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Review: Interstellar

Interstellar was my most anticipated film of 2014 for a number of reasons. First, Christopher Nolan (The Prestige, Inception & The Dark Knight Trilogy) was directing and that peaked my interest immediately. Then Matthew McCongahay emerged from the rom-com ashes like a phoenix in the last year. Lastly, it was a sci-fi space adventure. All of these elements equaled a film I would adore. The trailers got me even more excited, as the second one might’ve been the best I’ve seen all year. After watching the movie I can say that it didn’t blow me away like I expected. There are certain elements of the movie I enjoyed, but overall the package is overstuffed and underwhelming.

Interstellar is about a father and daughter separated by space and time and their attempt to find one another. The script, written by Jonathan Nolan, is set in a not-so-distant future, where the world’s food supply has depleted dramatically and dust riddles the country plains. Coop, played by McConaughey, is a former pilot-turned farmer and lives with his father, daughter and son in the middle of America. Soon Coop is tasked with flying a crew of scientist into space to save humanity.

If you look at my synopsis and the film’s runtime you’ll see things aren’t adding up. I don’t want to spoil to much, but there is more to the film than the trailers or plot summaries suggest. Interstellar is long and and by the time we reached the third act I was ready to go. Nolan has a lot to say and with nearly 170 minutes he still rushes through concepts and ideas. Things are mentioned or hinted at early on, not mentioned for an hour, then half haphazardly tied up. He used the same strategy in The Dark Knight Rises, but its less effective here. After the crew blasts off into space we have two movies tied together. There’s Coop in space, and Murph on earth. Space is much more interesting, as we get a thrilling action set piece on the first planet they visit. In the same scene the importance of time is on display. You can feel almost every second they spend there passing by, and it works very well. The emotional moments that Coop experiences upon returning to the ship are equally as captivating. After that things get less compelling. There are several major twist in the latter half of the movie that weren’t effective for me. The moment Coop shares with another traveller is amazing, but after that I was checked out. The ending was interesting, but more confusing and less earned than Inception.

All of the performances are well done. Matthew McConaughey gives a solid performance, but you can tell he’s trying hard to work with a script that just isn’t where it needs to be. Anne Hathaway does the best she can as scientist, Dr. Brand, but her character just isn’t interesting. She is supposed to represent the spectrum of humanity. Showing the logical side and then shifting to the emotional, but neither are done as well as they could’ve been on their own. I enjoyed David Gyasi’s performances as he is effected by time in striking fashion and he shares a great scene with Hathaway’s character. Young Murph, played by Mackenzie Foy, is incredible in the first act of the movie. She embodies the imagination of a child perfectly. The scenes with her and McConaughey were very effective and tugged at my heartstrings.

Obviously, the visuals are are big part of this movie but they didn’t grab my attention the way Gravity did last year. It might be because I didn’t watch it in IMAX, but I was never in awe at the visuals, or spectacle. The wormhole looked very cool and the practical effect were well done. This movie is enjoyable, but the individual aspects don’t add up to a great total package. The concepts and ideas are so interesting it kept me going. The Universe Nolan creates is inviting and I would love to see this world explored more in a sequel or in other mediums possibly. See Interstellar, but be aware of the runtime. Don’t worry about the scientific inaccuracies and enjoy the ride.

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