Movie of the Month: Interstellar

interstellar-3840x2160This month’s featured movie is the sci-fi adventure Interstellar, a hard-hitting space drama that’s torn between the efforts to save humanity and one man’s fight to stay connected to his family.

If you like movies similar to Inception, where there is plenty of brain bending to make the story work, then Interstellar is right up your alley. It’s not as far out as Cloud Atlas, so don’t worry – but there are a few 2001: Space Odyssey type elements floating around that make it a little strange.

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Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a pilot turned corn farmer in Earth’s last desperate attempt to continue to feed itself. Humanity is indeed on the brink as blight kills off crops, much like the great potato famine. It is clear that the situation is not going to improve and so an undercover NASA program is tasked to find a way of preserving the human race.

Their solution is to find a new world to colonize. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. The nearest habitable worlds are light years away and any efforts to find them are futile simply because of the amount of time it would take. Interstellar had a whole team of astrophysicists figure out how it could be done and then used their calculations to generate the imagery in the film, cool eh?

In Interstellar, there is a singularity located conveniently within our solar system that leads to a different system with several potential habitable worlds. However, due to a bunch of theory of relativity issues, any landfall the explorers make results in epic time loss for those on earth and also anyone who remains on the ship. This results in a very fast paced film as Cooper fights for every second lost in order to reunite with his daughter.

It’s the last third of the film that gets a little screwy. The explorers find themselves in a hopeless situation. There is no way to return important data back to earth for NASA’s colony ship to be able to break free from the surface (another plot strand…) and there is no way for the explorers to survive on the current alien world. They have to decide if they are going to sacrifice themselves to save humanity or save themselves but doom civilization.

interstellar-anne-hathawayThe only way to get the needed data back is to send a probe into the black hole. Cooper and Amelia (played by Anne Hathaway) must separate to give the greatest chance at success.  Amelia’s ship has colonizing equipment to set up another home world and can ensure the survival of the species should the worst outcome happen, so her success is critical. Cooper takes the other part of the ship and heads into the blackhole.

He ends in a time bent fifth dimentional tesseract that enables him to pass on the needed information to NASA. I said it got trippy –  this is the epicenter of trippy here and why I reference Space Odyssey.  Turns out that all the strange phenomenon that they had seen in the beginning of the film was actually Cooper in the fifth dimension trying to communicate with his daughter in the past.

Do I recommend Interstellar? Yes, with caution. This is a film meant for people who love to think in an abstract and twisted way. Those who just like a good story that doesn’t demand much of the watcher will find themselves lost and confused quickly. If you like time travel paradoxes, you’ll like it. If you don’t, then I wouldn’t recommend it.

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6 thoughts on “Movie of the Month: Interstellar

  1. You’ve kind of got me interested. I’ve heard only bad things about it to date (plus not really a fan of McConaughey) . However, I am the type of person who can follow and likes a complicated story. On the other hand, I am picky about my time travel (I’ve thought about writing a guide for writers who want to use it). If the way in which the writer handles the paradoxes don’t make sense or contradict, or at least aren’t funny (I’ll forgive holes in logic for humor – like in Back to The Future, for example), then it irks me much, but it still could still be interesting for the academic exercise of analyzing it.

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  2. I’m back, like I said I would be, because I saw the movie, like I said I would. And you know what, I really liked it. It was very well done on a lot of levels. I told my family about it and they watched it while the 48 hour rental was still available. Two out of three of them fell asleep (not a reflection of the movie, I don’t think – it was late) but the other, my second child, said it was the best movie she had ever seen, her new favorite. I asked her if she cried, because she cries easily at movies, and this one was no exception, because it is a tear jerker. I cried too, alone in my room, watching it by myself, but don’t tell anyone because I will deny it! I loved the way it dealt with the science. I loved the way it depicted the future – little details like when the old people were talking about the modern “dust bowl” as if it could have been the past, and then they wipe dirt off of a laptop. His house turned into a museum, with TVs in it (I was just in a museum like that). The daughter wanting to know whether her dad left her on earth to die. Almost everything that you might have said, “that doesn’t make sense,” they explained in a way that worked. It was a very thoughtful movie. Even at the end, when he gets home to see his daughter as an old woman. He looks at her and it feels like he still sees the little girl, in this old woman, and she still is that little girl. I thought about writing a blog about it, I feel like I have so much to say, but at least I needed to come here and let you know, as promised. Thanks for getting me interested.

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    • I’m so glad you came back, and even more so, I’m super excited how much you enjoyed the movie. I hesitate to recommend movies, so it’s always a treat to hear such a glowing review based off of something I’ve recommended.

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