Saturday, July 22, 2017

Movie Review: Interstellar

Christopher Nolan takes on space travel in a scientific thriller. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a scientist and former pilot haunted by his past accidents. He lives with his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and his grandfather Donald (John Lithgow). Murph is convinced that a ghost is in her room but Cooper tells her to use the scientific method. Crops are dying and people are assigned to their careers as resources are being consolidated. When Cooper finds a signal coming from Murph's room, Murph deciphers a binary code from the bookshelf. He follows the coordinates to a military base when he learns about a mission to space. The NASA scientist Brand (Anne Hathaway) takes Cooper to a meeting with her father (Michael Caine) and others including a robot.

The mission hopes to search for a new habitable world and they invite Cooper to come along with his engineering and piloting skills. Despite a message from the bookshelf to stay, Cooper goes on the mission rocketing into space with Brand, Doyle (Wes Bentley), and Romilly (David Gyasi). Their search for habitable planets takes them through a black hole to a solar system with three potential planets. The biggest complication is gravity and relativity cause for a huge time jump that will change every hour into seven years back on Earth. The first planet is a water planet that has giant tidal waves heading towards their spaceship. Doyle is wiped out by the wave but Brand is saved by the robot. They are stuck on the planet for longer than they had hoped because the engines are waterlogged.

They are following a message from interdimensional beings that can treat time as another dimension. They make it off the planet to find Romilly having waited for twenty-three years. Cooper listens to the messages watching Murph (Jessica Chastain) and Tom (Casey Affleck) grow up. They debate which of the two planets to try next but Cooper votes to against what Brand wants because she loves a scientist on one of the planets. They head to the planet where Mann (Matt Damon) has survived by putting himself in hibernation. The world is cold and harsh. The situation on Earth has grown dire with dust clouds and humans steadily going sick. When Professor Brand dies, it is revealed that he never hoped to save humans on Earth. Getty (Topher Grace) works with Murph to help Tom's family but they are sick. Tom fight with Getty when he claims they have to leave the farm.

Mann tries to kill Cooper because he faked the data and doesn't want to be alone. He wanted to be saved so the two men fight in their spaceships on an icy mountain of the frozen planet. Cooper's mask cracks but Brand flies out to save him. Romilly discovers that the data is wrong but the habitat explodes. Mann steals a craft and heads up to the spaceship but blows the airlock. Cooper and Rand have to match the spin of the out of control ship to board. Their new plan is for Cooper to fly towards the black hole to send a message back to the humans on Earth while Brand checks out the other planet. Somehow the black hole transports Cooper back in time to allow him to communicate with Murph through the bookshelf because gravity can cross the dimensions through time. This part always felt a bit odd and a strange solution to an interesting movie. Cooper survives and wakes up on a space station with a thriving human society. Murph (Ellen Burstyn) arrives at the space station to see her father again. Brand has also started a colony on the third planet in the system. There is plenty of hope for the future at the end.

Interstellar was a bit of a disappoint for me when I first saw it. I liked the science and the depiction of relativity but plenty of parts seemed boring and the ending was a bit ridiculous. McConaughey and Hathaway were good with Christopher Nolan's directing showing his same skill but a confusing story hurts many parts of this film. The pace plods along but then there are intense scenes that are fun but are also hurt from Nolan's difficulty with filming action scenes. The movie was better on the second viewing and I understand why people enjoyed it so much. I've had fun revisiting the great director's work progressing from a simple black and white film to an epic space journey and look forward to seeing his latest in theaters tomorrow. 

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