That is the driving theme behind Christopher Nolan’s latest heady blockbuster as the filmmaker questions whether or not mankind has lost its drive to explore the world beyond our earth. The film opens on our dying planet; it wasn’t because of war or economics, the earth simply got tired of us. Farmers are now the most valuable workforce but the only thing that grows anymore is corn and that’s on the way out as well. Matthew McConaughey, continuing his acting hot streak, is one such an individual; an engineer and pilot whose dreams have been grounded but thanks to a chance discovery must now choose between remaining on a dying earth with his beloved children or risk never seeing them again in an attempt to find a new home for mankind among the stars.
Let’s get the inevitable Gravity comparisons out of the way first; if you go in expecting Interstellar to be just like Gravity you will walk away feeling very disappointed. While Gravity was a dynamic-yet-minimal reflection on despair and hope, Interstellar is a complex and science-dense pondering of space manifest destiny. One of the best things that can be said about Interstellar is that it doesn’t sacrifice intelligence for spectacle, which is all too common in our post-Transformers 4 world, and this is Nolan’s love letter to a time when science fiction focused on awe in the face of the unknown. The cast is solid quite solid, with McConaughey continuing to be one Hollywood’s most solid leads in recent years, but the real star of the movie are the settings. From the gritty Dust Bowl-inspired earth to the sterile vastness of space, Interstellar is a wondrous movie to behold ; one shot of a space station dwarfed by Saturn set to a soundtrack of crickets and thunder will haunt you for days. The plot itself is dense and confusing, largely in a good way, and there is likely to be rampant theorizing on internet message boards for years to come but this is just another sign that Christopher Nolan has succeeded with Interstellar; he has gotten us to to ask talk about what’s in store for mankind’s future.
Interstellar is a film of lofty ambition and emotional sincerity; a bit heavy handed here, a few plot missteps there, but who doesn’t admire the man juggling as he rides a unicycle? Even if our wonder is brief, even if he loses balance for a second or two, we the audience can admire that man for what he does and Interstellar is a lot like that. The movie is a balancing act between sincerity and melodrama and wobbles from time to time but Interstellar is inspired and admirable as it strives to be more than just a passive blockbuster. This is a movie made to reawaken our sense of wonder and one definitely worthy of our attentions. Interstellar is out now in theaters.
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