Interstellar (PG-13) ★★★½

Matthew McConaughey stars in "Interstellar." Photo credit: Paramount Pictures.
Matthew McConaughey stars in “Interstellar.” Photo credit: Paramount Pictures.

Stellar Sci-Fi

More often nowadays, films are fueling the conversations about the end of the world. Will we run out of food and supplies? Are we poisoning our air and water?  What can we even do about it?

In Christopher Nolan’s latest sci-fi adventure, Interstellar, audiences are exposed to a near future Earth that is desperately suffering from climate change, drought and food shortage. A small group of explorers (Matthew McConaughey, True Detective, 2014; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables, 2012; David Gyasi, Cloud Atlas, 2012; and Wes Bentley, Pioneer, 2013) are tasked to travel beyond our solar system and uncover a planet that can sustain life. During this interstellar voyage, it is necessary that they capture data about a newly discovered wormhole where one hour equates to seven years on earth. Fuel is running low, and tensions are high. This crew must surpass human space travel limits and endure the pressures of saving mankind before it’s simply too late.

Former NASA pilot, Cooper or “Coop” (McConaughey) is raising his two children Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and “Murph” (Mackenzie Foy), while living on their farm with grandpa (John Lithgow). This rural region has certainly seen better days. A quick trip through town shows its devastation – beaten pickup trucks and jeeps, masks, goggles, and dusty denim. Farmers fear the dust storms that have grown increasingly frequent and more intense. With each storm panic further ensues. Is the end really near? Is there any way to escape.

While many may remark that the trailers for Interstellar remind them of last year’s Oscar-winning hit, Gravity, I can assure you that this film is an original. It’s exceptionally detailed with remarkable visuals as Nolan, who is well known for his many mystery/thriller/sci-fi hits like The Dark Knight and Momento, does not disappoint here. The run time is too long, however, and the fluctuation between relativity in space, flashbacks and life on Earth can become confusing. Despite the mystery and fear of the unknown, McConaughey manages to keep audiences relatively calm with his tranquil voice. Hathaway complements McConaughey’s character as the younger, uptight scientist. The rest of the crew, Gyasi and Bentley work well in their roles, but have minimal screen time.

Coop loves his children, but has a special bond with Murph as her love for science and space match Coop’s passion. After Coop is recruited for a secret NASA mission, Murph is beyond devastated. Murph couldn’t come to terms with the fact that her father left and her stubbornness resulted in radio silence with her father during a majority of the years he spent in the stars.

Interstellar does not include a misplaced, unnecessary romantic storyline. The audience’s emotion and empathy stem from the deep father-daughter relationship between Coop and Murph as well as Coop’s intense desire to complete his mission so he can see his family again.

Father-daughter relationships are front and center in this film. Cooper’s boss Dr. Brand (Michael Caine, Now You See Me, 2013), is also the father of Coop’s colleague Dr. Amelia Brand (Hathaway). Dr. Brand (senior) develops the equations and theories behind their mission. He and Murph stay on Earth, while Cooper and the female Dr. Brand, take on the wormhole.

The score by Hans Zimmer, who also composed the score of dozens of classics (The Lion King, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Inception), unsurprisingly harmonizes the film. One memorable scene in particular is when Coop drives away in his truck with a heavy heart as he just said goodbye to his children who he may never see again. This scene is interchanged with a voiceover by Coop preparing the space shuttle for liftoff. Nolan takes audiences back and forth between these two scenarios. Coupled with sound effects and a climactic score, it undoubtedly shuttles audiences on a journey to the unknown 

Bottom-Line? Interstellar is worth a trip to the big screen, specifically an IMAX theater. The visuals of earth, the solar system and the galaxy are fascinating. There is no doubt that this movie was created to be an experience, and this experience is not one for your living room. (Note: This film is not recommended for those sensitive to motion sickness.)

Cast: Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Dr. Amelia Brand), Mackenzie Foy (Young Murph), Matt Damon (Dr. Mann), John Lithgow (Donald), Jessica Chastain (Adult Murph), David Gyasi (Romilly), Wes Bentley (Doyle), Timothée Chalamet (Tom), Topher Grace (Getty), Michael Caine (Professor Brand), Ellen Burstyn (Old Murph)

Credits: Directed by Christopher Nolan; Written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Run Time: 169 minutes

Jessica Aymond © November 3, 2014