Movie Review: Interstellar

I missed this one in theaters because it came out in a time when I really just couldn’t be arsed to go to the movies. That was just a time when I simply wasn’t interested in watching any movies whatsoever. But I think I’m turning around to watching some more stuff now and I have quite a bit of catching up to do.

In any case, I think Interstellar is a beautiful movie. As much as it gets compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey and how it obviously wants to be compared to 2001, the two really don’t have much in common I feel. I mean sure, you have the wormhole versus the monolith but that can be also true of any other science fiction story that features interstellar space travel by means other than FTL travel. By the same decree this could easily be a reference to Event Horizon as well, though I highly doubt Christopher Nolan would make a reference to that piece of shit.

Outside of that I really love that this is a story about humanity and that it actually has a lot of humanity in it. Nolan’s previous movies have all been characterized by a distinct lack of humanity and emotional weight, more focused on telling stories with complex if largely stoic characters. But with Interstellar, I believe he and his brother managed to write a story that is primarily about not just saving humanity the species, but humanity the concept. So much of the plot is driven by actions based on affection rather than cold calculating logic, which is another stark contrast to 2001. Characters make mistakes and admit those mistakes. Not everything is calculated to the nth degree. And I believe this was done out of necessity because the film deals with such a dry subject matter, that it would’ve been a bore for modern audiences to watch something akin to 2001 in theaters. It’s one of the reasons why I can’t show 2001 to my friends despite it being my favorite movie of all time, I know that it would put them to sleep because they simply don’t approach movies the same way I do.

I don’t think I have to talk a lot about the science in this movie. Smarter people than me have already said enough about how plausible or implausible the concepts put forth by the movie are. Though I generally have to say that I greatly enjoyed the adherence to real science and how interstellar travel would theoretically actually work. And suffice it to say that I was really impressed by the twist when it was revealed. I already knew something like this was bound to happen because I believe Nolan is anything but a spiritual person so all the unexplained stuff he sets up in the beginning of the movie clearly need a payoff later on. And I feel that it neatly used the mechanics set up by early in the movie to turn the whole into more than the sum of its parts.

As a whole I think Interstellar might not have much to say though. See, traditionally good science fiction is always about tackling a problem by extrapolating from the original problem and presenting it in the most extreme conditions possible. It’s then about thinking of all kinds of possible scenarios where it could go horribly wrong and how to eventually deal with it. And Interstellar doesn’t do that. It favors emotional investment over posing complex conundrums. Strip out all the scientific nomenclature and replace it with standard bad sci-fi gobbledygook and the story stays exactly the same. That doesn’t bother me at all, but I think it’s worth highlighting, especially when compared and contrasted with Nolan’s previous work as well as the intended rigorous adherence to actual science.

Still, it’s an engaging piece of art. I might have to think about the movie some more in context with Nolan’s filmography, but as of right now, I feel Interstellar is his best work to date.