Written by The Kendog   
Thursday, 06 November 2014 16:15









Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog!



As an unapologetic fan of Christopher Nolan I find it difficult sometimes to approach his films from a subjective standpoint. That said, I don’t the man has made a bad, or even mediocre movie to this point in his career. Nolan has his detractors, to be sure, but I have to base any criticism of Nolan based on what is onscreen and not what others say about him. There are those who don’t like his latest INTERSTELLAR, but I’ll be damned if I could figure out why. For yours truly, INTERSTELLAR may be one of the finest science fiction films ever made, able to stand side by side with its cinematic inspiration, 2001: A SPACE ODESSEY.





INTERSELLAR tells the tale of a dying Earth. Chemical changes are causing crops to die out and the air to gradually become unbreathable. The only chance to save the human race is to find another inhabitable world. To do that, Cooper (Matthew McConaughay) a former astronaut turned farmer, is recruited by Dr. Brand (Nolan regular Michael Caine) to fly an advanced ship into a recently discovered wormhole near Saturn. Previous secret missions to explore the wormhole have come up with three distinct possibilities and it is up to Cooper and his crew (including Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi) to find the right planet and return before time runs out on Earth. From this setup we get an engrossing, exciting, and emotion mediation on love, exploration, space-time, and potential extinction that is as incredible as anything I’ve ever seen on the screen.




I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to watch a science fiction film that deals with big ideas without talking down to its audience. Some of the concepts involved in INTERSTELLAR may be a bit daunting for some, but stick with it and you will be rewarded. The script (by Christopher Nolan with his brother Jonathan) manages to capture all the necessary science without sacrificing the emotion inherent in the story. The result is nothing less than thrilling.




Nolan has always been a terrific visual director and he sets the bar even higher with this film. Some of the sights are literally jaw dropping. The initial encounter with the wormhole, the various planets and their specific environments, the spectacular black hole. . .all of these are realized with such craft and artistry that you forget you’re watching special effects. The film is terrific at conveying the vastness and inherent loneliness of space.



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There are so many ideas at play in INTERSTELLAR that, in the hands of a lesser director, the enterprise would become unwieldy at best. But Nolan deftly guides the ship through the complex narrative and makes it completely digestible for the audience while at the same time reveling in the small details that make the film unforgettable. I love the way Nolan uses time to create dramatic tension. (On the world nearest a black whole, relativity makes it so that every hour spent on the surface of the world is the equivalent of seven Earth years). Nolan manages to mix in theories about gravity being unbound by time and the possibility of time travel to marvelous effect.



 2001 still sets the standard for realistic depictions of space travel, but INTERSTELLAR is pretty close. It also serves as a more emotional journey than 2001. Let’s face it: Kubrick’s masterpiece is one of intellectual value. Emotionally, 2001 is a pretty cold fish, a characteristic that is pretty common for Kubrick’s films. I’m not necessarily saying that INTERSTELLAR is a better film than 2001, but I will say that I found INTERSTELLAR to be far more emotionally engaging than A SPACE ODYSSEY. The time elements create some truly heart wrenching moments as Cooper has to watch his kids grow into adults while he remains the same age.




The performances are all outstanding, with McConaughay leading the way. His Cooper is an internal optimist and it’s that attitude that gets him through some seriously messed up situations. As his young daughter, Mackenzie Foy does a wonderful job of providing something for Cooper to come back to. In fact, the entire first third of the film involving the day-to-day routine on the dying Earth is just as impressive as the space exploration that follows.




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Also providing excellent support are Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Michael Caine, and Matt Damon. Also very good are Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck as the grown-up versions of Cooper’s kids. Chastain in particular shoulders the tough burden of combining a scientific mind with a broken heart. Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of retaining an emotional grounding to the grandiose ideas being tossed about in INTERSTELLAR. I know some of my fellow reviewers thought the marriage of emotion and science fiction didn’t fit, but that opinion sure as hell doesn’t apply to me.   I think INTERSTELLAR is unique and terrific because of the emotional content.




So what doesn’t work? Well of me there is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” thing involving the climax of the film, but it doesn’t bother me so much as it makes me think about it. Just because I haven’t come up with a tidy solution yet doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Some of our scientific fans may take issue though, so you folks can consider yourselves warned.




Overall, INTERSTELLAR is a wonderful piece of science fiction that deserves to be seen and experienced on the big screen as soon as possible. A film such as this will also reward you for multiple viewings as it is impossible to process this masterpiece in one sitting.   Once again I’d like to thank good friend Doug Link at the Esquire IMAX for showing me a fantastic experience at the theaters. The Esquire has recently added new and more comfortable seats and the improvement is more than noticeable. If ever there was a movie made for the IMAX experience, INTERSTELLAR is it.   You can get tickets right here!    SO SAYETH THE KENDOG!



INTERSTELLAR Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 20:51

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