A thought-provoking and imaginative science-fiction story about space travel...
Interstellar is perhaps the best film about space travel since 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, you even consider Interstellar to be 2001 taken to the next level. Both films are about traveling to parts of space that have never been explored by mankind. Also, both films have thought-provoking concepts, stunning visual effects, and even brief moments of human peril. I'll even throw in another science-fiction movie for comparison: the 1997 movie Contact. That film and Interstellar both present the audience with a suspenseful mystery where we constantly wonder what we will eventually see.
The initial setting of [Interstellar](movie:813746) would make you think that it's not science-fiction. It's a rural farm in an unnamed part of America. In fact, the trailer for Interstellar that I saw focused a lot on these scenes on Earth, which makes sense because the space travel that takes place afterwards is something that we should just discover for ourselves once we actually see the movie. Anyway, on this farm, the main character is an engineer and farmer named Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey (who also co-starred in Contact). He is actually one of many farmers around, because Earth is now decimated by extreme famine. As an official in the local school system explains, the world has not run out of technologies like television sets, but has run out of food, a resource necessary for life.
But one thing bothers Cooper. Given the priority of saving Earth, space travel is seen as a complete waste of time. Yet, Cooper wonders what is beyond the Earth's atmosphere. It is not long before Cooper observes a strange phenomenon with dust in a room in his house, which puts him on a path that will eventually lead him to a top-secret space program sending astronauts to a wormhole near Saturn. The purpose of the mission is to discover habitable planets. From there, either the people of Earth can be saved and transported to the new world, or a new human colony will be formed on the new planet. For Cooper, this is a tough choice, because he does not want to leave behind his daughter Murph, his son Tom, and his father.
From there, the film takes the audience on an imaginative journey through space and time, featuring a cast that includes, aside from McConaughey, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, and Anne Hathaway. What's amazing is how the theory of relativity plays a big role in the story. Without going into the details of Albert Einstein's famous theory, Cooper learns that, after discovering a water planet to explore, one hour on that planet equals seven years on Earth. Therefore, the mission must be done quickly so that Cooper can go home and still see his family, even if his children will become much older by then.
I won't say any more about the next part of the story. I will, however, provide some general vague comments on the film's climax. This is something that is surreal and imaginative. It's a scene that will make you look at our universe in a whole different way, if you have not tried to so before. If you have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and Contact before, you know what I'm talking about. More importantly, this part of the movie provides a surprising revelation and brings together things that were seen earlier in the film. If there is a payoff in Interstellar, it is this scene.
With a well-written script, a fantastic cast, and mesmerizing special effects, Interstellar is certainly a stellar film. If you love movies about space travel, this is definitely one that you do not want to miss. Do not let its 169-minute running time scare you away. It is worth sitting through, especially as Christopher Nolan is the director here. Given his outstanding work with films such as the Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar is definitely in good hands. Now, it's not on the same level as the Dark Knight movies, but it comes very close. Overall, Interstellar is an out-of-this-world adventure that appeals to both the heart and the mind.
Anthony's Rating: 9/10
(Review originally published at http://www.anthonysfilmreview.com/Film/I/Interstellar.htm)