I have to admit, I’m a Trekkie. I’m also a lifelong Star Wars® fan. At the same time, I’m always looking forward to seeing director Christopher Nolan’s films. He’s known for thought-provoking movies such as Memento and Inception, as well as, reviving the Batman® and Superman® franchises with The Dark Knight Rises® and Man of Steel®. Nolan is a multitalented director, writer and producer. And, when he teams up with his screenwriter brother, Jonathan (Memento, The Dark Knight Rises) it’s truly a dynamic duo! I jumped at the opportunity to see Paramount’s ambitious sci-fi masterpiece, Interstellar. First of all, you must see this film in 70mm IMAX to fully appreciate the unbelievable special effects and new technology used in conjunction with NASA’s equipment to create the mesmerizing scenes. Creating the massive black hole, Gargantua, which spins at the speed of light in this film isn’t an easy task.
Thus, Interstellar is a riveting film that’s sure to be talked about for eons! Interstellar explores how rapid interstellar travel affects astronauts, while journeying light years away in search of another world for humans to inhabit! The Nolan brothers worked tirelessly with astrophysicist, Kip Thorne, an executive and advisor on the movie. As a result, Interstellar is one of the most accurate sci-fi films to date. It examines curved spacetime, and how gravity bends light. While this may not seem entertaining or exciting to some, the heart of the story isn’t too scientific, which is where Nolan’s talent as a powerful storyteller drives this epic film. Interstellar reveals a father, fighting to fulfill a promise he made to his daughter.
Oscar®-winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, A Time to Kill) plays Cooper (Coop), a single dad and astronaut, who agrees to lead a crew on the Endurance into a wormhole in search of a planet that can sustain the human race. His crew consists of another Oscar®-winner, Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables, Rachel Getting Married) as the seemingly-stoic and sometimes tough-as-nails scientist, Dr. Amelia Brand. She emotionally challenges Coop at every turn throughout the journey. In this instance, each minute away is seven years on Earth! The Endurance is also co-piloted by Doyle (Wes Bentley, Hunger Games, American Beauty), and astrophysicist, Romiliy, remarkably portrayed by Marlon Sanders. Coop also forms an unusual bond with TARS and CASE, two HAL-like robots who help maintain the ship’s IT network. Although robot’s, TARS is hilarious with his robotic-yet humanlike charm and sense of humor. You’ll also see thrilling CGI special effects scenes that are literally heart-pounding. Again, these scenes were created with cameras that were used thanks to NASA!
Of course, things go awry and Coop must decide the fate of Endurance’s mission once the ship gets into trouble after going through a wormhole. However, Coop’s biggest difficulty rests at home. Being an astronaut is Coop’s “true love,” since the death of his wife, the single dad never wanted to leave his family in the first place. Director Christopher Nolan says, “At the heart of the story, was this great set of characters with this great family relationship.” With McConaughey at the forefront, he captures the family dynamics of a father torn between chasing a career, and struggling to keep his family together. Coop also has nightmares from a previous failed trip in space. As a result, the engineer and single dad works in his town’s murky cornfield. Coop’s daughter, Murph (as in Murphy’s Law) is played brilliantly by Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring, The Twilight: Breaking Dawn). The Adult Murph is magnificently portrayed by award-winner Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty). However, the tween understands Coop’s love of space travel, as well as, his devotion to family. Murph already struggles in school – as she’s following in her father’s footsteps and is considered a “misunderstood” science geek.
Like her dad, Murph yearns to travel in space, and also realizes her environment is crashing. She recognizes the debilitating ecological conditions around her: food shortages in the cornfields; experiences daily “air pollution” raids requiring breathing masks, as well as, extreme drought. Murph’s brother Tom, played by Timothée Chalamet delivers a heart-warming performance of a youngster who also wants to be like Coop. Unfortunately, he’s put on the vocational track at school because he doesn’t have the grades. In this not so distant future, Tom’s world is limited to working in the gloomy cornfields, where you contract lung disease.
Coop is angered at such possibilities for his family! But, instead of cursing out the administrators, the single dad remains calm and explains the situation to Donald, his father, portrayed by award-winning actor John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Pelican Brief). However, the ambitious Murph punches out a few kids, who try to bully her, and gets suspended in the process. Coop laughs at Murph’s precocious behavior, while Donald attempts to be the ever-struggling disciplinarian, attempting to keep Murph in place. Donald already recognizes Murph pursuing the stars like Coop. Together, the father-daughter, team of Coop and Murph enjoy magnetically tracking down fallen droids with Tom also joining such magical shenanigans. During Murph’s school suspension, a magnetic interference sets Coop and Murph on an expedition that lands the two at the “privately-funded”NASA headquarters.
Here, a new Endurance mission must find another planet to inhabit humanity before Earth collapses, but needs an experienced pilot to lead its expedition. Coop’s old mentor and Amelia’s father, Professor Brand, portrayed by Oscar®-winner Michael Caine (The Cider House Rules, Hannah and Her Sisters), believes Coop is the only pilot capable of leading this brave mission. Although Coop secretly desires to return to space, he must decide if leaving his family to save humanity on what could possibly be another failed mission is worth the risk. Thus, Coop makes a sincere pact with Murph to return home. From beginning to end, this movie is riveting! As time progresses and the adult Murph (Jessica Chastain) appears in the film, the father-daughter theme deepens, as much as the time continuum widens through the wormhole. I’m not giving any more spoilers. You’ve got to see this film for yourself!
I highly recommend this film for ages 12 and up.
Time: 169 minutes