Interstellar (2014)

NOTE ON THE BLOG POST: The writer and reviewer (myself) will attempt to write a movie review in two sections.  The first part, “Before”, will adhere to everything predicted and desired to find in the film prior to my initial viewing of it.  The second part, “After”, will involve all post thoughts, dealing with my reaction, as well as the reaction of the viewership in general.

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Interstellar is an American science fiction epic, directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige, Memento), and starring an ensemble cast, beginning with recent Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway (winner), Jessica Chastain (nominee), Michael Caine (winner), Casey Affleck (nominee), Ellyn Burstyn (winner), John Lithgow (nominee), with Wes Bentley, David Gyasi, Bill Irwin, Topher Grace, Mackenzie Foy, and Matt Damon (winner).  Written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, loosely based on the principals and theories by physicist Kip Thorne.  The movie tells the story of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole, to surpass the limitations of human space travel and conquer the the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.  Running Time: 169 minutes.  Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

B E F O R E

(Written on October 30th)

There is no doubt about it in my mind.  Interstellar will transport us to a new galaxy with such finesse and brilliant choreography that we will sit back in our seats at the end of the three-hour epic and remain in awe.

Could you not tell I am a Chris Nolan fan?  Yes, the gentleman from England is curiously in the seat of best movie director in my mind.  If Stanley Kubrick was alive, there would be a definite tie.  So it is fair to warn–as I have with every other Nolan film in this blog–that I am incredibly prejudice.  This movie already is a contender for my top ten or top twenty, and I have done nothing more than see the previews, read the few spoiler-free articles, and listen to the sparse music from the soundtrack on YouTube.

interstellarI remember reading about this project when Steven Spielberg was initially attached and thought very little of it.  The fact that Jonathan Nolan was the main writer was the biggest reason I was intrigued.  At the end of The Dark Knight Rises run, I think it was, Christopher Nolan’s rep confirmed after a ton of rumors that he would helm massive project, adding some of his own plot elements into Jonathan’s already stellar script.  For me, any Nolan film will be a great one.  So I was at the edge of my chair when actors McConaughey and Hathaway first appeared, followed by other A-list talent.

I am guilty of frantically searching the net for on-set pictures and unofficial production photos.  I was so incredibly eager to have a grasp on what the project was.  Because that is the thing, as everyone else who follows movies know–Nolan and Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. have kept uncomfortably quiet about the whole thing!  Finally, over the course of this summer, the mystery has unveiled.  Last December, the first teaser of the film came out, detailing very, very little.  It managed to get us stoked, however, and remind us that Nolan had not forgotten about us and promised to please yet again.  At the beginning of May this year, we finally got our first look at the magnitude of the project, and boy did it look good.  I probably watched the first two trailers two dozen times each.

Predictions?  I do not feel just in making assumptions of where the movie will take us.  I made quiet opinions on  The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Inception (2010), and The Dark Knight (2008) and how they would start/end, and was completely wrong–mainly with Inception.

However, I deem Christopher Nolan and his production team to be at their highest level of creativity and power in Hollywood.  There should not be too many limitations to what they could and couldn’t do in the editing room or on location in Iceland or wherever else they filmed.  Interstellar, I believe, will be the most thematic and perhaps intense piece of the Nolan cannon yet.  My hype is higher than the ceiling of the room in which I write this pre-viewing of the film.

November 7th, why aren’t you here yet…?

A F T E R

(Written on December 6th)

Oh. My. Word.

I saw the movie.  I soaked it in.  But it has taken me nearly a month to try to put into words the sheer magnificence of the cinematic wonder.  I had to see it a second time; it was just as marvelous as the first!

Christopher Nolan has made some mind-bending movies, like Inception (2010), The Prestige (2006), and Memento (2000).  Then he has given us enormous superhero epics from The Dark Knight Trilogy.  Now he presents us with a new side of his genuis: an emotional depth and star-gazing wonder that most directors could never hope to obtain in their entire careers.

I have probably never had a better movie-going experience.  I use the word experience to its literal translation.  Seeing the film in IMAX was well worth it, as the director and his team strongly urged.  The gorgeous look of space, the detailed models of the Endurance, the dust-covered Earth, and the planets beyond our universe; all great things projected nearly perfect in front of us.  The soundscapes of the movie were stunning as well, being utilized all around the theater like an artful tool.  I read Mr. Nolan visited hundreds of theaters around the country to make sure their IMAX projection was up to par and their speakers set right.  I admire that meticulous desire to give as many people the greatest cinematic experience they can savor and enjoy over and over again.

Although the plot is simple and direct compared to his other films, Christopher Nolan takes us on a very personal journey across the stars, through a black hole, and onto planets past our imagination.  We are immediately attached to Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughy, and his daughter Murph, played by Mackenzie Foy.  Their relationship roots us in the characters and their separate journeys as the film unfolds from strong to mighty in scope.  A simple, non-distracting humor utilized throughout the film is a new element I never knew Nolan had ever a mind to use.  Well played, sir.  Well played.

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There are twists and turns in the story that I will not spoil, but comment are sublime.  Two scenes I am not ashamed to mention before everyone has seen the film and will not spoil the pivotal plot are a couple of my absolute favorites: the waterworld-wave scene and “detach” at about 4/5ths of the way through the three hour epic.

THE MUSIC!  Oh, what a dream come true.  Although not as easy to get into as other Zimmer soundtracks standing on their own, the score supports the general arc of the story, and creates a great canopy for the powerful movie to work over and under.  Some of it draws back to 1970s broad-epic musical scores, while the other side takes us to distances only Hans Zimmer can.  Truly astounding.  (The music in the waterworld scene and detach are some of the major reasons I love them so much).  He body receive an Oscar nod for this brilliant masterpiece.

The production design was impressive!  Incredibly real and visceral to our experience on the big screen.  The sets and–well everything else, which I will not go into detail with for fear of spoiling–are vast and extensive, still building up a great big world for us on the big screen to match the story, the score, and everything else!  To make a long story short: Interstellar is a GIANT movie.

Perhaps one of the greatest things to recognize about this movie is the stellar acting.  Although McConaughy won last year’s Best Actor Award at the Oscars for Dallas Buyers Club (2013), which I have yet to see, he delivers such a humane performance that makes us so attached to his…humanity.  The love his has for his children is something so transcendent and unattainable.  Hathaway supports strongly, as well as Caine, Chastain, all the rest, and Foy.  The young Mackenzie is already on her way to a strong career, proving she has the grit to tear us apart in an instant.  The movie is made by an ensemble cast of huge talent and continues to put the movie into the perspective of one word: GIANT.

maxresdefaultThis film sums up hundreds of questions regarding our existence in the universe.  Although I know my reason and have my own beliefs, I think it brings up good questions about “our place amongst the stars”, and our ability to explore.  It definitely left me with the urge to go deep into space and see the wonders of our galaxy.  I had to wipe away tears three times during the outstanding sci-fi piece.  Nolan wanted to create an emotionally-attached set of characters the audience would be able to relate to and would root for the entire film–which he did successfully.

The movie was made on a big budget of $165 million (roughly) and has already gained over $547 at the box office in its one-month period.  Although not off to as strong of a start as Nolan’s last two Batman films or Inception, I think Interstellar will be able to obtain a strong income in the weeks to come.  And the Awards season?  I pray that it will steal nearly all of them!  Specifically Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Score, Best Visual Effects (which is already a given it will win), Best Production Design, and hopefully Best Original Screenplay.

I give the film 7 out of 7 stars.  10 out of 10.  It was utterly superb.  Perhaps one of the best films ever made.  It is the 2001: A Space Odyssey of the 21st Century, here to remind us that not everything we need to solve and explore are right here in Earth.  I think the movie addresses that pretty clearly.  It is a very hopeful film that way.  (I honestly cannot imagine this being an original Steven Spielberg movie).

It is not a space movie about aliens, or feuding planets, or hour-long dog fights between hurling asteroids: the movie focuses on the relationship between a father and his daughter, with the backdrop of space exploration against the omnipresent enemy of time.

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About Morgan

January 2016 Update: This blog is under reconstruction. Please be patient while we gradually remove old material, posts, and pages, and create new ones. Thank you.
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