Not many directors these days have the lofty ambitions Christopher Nolan possesses. He goes against the grain of Hollywood more so than any other modern filmmaker. Even his “Dark Knight” Trilogy wasn’t as conventional as many would think a super hero movie would be. His latest endeavor, “Interstellar,” pushes Nolan even further into the realm of exceptional and atypical storytelling.
In the near future, Earth is plagued by a blight that is quickly wiping out all the natural resources left on the planet. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former NASA test-pilot and Engineer who took up farming when the world gave up on space exploration. After stumbling on to a secret base, he discovers that the supposedly dismantled space administration has been secretly looking for ways to re-establish humanity on another planet and save it from extinction. Cooper finds himself leading a crew of explorers on a perilous exploration beyond our galaxy for a world we can colonize and begin again on.
The best way to describe “Interstellar” is as Christopher Nolan’s version of “2001: A Space Odyssey” for the ADHD generation. Unlike Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s 1968 classic, there’s a whole lot more talking and human interaction. The action and drama moves at a quicker pace as well. The Nolan Brothers wrote the script and knew that a movie without dialogue that crawled along to its dramatic and existential climax wouldn’t work for today’s fast food multiplex audience.
I applaud Nolan for his use of models and other practical effects versus today’s CGI shortcuts. It gives “Interstellar” an authentic look lacking in other science fiction and fantasy films today. The use of actual sets, locations, and props keeps the audience immersed in the movie and not constantly anticipating the next overly-synthetic orc or dragon walking into the scene and pulling you out of the cinematic experience.
One thing that makes me laugh about “Interstellar” is the way the characters refer to the intergalactic entity contacting humanity as “they.” Not for one moment do the scientists and explorers take into account that it could be God. After all, the idea of God sending us messages and leading us anywhere is so much more ridiculous than aliens from another galaxy.
“Interstellar” is rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language. Profanity goes beyond the usual expletives and includes the “ultimate” bad word at one point. The movie gets stressful at points and could give younger (and even older) viewers bouts of anxiety. Some might also feel a sense of claustrophobia in certain instances.
Although “Interstellar” definitely contains some of the very same concepts and encourages humankind’s exploration of space just like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” that’s where the comparisons end. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan’s story is much more rooted in our sense of preservation than Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s complicated and inexplicable masterpiece. It’s a lofty and complex commercial which urges us to look beyond our own world and regain the sense of wonder and curiosity we used to have when it came to the Universe that infinitely surrounds us.
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