I went into Interstellar knowing almost nothing about it. I knew Christopher Nolan was writing/directing/producing the film. I knew there would be space travel and a wormhole. And I knew from the one trailer I watched that Earth wasn’t sustaining human life very well. I avoided any word of it on film sites, didn’t read any early reviews, and didn’t watch any interviews or behind the scenes featurettes.
This is the first movie I’ve seen this way in a long time and It was exciting. That is, it was until about an hour into the movie when I realized I had no idea what this movie was or where it was going. Would it continue on the path of a thought-provoking drama? Or would it descend into a genre I refer to as the space horror film? It was uncomfortable not knowing. But once I let that notion of needing to know go, it became very easy to lose myself in the experience.
Interstellar is a fine reminder of the actual definition of awesome. It presents an intimacy in strong familial relationships on Earth in stark contrast to the vastness of outer space. There are some really gorgeous visuals in both places too. While there are a lot of real sets and a bit of a documentary approach, at one point I got excited at how much it looked like a spaceship was jumping to hyperspace. As a kid who grew up wanting to be an astronaut, Interstellar captures so much of what I’ve felt about real space travel: it’s adventurous, exhilarating, scary, difficult, so loud, incredibly quiet, and most of all –humbling. We are so big and important to each other but out in the universe we are all so, so small.
There’s no doubt the stakes are high in this movie. The whole relativity of time plot point is an interesting source of conflict, and thought-provoking to boot. I’m sure there had to have been some questionable science going on too, but there was so much to the story I didn’t feel the need to question it, which is a pretty big deal for me. And then, about thirty minutes from the end, I fell out of my trance. Suddenly I felt like I was watching a completely different movie. I don’t want to spoil it, but even if you disagree, you’ll know it when you see it. There and then this ambitious, epic movie reached a bit too far.
I hesitate to use the word “ruined” here because what happens did not ultimately take away from my enjoyment of the rest of the story. Instead I’d say it faltered. Interstellar has a suitable cast, an emotional heart, and a heck of a lot of intrigue. It’s enough to overcome the scattered bits of awkward dialogue, possible paradoxes, and the fact that there is still so much we don’t know about certain elements of space. At one point someone onscreen remarked that in space you only have what you take with you, and while it certainly seems like a good idea to bring your own selflessness, having TARS the robot with you seems mighty valuable too.
Interstellar was part of my Top Ten Movies to See in 2014 aka Only Grand Captain Mockingjays of Future Tomorrow.
Back away now if you want to remain spoiler-free.
It was interesting that romantic love plays such a small part in this movie, but what was really refreshing is that in the end the two biggest heroes for the human race were the main female characters. They both had help to get where they ended up, but it felt more like a team than anyone needing a man. Coop is the human being with the right skills in the right place at the right time to give both Murph and Amelia the boost they need to fly. After seeing the movie I found several outlets reported that Murph was originally written as a boy. This successful gender-swap is a great example of how one change can broaden a movie’s accessibility.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path for now, but she’s still a Star Wars fangirl at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. A voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, dancing around, writing, learning and, of course, making pew pew noises. You can follow her on Twitter.
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