The concept of interstellar space travel is expertly humanized in Christopher Nolan’s outstanding sci-fi epic.
The premise of Interstellar is relatively simple, technological advances have all but ceased and the world has resorted to an agrarian state in a sort of dustbowl dystopian future. Cooper (Mathew McConaughey) is a farmer and ex-astronaut who is forced to leave his 10-year-old daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) behind, to travel through space and time in search of a new planet where the human race will be able to colonize and survive. Although the Earth’s degeneration is never really explained, it’s not difficult to consider that this imagined bleak future is the cause of the stockpile of problems we’re facing today, such as climate change and severe overpopulation. By not fully explaining the reasons, Nolan is really establishing the film as a reflection of whatever collective fears we have about where our society is headed.
One of the many strong points of Interstellar is its extraordinary set pieces and CGI effects, it makes Gravity look like child’s play. Nolan is a truly masterful technician in controlling the visuals and the scenes in space are dazzling, whether we are being slowly maneuvered around the rings of Saturn, or being tormented by a humongous wave on an unknown planet, you are constantly in awe of the many jaw-dropping sequences.
The use of CGI is clearly becoming a slight issue with some films today due to the sheer focus and reliance on it, one certain Tranformers director spring to mind (not naming names). However, Nolan’s work here is far from this controversy; he is able to ground the unbelievable special effects to human emotions, this is arguably his most earthbound film to date, despite its subject matter. The mind-bending science fiction plot is wonderfully intertwined with a man’s love for his daughter, much like one of Nolan’s earlier films Inception, where the theme of love and grieving is blended with the complex storyline.
Interstellar is also a film that is not afraid to explore real science; the theories examined and demonstrated within the film are largely accurate, and are theorized by Dr. Kip Thorne, a renowned Physicist, who also happens to be an executive producer on the film. It’s extremely hard to remember a Hollywood blockbuster that has successfully interpreted such complicated mathematics and science to a mainstream audience.
The only potential downsides to the film are its, at times, clunky dialogue. For example, would a fully trained astronaut really need to explain the functions of a wormhole to his other fully-trained colleagues just before entering one? Hathaway’s character Brand, is also disappointing, she’s plain and rather dull as Cooper’s space companion, and a soppy speech about how love conquers all doesn’t do her much good either. Long-time Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer adds the score to the film, and whilst it provides an intriguing addition to the stunning set pieces, it largely gets in the way of the dialogue with its extremely loud, gothic-horror like church organs.
Interstellar is an unimaginably complex film, especially the last 30 minutes or so and several viewings would certainly be required to fully comprehend. In a society where space travel has severely declined and NASA is continuously losing funding, Nolan’s message is clear, he believes we should stop looking down, and start looking up. Interstellar drives home the fact that mankind is curious, Cooper calls us all “pioneers” for example and the film demonstrates that humanity is at its best when we wildly throw ourselves into the unknown, in search of discovery.