in Review


Since Interstellar came out, how has the world changed for you? It’s been about a month (sorry about that) and I don’t think anyone’s really talking about this movie anymore, having moved on to discussing all the teaser trailers that have debuted recently. Personally, I’ve had a draft of this review in the back of my head for pretty much that entire month, so Interstellar has never been far from my thoughts.

Immediately after I saw Interstellar on opening night, I was disappointed. Disappointed that a movie with so much ambition and scope succumbed to the same problems Chris Nolan movies tend to: plot contrivances that don’t stand up to scrutiny, clunky expositional dialogue, a third act that is designed to resolve everything somehow too neatly. Those problems stood out more to me because this wasn’t an action movie like everything else Nolan has done recently, this was a sci fi odyssey meant to illuminate the true nature of humanity. I knew what I wanted Interstellar to be and it didn’t live up to that.

It pisses me off that mankind, I’m talking about all of us in real life now, doesn’t seem more interested in space exploration. You know the big line from the movie, the one that feels kind of weird in the actual film but works great for all the marketing? “Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here.” That’s how I’ve felt my entire life, and it baffles me that 99.99% of our money doesn’t go straight to NASA. So I was real excited for a movie that shows the folly of our species’ current path, and hope for the future. I was ready for a movie that had people furious about global warming and unsustainable consumption. That’s what I wanted. Chris Nolan wanted to make a movie about love and gravity.

The second time I saw this movie, it was a few weeks later in an IMAX theater. I still hadn’t read any reviews – I am one of those people who tries not to read reviews of things I want to review myself until I actually write something – but I had talked to some people about their thoughts on the movie. Also, I heard from Neil DeGrasse Tyson that some of the science in the movie is pretty accurate, and a lot of it deals with concepts that we straight up don’t understand right now. All that helped me get out of my own head and enjoy Interstellar for what it is.

This is a movie obsessed with the theory of relativity, among other ideas at the limits of our understanding of astrophysics and even beyond that. Get ready for many, many discussions about wormholes, black holes, gravitational anomalies and other science facts. Interstellar‘s greatest achievement is how it marries real-life science with cinematic spectacle. Every trippy, jaw-dropping moment in this movie is made slightly better with the knowledge that this might actually be how something in our universe really works. This might actually be a thing out here in the place where we live.

And don’t let the epic length fool you, Interstellar is an exciting movie. There are a few scenes in this movie that I feel like jocks and geeks alike will remember fondly in the years to come: the trip through the wormhole, the first new world, the docking sequence. Nolan is a master of building tension and giving dramatic actions exactly as much weight as they deserve. And if you don’t think about it too much, it’s all awesome.

Yeah… I just can’t turn that part of me off, even after a month. There are parts of Interstellar that frankly seem dumb to me, and in a movie like this, that’s a problem. Inception kind of had this problem too, where if you pick at the plot threads a little bit it all unravels terribly, but it wasn’t a big deal because it was an action movie set in a dream world – that’s kind of the deal there. The end of Interstellar is just deeply unsatisfying to me, that’s about all I can say without writing a whole other post about that specific topic.

But a few bumps in the road doesn’t mean it’s not worth the drive. Especially when it’s something as ambitious as Interstellar, which is still in theaters and deserves to be seen on the big screen. Come on, what have you got to lose? The crowds are gone at this point. Get out there and see the stars.