This has been the fall and winter of movies and I have yet to be disappointed. Starting off with David Fincher’s Gone Girl (which I wrote a review about here), to Dan Gilroy’s directional debut with Nightcrawler (which I’m going to write a review on later), to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar (which is today’s review), I knew that these trips to the movies these past couple months were going to be intense. And I have been far from disappointed.
To me, Interstellar was everything it promised to be. Mind-blowing. Out of this world, if you don’t mind puns.
I’ve only recently become more interested in the sci-fi genre, so I tend to go into these movies mostly unaware of what to expect or how things will be portrayed. Leading up to seeing the movie, I had been constantly hearing about how thoroughly researched the film was. This was a huge plus to me because it almost took away the “fiction” feel of the film’s ideas, letting me as a viewer fully embrace the plot not just in a moment of suspension of disbelief, but because the actual science presented allowed it.
While a fairly basic, and probably unfair choice, the only movie I can roughly compare Interstellar to is Gravity. Both are huge space epics, but there are definitely distinct differences to the two. While the visual eye candy of Gravity is extremely hard to challenge, Interstellar moved me in a way that I didn’t experience with Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. You’re able to actually connect to the characters and feel for them. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway played their characters brilliantly and their characterization helped connect them to the audience. I also confess that I did cry a couple times during the movie.
As soon as the credits rolled and Hans Zimmer’s name came up, a friend and I both threw our hands up as a sort of “of course he composed the music!” reaction. Zimmer, who composed movies such as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and 12 Years a Slave, yet again created a masterpiece. The music was unbelievable, helping elevate the journey.
It’s also just a generally beautiful film as well. Specifically in the first third of the film on Earth, the lighting and dramatic scenes are beautiful to watch. Though the space scenes are the majority of the film, and they are spectacular as well, Nolan doesn’t take that as a cue to let the Earth scenes be lackluster. Early scenes involving the dust storms take your breath away, while even just a shot of McConaughey looking out a window is dramatically lit as we have a silent moment with his character. The expansive setting of farm fields helps play with the figurative idea of space, paralleled by the eventual literal space that the rest of the movie spends its time in. While dealing with outer space and planets, there is a sense of intimacy when it comes to the filming of the characters. Except for when emphasizing something happening in the location around them, shots focusing on the actors are tight and personal. The people of the story are just as integral as the vast worlds around them and we never lose sight of that.
Interstellar clocks in at almost three hours, which is hardly an usual length for a movie these days so it isn’t typically a con. However there’s something about this movie that makes it feel even longer–try four to five hours. In a seemingly fitting way in regards to the plot, you lose track of time while you’re watching the movie. While I wasn’t particularly bothered by the length, I was definitely aware of how long the movie felt, versus how some movies can be extremely long (Wolf of Wall Street and Pulp Fiction for example) and not feel nearly as long. To me, it’s important to be able to lose myself in the movie and not be aware of external factors, such as how long I’ve been in the theater.
While it was listed in my “pros” section, there’s also a big of a con to me involving the science in the film. And that’s because of exactly that — the science. This movie delves into a type of science that is so difficult to understand that really my best advice is to almost tune out what they’re saying and accept it. While the amount of science researched was immense and helps demonstrate a realistic story, it can be overwhelming at times. At one point near the end, there is also a switch where suddenly the science goes from “okay I think I get it” to “this makes no sense at all,” and to me that’s dangerous. To build up an entire movie on the actuality of science works until suddenly it’s all theoretical is very difficult to keep up, and somewhat of a let down. This is a minor issue, but does cause some confusion and might be the movie’s biggest struggle. Sometimes you have to explain everything or nothing, not just most of it.
Even if science isn’t exactly your thing, or if it is, I absolutely recommend seeing Interstellar. And if possible, make sure that you see it in theaters in order to maximize your experience. Some movies are fine no matter what format you watch them in, but this is a movie that is meant for the biggest screen possible. Maybe it’s not my favorite film, and that’s okay. It was amazing to watch and to see the story unfold. When the movie ended, the entire theater just sat for a minute as everything sunk in. This movie is truly an experience to be had. If you haven’t seen the trailer, make sure to check it out and the next time you have an evening (and you’ll need all of that evening), maybe grab some tickets and check out Nolan’s new space epic for yourself!