It’s 11:00 AM on Tuesday November 4. I have just arrived at my IMAX Theatre. Being a regular at premiere events, I was so proud to be first in line for the first ever showing of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar in 70MM IMAX. This was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated motion picture events for me this year besides The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. But to be honest, my hype about the film didn’t really kick in until the vibe about being first in line at the IMAX theatre started to kick in. I was excited for the film; but Interstellar isn't a fandom like MARVEL or other franchise series.
It’s 5:30 PM now and the theatre manager leads me and the rest of the line inside the theatre. After about 2 and a half hours of waiting the long awaited film begins. After the awe-inspiring experience, there are many topics to touch on with this film. So here begins the review for Interstellar.
What have we come to expect from a Christopher Nolan film? To be bigger, better, more emotional, more IMAX? After the successful Dark Knight Trilogy came to a close, Christopher Nolan finds himself tackling the science-fiction genre with a script his brother Jonathan Nolan had written. Stating that he (Christopher Nolan) was inspired to be a filmmaker through films he grew up with; one of them being Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was an inspiration for Interstellar it’s self. Does Nolan top himself with Interstellar? Absolutely! Was it a perfect film? At first yes, but keep in mind that there are really three stages of film viewing that has stayed during the test of time. The first screening is for the immersion and the emotional connection. The second viewing is for spoilers and finding the points in the plot that you forgot about or didn’t catch the first time. The third viewing is the point in time where the flaws that the audience didn’t pick up the first two times start to come to light. The three-time film watching method isn’t for everyone. Personally I am a person that decides immediately after watching a film if I loved it or not.
In the film, Earth is at risk of losing humanity from starvation due to a blight pandemic that has wiped out crops across the world. At the core of the story, Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper. A retired pilot and engineer facing an impossible decision whether to leave his children behind and save the human race from extinction or stay with his family and let millions of other people die. After an accidental encounter, Cooper is tasked on a secret mission by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) joined by Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi), Doyle (Wes Bentley), and two intelligent robots TARS (Bill Irwin), and CASE (Josh Stewart) to scout across the universe using interstellar travel to find a suitable planet for humanity to co-exist on. While on earth, Cooper’s daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain), is heartbroken by her father’s promise to return to Earth but still desperately tries to put her scientific knowledge to use to help save the human race.
The talent in Interstellar is a dream cast for any director to work with and all played exceptionally well for the roles they were given. McConaughey proves once again that he has deep emotional range in his acting abilities; with Cooper possibly being he’s best performance to date. It is hard to play a man with so many different sides to him. As McConaughey has said in the Interstellar press junkets, “He is a man who loves his family, but still has a dream to be out there (space)”. McConaughey achieves tackling all aspects of Cooper successfully implying that all these wants and emotions come from the same man. With the film really being about this one man joined by other crewmembers, McConaughey at times seems to overshadow the other top notch actors in the picture though it’s done so carefully that one can forgive that due to the deep tone of the film.
Anne Hathaway is no exception either. She has been accepted in the Oscar level actor community along with McConaughey and once again does an exceptional job at making her character of Amelia Brand believable. Hathaway is given a character that doesn’t have much layer. Brand represents the attempting success of the mission, while also does McConaughey’s Cooper, Hathaway is tasked with playing a character who for a tiny bit wastes her incredible acting abilities. Had Brand had a bit of a more emotional connecting back-story, Hathaway might have appeared to be as top game as McConaughey was in the picture, though she gets damn close.
Though the entire cast was stellar, the last one worth mentioning is Jessica Chastain. For the talented actress constantly switching from Theater and Film, it seems that Chastain has been really lucky to be working on these big budget films, which recently made her name explode throughout Hollywood. Chastain plays Cooper’s now grown up daughter Murph who is heartbroken through her father’s failed promise to return home while desperately trying to save to human race from extinction. Through the all-talented cast, Chastain gets closest to McConaughey’s depth of character in this film, which is the heart of the story. If the father daughter element of the picture did not work, the visual would mean nothing.
Christopher Nolan returns to the screen with triumph, displaying what he does best; casting the best cast for the characters, going bigger scale with each picture, etc. It seems Nolan never forgets that the heart of any film has to do with an audience’s connection to the characters in the story. Nolan outdoes himself again with his use of IMAX technology, and returns to his 70MM IMAX work as seen in his Dark Knight Trilogy. The true IMAX picture and sound grabs you and touches your soul in a way only the IMAX presentation can deliver. There are heart-pounding sequences in Interstellar that the IMAX presentation only amplifies. The sound of a true IMAX film enters your soul physically and the vibration of the sound makes your heartbeat more aggressively pulls you into the film as it is intended.
Nolan delivers with his “space opera” to give us stunning visuals of wormholes, never before seen planets, traveling through glacier filled terrain, and stunning new spaceships in the full 70MM IMAX frame. The IMAX frame even amps up the character close-ups to the next level of personal and emotional connection with the characters like never before. Against the beautiful visuals, Nolan spends so much time with the story and characters that he one might want and extra new extraterrestrial place to visit. There is so much story packed into the picture that the 169-minute runtime, Nolan could have easily placed one more fascinating “interstellar” adventure to another planet, which wouldn’t over pack the adventure aspect of the film at all. With what the film delivers Nolan successfully combines the adventure and emotion equally to create the perfect balance.
Christopher Nolan’s long time music composer/collaborator Hans Zimmer triumphs with another “out of this world” score with Interstellar. With an unique tone to the Interstellar score starting with the “famous” letter sent to Zimmer from Christopher Nolan, which became the basis of the “heart of the story” says Christopher Nolan. Zimmer creates the thrilling sounds of awe and wonder of the exploration aspect of the film with beautiful melodies of strings combined with a heavy organ accompanying the orchestra; while switching to somber yet hopeful themes between the complex stories of the characters carried by a simple piano cue. The Interstellar score is a departure from Gotham City, but has a very larger than life sound to it but also carrying the simple piano theme of hope.
Interstellar is a film that reminds audiences why going to the movies is an experience. But it is also a film that reminds me why I want to make motion pictures for a living. Transporting people on a ride that they will remember forever is the greatest satisfaction for me or any filmmaker. Combined with all the right ingredients, amazing cast with stellar performances, a story that people care about and will start conversations, great directing with a solid vision, awe-inspiring visuals, along with an amazing score; Interstellar is a film that was meant to be seen on the IMAX screen in the 70MM presentation. It also will be no surprise that the film will steal a few Oscar nomination spots. But most importantly, Interstellar is a film that reminds an audience that originality in Hollywood still exists and that going to the theatre is a worth wild experience.