Before you even see INTERSTELLAR, you both love it and hate it…Huh? That’d be the quantum theory of superposition. Love & hate both exist at once, until they are observed, and become one OR the other. Confused? Well, this is just one part of the science to absorb in this amazing ORIGINAL sci-fi drama from writer/director CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. This is not a movie you watch to turn your brain off. This is not another popcorn-munching action-packed BATMAN flick. This is art, by way of science – by way of life .
By the end of INTERSTELLAR, you know where you stand – you will either LOVE or HATE this movie… there is no in-between once it’s been “observed”. I’m so glad I finally got around to seeing this today. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this experience since the first mysterious teaser arrived months ago.
If you haven’t seen the movie, have no fear… I won’t get into Spoilers until later on.
I’d take any negative reviews you may have heard about INTERSTELLAR with a grain of salt. Just like Nolan’s INCEPTION, this movie isn’t for everyone. However, if that sort of complicated intellectual movie IS your cup of tea, you will experience euphoria and melancholy on such levels you wouldn’t imagine possible from a movie.
First off, I must comment on the visceral experience. IMAX is the way to see this one. The visuals are beyond compare and shot on actual FILM (not digital). Your mind is much more blown in a theatre this size. The sound shakes your seats. The triumphant score resonates. The eerie contrast of silence grabs you by the throat. This movie is an experience for all your senses. And a valuable exercise for your mind. The darkness of the void of space WILL be illuminated. There are stars amidst the nothing. Now, I’ll get into the movie as a story…
The trailers for INTERSTELLAR were rather vague, but they showed just enough clues that this film nerd predicted the outcome already. That said, it did not harm my enjoyment at all. However, I get the feeling that you will be much more absorbed in this story if you have a little knowledge of quantum physics and the theory of relativity. The movie will give you enough vital information to understand the plot, but I feel like it will be overwhelming – to the point where some viewers might tune out. You don’t want to be a step behind, you want to walk together in sync with the story.
Even if you’ve never seen a movie about time travel or black holes or space travel before, I think if you participate with INTERSTELLAR it will all make sense. The most important element to understand in this movie is emotion. We care for the characters, so we care for their mission, whatever the outcome may be. All you need to enjoy INTERSTELLAR is a heart and an open mind.
The movie starts by framing the state of the world. INTERSTELLAR takes place in the not-too-distant future, where Earth is really feeling the effects of Climate Change. Food sources have dwindled. The only sustainable crop is corn. Sandstorms choke the living. The schools teach the children that the Moon landing was a hoax to trick the Russians. As an aside, it is interesting to observe how Internet users believe what they see and hear online. A conspiracy video about the Moon landing on YouTube eventually turns into textbooks – kind of like 9/11 Inside Job theories. But I digress…
We meet a family man who runs a farm and raises his children as a single-dad. He discovers a secret that leads him to NASA. From the trailers, we already know this father (a rather impressive MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY) will travel to the stars. We get a lot of practical science and history thrown at us to make this world feel real. A father leaving his family behind for a dangerous mission to save humanity was just so emotional. McConaughey’s silent drive to the mission was just heart-wrenching.
The movie is divided into chapters, like a book. Each segment is perfectly formed, and end with a jarring cut to transition through passages of time. For example, we briefly get the mission set-up, then it cuts to shuttle lift off. By the time the mission begins our jaws may have dropped several times. By the time they search for a new home planet, our minds are blown. True spectacle. Awe inspiring. Truly amazing visuals, especially on an IMAX screen. It’s well worth the boost in admission.
I imagine viewers who are reluctant to believe in Climate Change or Black Holes or Interstellar Space Travel will experience quite the dramatic shift in their internal landscape. I won’t go on a spiel here, but our Earth is in serious danger. We’re probably 20 years past the tipping point already. There is a child born today who will see the end of the world. I assume learning this in a movie, without proper time to deal with this devastation, might be quite the jarring experience. It might be totally depressing. For the movie, McConaughey is on a mission to find a new planet, not save this one.
I love it when a giant movie like INTERSTELLAR has characters that we care about. Most sci-fi blockbusters now-a-days have hollow characters. We care more about the FX than the humans (IE: TRANSFORMERS). The emotional connection I formed with the characters here was real. I felt for them greatly. At the same time, this fictional world informs the real one. Like the best fiction (art) of all time, INTERSTELLAR illuminates our understanding of what it is to be human.
Pay your money. Skip the popcorn. Sit back. And absorb. Participate. Actively co-create this fictional world. Let your emotions go. Imagine yourself in their “shoes”. Even if the science, or logic, goes over your head you’ll still enjoy the spectacle, characters, and emotion.
ORBITING SPOILER ZONE…
If you haven’t seen INTERSTELLAR, don’t ruin it by reading my nerdy little interpretations here. Come back later. You’ll probably have questions, just like me. You’ll probably have theories, just like me. I have yet to read a review or anything, but I will enjoy that process after this posting. I just want convey my opinions without any cross-contamination.
I’m going to get into it… so STOP READING if you haven’t SEEN it… Seriously….
DID I SAY SPOILERS? Alright, alright… I’ll get into it.
I’ll quickly touch on some great moments. It’s not like this movie is all science and emotion and no action. There are several exciting sequences such as a confrontation on Cloud City (not STAR WARS with opulent floating cities, more like clouds made of solid matter) and a super intense docking sequence on a rotating space station. It’s like reaching your hand into a blender to retrieve something important like your wedding ring without getting cut.
I love how the movie starts with the fake documentary of humans talking about the dusty past with limited food resources and a choking atmosphere. I love how this comes full circle by the end. I loved the idea of the astronaut on board for 20 years while the away team was on that watery planet.
Wow. The waves. Man, f**k EXODUS, and their parting of the Red Sea. This is how you do it! And I thought Ridley SCOTT’s direction was impressive (in THAT trailer). Nolan’s work here was truly epic – what a “gargantuan” sense of scale on display.
I’m staying a little cryptic with these references here because I know some readers can’t resist spoilers. Or they want to be part of the “water cooler” conversation without seeing the movie. Shame on you, by the way. Hehehe. I’m hoping that you nerds who saw the flick will still understand my opinions here.
I loved Michael CAINE, as well. His role was just great. The secret NASA stuff was also very compelling and very plausible. The technology and science throughout was just great cutting edge stuff and very believable. The robot companion added great humour to the proceedings. The manoeuvrability of this AI was also just plain cool to watch. This is a TRANSFORMER I can spend time with.
JESSICA CHASTAIN played such a conflicted character. She ran through a whole range of emotions. I could really understand her pain. I don’t want to ruin why her arc was so touching, but it has to do with forgiveness and understanding. A lot of her transformation happens off-screen, but we see the results on-screen, deftly painted with a delicate brush. Her subtle acting is something I appreciate. She also delivers on the more powerful moments you expect.
I love the Double Slit Experiment analogy with the gravitational slits in the library. I loved the recurring DYLAN THOMAS poem, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. Actually, there were so many great moments, and I didn’t even mention ANNE HATHAWAY, or LAZARUS and Matt DAMON. Or the Black Sphere! Which, well, there’s no way to describe those moments with words. I’ll compare it to 2001 and TREE OF LIFE – which were phenomenal representations in their right. INTERSTELLAR just blew them out of the water. Sandra Bullock’s GRAVITY ain’t got nuthin’ on this.
Okay, now onto the head-scratching plot twists – like what’s with the library, right? What’s with the final scenes? What’s with the strange way time works? Well, I have some ideas… Here goes nothing.
First… The movie set up time rather well. McConaughey talks to his daughter about the subject. We get a great visual with the watch to help us along. This is probably the most understandable “confusing” element. Time passes differently. As the movie continued to explain upon entering the Worm Hole / Black Sphere. I called this from the trailer upon seeing Jessica Chastain. I just thought it would be heart-breaking if the father returned to an Earth already destroyed or his daughter has already died naturally, from old age.
Second… ANNE HATHAWAY stayed in space, in orbit, where time behaves much differently. So McConaughey can reunite with her. Much like humanity survives and can travel the stars. Where hours or days or weeks have passed for her character – after the sacrifice – Earth has cycled around the sun nearly 100 years. This means that Chastain discovered the new quantum data, translated it, worked on it with NASA scientists until she’s old and retired. At this point in time, the data has worked. PLAN A is successful. PLAN B is successful. Murphy’s Law right. What can happen, will happen. Since there is a PLAN it will happen once it’s possible – once it’s observed.
Third… The library. Understanding this requires at least some knowledge of quantum physics, multiverses, and string theory. The library is a visual representation of what’s going on in his mind. There are years and years of that room surrounding him. He can sift through them, like he can flip through the books on the shelf. The vibrating strings of time surround him, like a piano whose strings are waiting to be plucked. He searches for the right chords. Harmony. Gravity is what holds us together (on a molecular level) but also metaphorically (the bonds we form with relationships). This means at two different sets of time he communicated with the past – one was the co-ordinates, for plan B – one was the message to stay, for plan A.
The end was so touching, but the build-up was even more so. From the conflicted irony of the daughter, thinking her father abandoned her, when really he’s watching or trying to return. (Metaphor for God?) For me, it was more emotional when both possibilities were available – he returns, he’s gone. He’s both, until he’s observed. Once Chastain observes his presence, he can return. With the strange way time operates, he is much younger than her upon arrival. That is its own special type of haunting emotion.
I’m sure I’ll absorb a little more upon further reflection. These are just my out of the theatre first opinions.
INTERSTELLAR combines spectacle with action, important ideas, and emotional drama.
Christopher Nolan’s contemporary masterpiece incites us to explore several facets of reality, and introspectively explore our experiences with our time on Earth. Thematically, the film explores the lies we tell one another to face our fragile mortality. Love it or hate it (as with most great movies), by the time you leave the theatre, you WILL have something to talk about.
What did you think? Was this film too confusing? Are you inspired to read a book or research the science now?
What are your theories about what actually happened in this story?
Will INTERSTELLAR be taught in schools as a cautionary tale? Will it inspire the NEXT GENERATION to save the planet? Will they smarten up, pay attention, and focus on this issue – whereas most of the rest of us turn away disinterested in our own fate as a species?
I’ll quote HBO’s NEWSROOM here… “When you started talking about climate change, I started to think about other things in my head.”
Don’t be like this. Look into the subject. Challenge yourself. In the meantime, go see INTERSTELLAR and expand your horizons with entertainment. Movies are a rare vessel for important ideas, since we learn as we have fun.
Go see this movie on IMAX before the next vacuous distraction comes along and you forget about the impending Apocalypse.