Saturday AM Review: Interstellar

Interstellar, like most of Christopher Nolan’s projects, has been shrouded in mystery. The trailer offers a glimpse at a plot but mostly flashes the huge cast. I am a big fan of Nolan and his brother, but Interstellar continues to fall into the standard Nolan traps. The film has both its ups and downs. 

I am going to try “describe” Interstellar without divulging spoilers (side note: only understood about 70% of the plot anyways). In the future, Earth is a large dust cloud and the population is dying along with all crops. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer but used to be a pilot/engineer, and he shares a close emotional/intellectual bond with his daughter, Murph. The two come across a drone, which leads them to a secret NASA headquarters. Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway are NASA scientists that recruit Cooper to go into space and find a habitable planet. 

There are so many plot holes within Interstellar. However, the cast, acting, and visual effects are mesmerizing and out of this world (get it!) Interstellar was actually originally developed for Steven Spielberg partnering with writer Jonah Nolan. There is actually an article online that distinguishes all of the changes made; Spielberg’s vision had a whole alien subplot. One of the changes included was making the character of Murph a girl instead of a boy. As much as I love Nolan, he has a big problem writing for women and creating three dimensional female characters. Murph has an emotional arc and character transformation, but I still felt she relied too much on her male counterparts and lacked independence. In the end, the character was strictly a climatic device. The first hour of the movie was quite boring but really kicked in after that, and I was drawn in.

The look of the galaxy and other planets is extraordinary. The visual effects were created with the help of physicists and are extremely accurate, relating to wormholes and relativity. Also, my favorite element/character was the military robots. They moved so coolly and were fascinating. They are like giant robot Tetris blocks. I want one! Missed opportunity though to not have them feature famous/recognizable voices. I’m not sure if this is a spoiler or secret—yet it was publicized before production and cleverly not included in marketing. Matt Damon has a role (bigger than a cameo but small) and plays an integral role. He was so good, surprising, and played quite a different role from previous films. 

Despite its faults, Interstellar is visually powerful and seems to be important within the science world. The robot alone (with a truly amazing design) is worth the price of admission. That said, Christopher Nolan has created another epic film that looks and sounds amazing with some incredible action sequences. Jessica Chastain conveys an emotional roller coaster with few words; her performance is stunning, subtle, and memorable.

I don’t think Earth will turn out as suggested…but if it does Matthew McConaughey has my vote to help save us. I would have been surprised by his performance if not for Dallas Buyer’s Club last year. Is it weird I was missing Morgan Freeman and wanted him to pop up for one scene? By the way, some unexpected actors do pop up for a scene or two: Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, Ellen Burstyn, and John Lithgow. 

I did enjoy Interstellar but there were too many missteps to overlook. The same night I saw my favorite movie of the year and one of the best I have ever seen….BIRDMAN. I would recommend seeing Birdman over any movie in theatres now or the near future. Birdman is an epic indie that does have a slight comic book tie in. Check out both movies but prioritize! 

By Kasey Michael--a lover of all things entertainment. Born and bred in North Carolina, she can usually be found in front of a screen.