Interstellar sparks mixed reactions

Matthew McConaughey leads a stacked cast in a movie that has strong opinions from movie-goers on both sides.

Is Interstellar a good movie or did Christopher Nolan finally show some chinks in his armor? That is the question that has plagued the movie-going world since Interstellar‘s release last weekend and fueled intense debate. With Christopher Nolan at the helm coming off his first film since the completion of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar was a new step in the renowned director’s career. With a remarkable body of work that includes The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige and Memento, Nolan took on a project that you can feel as an audience member he felt strongly about. 

I love Christopher Nolan. He is my favorite director, and I absolutely adore his movies. I think it’s fair to assume which way I’m going to lean toward as far as the debate among movie-goers. My intention with this review is to simply say why the movie worked for me. You can agree or disagree, and I would totally understand both sides of the argument. This will contain spoilers.

Interstellar‘s Foundation

First and foremost, I really believe this is the strongest cast Nolan has ever assembled. Sometimes movies have one great performance, and other times a film has a great acting duo. However, it’s rare to see a cast work from top to bottom.

Matthew McConaughey put together another spectacular performance in his recent rebirth since his phenomenal 2013 that was capped off with his Oscar-winning performance in The Dallas Buyers Club (Although I never thought he was a bad actor, many others have). He provided the movie with both charm and real emotion.

In her second straight Nolan film, Anne Hathaway provided another solid performance, and she built amazing chemistry with McConaughey’s character as the two traveled through space.

I believe Jessica Chastain to be the best actress out there right now, slightly above Jennifer Lawrence and possibly her co-star Hathaway. I’ve loved her since her spectacular performance in Zero Dark Thirty, which she should have won an Oscar for back in 2012. The command she has on every scene is phenomenal. You don’t see that as often in other actresses, and nobody does it better than her.

I also have to mention Mackenzie Foy as young Murph. She successfully separated herself from the Twilight franchise, and provided a great and important performance in Interstellar. Without her strong skills as a child actor, the film wouldn’t have left the ground. The bond between McConaughey and Foy felt so real that it had me crying when I would watch the trailer. Without that connection between the two, the audience wouldn’t have cared about McConaughey’s ultimate goal of getting back to his daughter.

There are so many others that I could go through individually, but this segment has already been too long. I’ll just list Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Michael Cain (As to be expected in every Nolan film), John Lithgow and even Topher Grace, who needs to get down on his knees and thank Nolan for casting him in the film. It will most certainly help his career that has been suffering since his portrayal of Venom in Spider Man 3.

Ok sorry, I need to mention two more characters, Case and especially Tars. They are robots, they are better characters than Sandra Bullock in Gravity, which is one of the most overrated performances of all time in one of the most overrated movies of all time. Sorry, this isn’t supposed to be a Gravity bashing segment, but seriously. These robots had more character development than Sandra Bullock. These robots had personality that made you get a human attachment to them. Something that is difficult for any movie.

I feel like this is a point that everyone could agree on. The visuals were absolutely breathtaking. See this in an IMAX theater. It’s worth the money. Enough said.

Another short segment…the score…Hans Zimmer…amazing…as always…enough said.

The Best Scene of the Year

The docking scene in this movie that comes toward the end of the film is breathtakingly beautiful. It is the best scene of the year (Overtaking Quicksilver’s kitchen scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past). I bring it up because it is the scene that encompasses the foundation of the film. With great character development of McConaughey, Hathaway, Tars and Case, the spectacular visuals and the phenomenal score, the scene captures a perfect moment that embodies all I have talked about in this post. I hope YouTube doesn’t take it down, but click here to view this incredible scene.

The Complaints

The main complaint of the movie is centered on the question “how?” Obviously, some of the things that happen in the movie are not possible, but to put it simply…it’s a movie. The genre is called science FICTION. It explores things that we couldn’t possibly understand, because they don’t exist. That’s why it’s odd to me when I hear the main complaint of the movie is that it didn’t make sense. I don’t think it’s supposed to. When McConaughey and Tars go into the black hole, they don’t even really understand it. McConaughey comes up with theories, but also acknowledges that it’s beyond our comprehension.

Theme: Love Transcends Space and Time

Love is the concept that Nolan explores. But he does it in a fictional way. The only thing that McConaughey truly understands when he’s in the black hole is that the love for his daughter brought him through space and time to communicate with her. Is that possible? No, but again it’s a fictional movie. And in this particular science fiction film, love is what keeps the human race going. What’s believable about the movie is that it takes the characters a while to understand that.

The movie had a chance for a total cop out, but it stuck to the science. The crew faced a choice of going to a planet that was the obvious choice or traveling to a different planet that Hathaway wanted to go to because she loved the person who was put in charge of that particular Lazarus mission. They ended up choosing the planet that through common sense was the right choice. If they had said, “Sure, we’ll go just because you’re in love with the guy, and we need to follow our hearts,” that would have been a cop out. But that concept of love had to develop throughout the movie in the same way any great film develops characters.

Props to Interstellar

Instead of exploring the usual father-son relationship, Interstellar delved into the father-daughter relationship because believe it or not, those exist too. I had to mention that because it was a fresh take on a parent to child relationship. How to Train Your Dragon 2 did the same thing except it was a mother-son relationship. It is an aspect that made both these movies great and original.

A Victim of his Success

I truly believe that a lot of the backlash Nolan is getting from this film comes from the high expectations of him as a director. Before this, some would say Nolan had never made a bad film. I still say that, but I feel like with audiences in general he has to make the perfect movie or people will be disappointed at this point.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Interstellar is fantastic film if you allow yourself to be immersed in the universe it creates. I don’t think this is Christopher Nolan’s best film, but with his body of work that is not much of a criticism. It has flaws, but the film has such overwhelming positives that you quickly forget the negatives.

I’ll give Interstellar 5 out of 5 cups.

Cup of Joe   Cup of Joe   Cup of Joe   Cup of Joe   Cup of Joe

As of Nov. 12, Interstellar made a domestic total of approximately $65 million versus a production budget of approximately $165 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Interstellar has a rating of 74% at Rotten Tomatoes while users at the Internet Movie Database gave it 9 out of 10 stars.

To see the movie trailer for Interstellar, click here.

About dukemich

Samuel L. Jackson
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