It’s time for another D&D Mixed Review! This time myself (Derek) and Denis will be looking at Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.
As usual the review will be split into four categories; PLOT, PERFORMANCE, PRODUCTION and OVERALL film quality. The review will then end with a score of SEE IN THEATRE, WAIT FOR RENTAL or PASS.
But before we can jump into our wormhole of a review, here’s the films basic plot.
Interstellar follows Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) a former NASA test pilot now spending his life growing corn in the near future. Earth is now running out of natural resources and it’s up to farmers like Cooper to fight the dust storms, drought and general bad climate to continues making food for the remaining population.
After discovering a gravity anomaly in his daughter Murp’s (Mackenzie Foy/Jessica Chastain) room, Cooper finds whats left of NASA and their plan to find an inhabitable world outside of our galaxy with the use of a wormhole just outside of Saturn.
However, once the crew go past the wormhole, time will move differently as seconds for them mean hours, days if not years for earth. So the crew must find their new world before time runs out on earth.
Interstellar has an interesting premise. Not just the idea of wormhole travel but more importantly the idea of relativity that comes with space travel. As the film progresses we see characters the Cooper left home age and change actors over the years. The emotional toll that it takes on the crew isn’t a huge focus of the film but added more depth at times when the film needed. The main issue with the film’s plot comes in the ending, which is convoluted to say the least. While we won’t get into the particulars the ending goes more into wormhole theory than I think anyone ever really wanted. While the ending might seem like a small issue, it ends up leaving the audience with a more confused feel rather than an empowered one. Even with the impressive world that Nolan builds it gets brought down by the ending.
Interstellar is about many things; family, mankind finding life outside earth, unlocking gravity (I think)? It’s hard for me to really put my finger on what Interstellar is cause it changes a few times and jumps in and out of ideas that all of which didn’t really blend into a compelling story. There were great moments, but the overall plot didn’t work for me at all. I kinda hate that the film forces sentimentality over practicality when it comes to developing the plot, and I hate that soooooo much.
While the majority of the film is spent with McConaughey, the other cast members give good performances as well. While some don’t get the chance to stand out (like Michael Cain or Wes Bentley) the ones that do are Jessica Chastain as the 30 year old Murp and Anna Hathaway. The one role that took me by surprise was a small role for Matt Damon, who appears near the middle of the film as another explorer from earth. That being said the one you’ll remember from the film is McConaughey shouting for his daughter.
I get Hathaway and McConaughey, but why Matt Damon? Why Topher Grace? Why was Topher Grace better than Matt Damon? It seemed like lazy and simple casting and no one was particularly interesting. It felt similar to seeing Gravity, where everyone just felt a but too Hollywood.
Seeing who this is a Nolan film, the production is amazing. The ship sets were impressive as were the alien worlds that were visited However, the one effect that stood out were NASA’s robot units, TARS and CASE. These units looked as close to a real world robot helper as you’d imagine. Normally when we think robot space helpers we think more B-9 (Lost in Space) than a slick rectangular unit like in the film. The films practical effects might be the films strongest part.
Yes, the Robots were completely the best part of this damn movie and the visuals were top notch, but dear god did it sound awful. The sound mixing was horrible, their were parts where I could barely hear what people were saying, either they were having a mumbling fit or the music was set too high. It was infuriating and eventually made me just check out from giving a shit about what people were trying to say during those loud moments. But the robots were great.
While it would be hard to say that Interstellar is a bad film, buts it’s not a great one either. Many of the things you need for a good film, like a good cast and amazing production are there, sadly the story isn’t. This, along with the final Batman film leave me wondering if Nolan is better interpreting others ideas than coming up with them himself. In the end the film is decent and should be experienced in the theatre at least once. SEE IN THEATRE.
Sorry, it’s bad in my opinion. I left the movie puzzled at what I saw not because it’s big ideas went over my head but because it had not goddamn idea how to portray its big ideas. Instead they embraced schmaltz and it was so repelling to watch. It’s something Nolan’s started to do recently where in order to accomplish whatever emotional goals he wants he makes odd narrative decisions that are incredibly frustrating. Where is the guy who made Memento and the Prestige? A filmmaker who could perfectly pace a film and present its ideas coherently. I wanted to like this movie and I think the basic concept had such potential. But what I saw was awful. Hopefully Nolan can readjust and get back to being a more practical filmmaker. If you must see it, Nolan has made it a given that you’d see it in a theatre, but I would have been just fine to PASS on it.
Interstellar was produced by Syncopy Inc., Lynda Obst Productions and Legendary Pictures. The film is distributed by Paramount Pictures (North America) and Warner Bros. (Internationally).