as a whole.  Undeniably idiosyncratic thematically with a lot of just plain weird stuff, but also including deeply personal character studies and some shrewd commentary on a number of subjects, including being good stewards of the Earth.  Interstellar doesn’t quite live up to the hype, but definitely has enough going for it to merit a solid three stars. – BETHANY

For more on this slightly bizarre space drama, visit the Internet Movie Database

Movie features lots of cool images like this one.

“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt.”  – Cooper

“We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”  –  Cooper

It’s all about Cooper’s relationship with daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy).  Evidently he couldn’t care two pins about his son Tom.  (Timothée Chalamet and Casey Affleck, thanks to the dime differential.)  “After you kids came along, your mom, she said something to me I never quite understood. She said, “Now, we’re just here to be memories for our kids.” I think now I understand what she meant. Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.”

As a book lover, it’s deeply satisfying to have a book shelf play such a lynch pin role in the movie.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/interstellar-matthew-mcconaughey-john-lithgow.jpg“When I was a kid, it seemed like they made something new every day. Some, gadget or idea, like every day was Christmas. But six billion people, just imagine that. And every last one of them trying to have it all. This world isn’t so bad. You’re the one who doesn’t belong. Born forty years too late, or forty years too early… My daughter knew it, God bless her. And your kids know it. Especially Murph.”  – Donald (John Lithgow)

Some spectacular visuals of The Endurance about to penetrate the event horizon of the wormhole.

    An oversimplification of the theory of wormholes.

A planet orbiting ‘Gargantua’, the somewhat asininely named black hole.

Jessica Chastain works to ‘Solve Gravity’.

“Very graceful.”  “No, but efficient”.  Landing on Miller’s planet.

The disappointing truth about Miller’s planet.  But think of the surfing possibilities!  ‘Dude, I went to ride the waves on Miller’s planet for a few months and when I got back, it was, like 10,080 years later!’

Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway and David Gyasi.

The Rubix cube robot TARS (voiced by Bill Irwin) rushes in to save the day.  “Come on, TARS!”

Investigating a planet with frozen clouds.  This movie really would have been a killer viewed in IMAX.  That is, if you could sit still for three hours.

“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should rave and burn at close of day;  Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”  Michael Caine (Professor Brand) delivering a poem written by Dylan Thomas.

                                            Anne Hathaway as Dr. Amelia Brand.  “Cooper, you were thinking about getting home! I was trying to do the right thing!”

A rather blatant plot hole in the movie.  But who cares, because it looked awesome.

                Oh merciful heavens, now there are Lego Interstellar characters.  Such flagrant commercialism, not overpopulation and failing crops, might be the downfall of our civilization.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions and Syncopy (unless otherwise credited in clickable form)

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Interstellar

  1. We can well loose sight of the forest for the trees. Lets talk about music scores, acting, plot holes, etc. Let’s talk about anything but the most important message from this movie. To me Interstellar should be required viewing and discussion in a worldwide scale. Why? Interstellar brings forth the question: What are we to do to preserve human life in the universe. Organic life and intelligent life. Even though it is difficult to think that we are an intelligent race (given the way we are propelling ourselves towards extinction), we have achieved a great deal in technological advances. I am thinking for example in mapping the human genome, world wide communications, sending probes into space.
    Interstellar for me poses the idea that as a race we should be thinking about safe guarding life. Propagate life in the universe. For me it is certain that life exists somewhere else; there are just too many solar systems for this not to be the case. But we are not certain what kind of life or what kind of sophistication or technological advancement. Could it be that human intelligence and technological advancement is common place out there? Who knows? What we know is that we have millions of animal and plant species, including our own, that are in danger of extinction. Whether because we are causing an environmental catastrophe; or because sooner or later a meteor is bound to happen into our path and wreck havoc for years on the atmosphere.
    Why are we not applying ourselves to launch into space our seeds and other organisms out into space with the hope that they will fall into a hospitable environment where life evolution may continue? I think this is the question that the movie puts our there. Lets leave discussions of musical scores and actors’ other rolls for other movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You feel I should not have included my opinions on the actors and their performances or the movie’s musical score? I agree with your point, that we as a species need to be pushing to get human life out among the stars, which is why it sickens me that we no longer even have a way to get ourselves into orbit without asking a foreign nation for assistance. NASA could very well hold the key to human survival and while we should do all we can to preserve and maintain the balance on Earth, I wholeheartedly believe we should invest heavily in NASA and push the boundaries of what was once thought impossible. Space stations could very well be the future and it irks me that the current American administration has been so shortsighted as to cut NASA’s funding to catastrophic new lows.

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  2. The thing that drove me crazy in this movie was the way Matthew McConaughey talks in this movie, all breathy and he never really closes his mouth, like maybe he is trying to catch a fly or something. Drove me batty, almost 3 hours of him trying to catch a fly with his mouth.

    Liked by 1 person

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