Interstellar – A Movie Review

Interstellar (film) - WikipediaInterstellar (2014)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Cain

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Rating: PG-13 for intense perilous action and brief strong language


Did I Make a Mistake?

Christopher Nolan knows how to wow the crowd.  While I have currently only seen two of his movies (Interstellar and Dunkirk), I already see a pattern of intricate story-telling and brilliant world-building.  Honestly from what I’ve heard, that could be one of the greatest understatements of the century.

Full disclosure: I might have made a mistake watching Interstellar first (technically I saw Dunkirk first, when it came out in theaters, but I didn’t know who Christopher Nolan was at that point).  In fact, there were a few chuckles and groans in the room when I mentioned I started a “Nolan-Binge” (of sorts) with Interstellar.  However, despite starting with one of the longer and denser of Nolan’s films, I was able to enjoy it (for the most part) and am still processing much of the film.

I must be frank.  I can’t tell you what the point of the movie is.  At least, I don’t think I can.  I’ve had several thoughts of what might be going on, but I am not sure that I am even close to right.  Take my review for what it is: one woman’s probable misinterpretation and definite over-analyzation of a highly complex film. 🙂

Another Dust Bowl

The world is dying.  At least, that’s what it looks like.  The Blight has slowly taken all the crops.  Corn is the only commodity left, and that is on its way out soon, or so the scientists say.  Cooper, a farmer like the rest of the world, leads a rather ordinary existence.  But before the second Dust Bowl hit the earth, Cooper was a pilot for NASA.  In fact, he was one of the best.  Naturally, Cooper doesn’t enjoy his now boring and monotonous life.  He feels he should be up there exploring, doing what he loves.

Lucky for Cooper, he catches a lost drone while driving his two children to school.  He finds coordinates for a location that could tell him more about the drone.  What he finds launches him on an interstellar mission that could save the people on earth . . . but Cooper risks his family in the process.

Between the Stars

There’s so much going on here, I don’t even know what’s most important to say.  Sigh . . .  Let’s just jump in!

Nolan’s movies are highly complex, and this movie had the added complications of scientific information.  For instance at one point we hear that gravity crosses all dimensions.  Speaking of dimensions, we live in a world of three dimensions (heighth, width, and depth), but Interstellar‘s supposed deities or higher life forms (supposedly not humans) exist in a realm of at least five dimensions.  Don’t wait for an explanation – from me or the movie! – because you aren’t going to get one.

Besides extra dimensions, we also get black holes, time warps, space travel, sci-fi tech, and quantum data.  And now that I actually write this down, I’m realizing even more that it’s a highly scientific movie.  I’m not saying that it is an accurate representation of actual, physical realities on earth, but it is highly scientific nonetheless.  Although it was difficult to comprehend at times, I actually kind of enjoyed it.

While lots of people say this movie has a romance factor, to me there was none whatsoever.  Technically, there’s a light suggestion that there could be a couple starting a relationship, but nothing even happens and I think that’s just one audience’s interpretation of rather obtuse facts.  But, there is language: quite a few uses of s–t, one use f—ing coward, one b—h, two a–, two dumba–, two a–holes, one misuse of Jesus’ name, and one each of shut-it, shut-up, and butt.

The morality here is a little muddled, and *surprise, surprise* a little confusing.  Unfortunately, to say what I have to say about this would spoil a lot of the movie, potentially the entire movie for you, dear reader.  So, you will have to watch the movie first and then return for a later article to see what I mean about muddled morality.  To be continued . . . 🙂

I had a problem with Cooper, even though I liked him as a character (and how can you not like Matthew McConaughey). My problem was this: he was completely discontent with earth.  There’s a little more to it than that, because earth was a horrible place to live for him and there was nothing better for him here.  But the fact that he is willing to sacrifice his family – specifically his daughter, Murph, who begs him not to leave her – in order for him to catapult into space for an indefinite amount of time is just wrong.  No one leaves their kids for that.  This is when everyone says, “Megan, he was going to try to save the world, including Murph and the family! Of course he had to leave!”  Ok . . . well if that’s what you want to think, let’s take a peek at the conversation he has with Murph about why he has to leave.

Cooper: After you kids came along, your mother said something I didn’t really understand – she said, ’I look at the babies and I see myself as they’ll remember me.’ She said, ’It’s as if we don’t exist anymore, like we’re ghosts, like now we’re just there to be memories for our kids.’ Now I realize – once we’re parents, we’re just the ghosts of our childrens’ futures.

Murph: You said ghosts don’t exist.

Cooper: That’s right. I can’t be your ghost right now – I need to exist. Because they chose me. They chose me, Murph. You saw it.

Did you catch it? He says, “I need to exist . . . they chose me (italics mine).”  Isn’t that sad, that apparently he can’t exist, isn’t existing, and will not exist if he stays with Murph and the family.

A few last comments before I wrap up.  I had to laugh when they talked about the second “Dust Bowl”.  It’s true, the dirt is blowing and it is literally everywhere in the movie.  But the corn is so green it almost hurts your eyes, and there are healthy trees and even a lake.  When the dust storms come they don’t cause drifts, cover crops, bury vehicles, etc.  I was skeptical of the accuracy of depicting the Dust Bowl as it could happen in the future.  It’s just not realistic.  Also, for a world of farmers, why on earth are they using self-driving combines?  That seems illogical, but maybe I’m just being too skeptical.  This is why I don’t watch science fiction! 😉

To Watch or Not To Watch

Unfortunately I can’t say much more about this movie or I will begin to spoil it all.  But I can still tell you how I felt about it!

To be honest, it’s probably not a movie I would watch very often.  But I would watch it again.  It’s a good movie, and it draws you in (albeit a little slowly at first and for quite a long time: it clocks at just under 3 hours).  Aside from some language (honestly rather light compared to many PG-13 movies I’ve seen) and peril (who doesn’t love a good story of perilous action though) there isn’t really a reason not to watch this movie eventually, if you’re interested in it.  As I said, be looking for another article in the future that will discuss the morality and what this movie made me think about.

The music is so stinkin’ good in this movie.  I had heard the music before, but now, watching the movie, I understand the music better and it fits so perfectly.  It makes me completely happy.  I would say you need to watch the movie if only to appreciate the music.  My favorite track is “No Time for Caution” and if you watch the movie, you will see why.

That’s it for today folks.  Honestly I feel like I deserve a big pat on the back and a bag of Goldfish crackers for writing a review of a Christopher Nolan movie.  😉

Until the next space adventure!

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