Interstellar – film review

"Interstellar" theatrical IMAX teaser poster.
“Interstellar” theatrical IMAX teaser poster.
I’d heard good things about Interstellar over the last couple years, but I only recently got around to watching it. It tells the story of Joseph Cooper, a former NASA pilot who is struggling to help his family survive in the near future. As crops wither and die all around the world, Cooper finds out NASA is still operating in secret and he is asked to pilot a ship through a newly-discovered wormhole to find an Earth-like planet from a list of potentials in order to save humanity.

This film was 2 hours and 49 minutes long, so there is a lot to cover here. I found a few of the scenes to be too long or unnecessary. The editor could have cut 20 minutes or so from the film and it would have still been just as good. There were a few moments that seemed to scream, “Time for a dramatic pose, and…pose! Hold it…hold it…okay, that’s good.” Some of these had a weaker emotional impact because of the pacing. Oddly, there were a also couple scenes where the pacing was a little too quick, not giving enough time to really understand what happened.

Matthew McConaughey did a great job as the main character, Cooper. He’s always good at playing the down-home character who is smarter than he seems at first glance. He also had a bit of a “Mary Sue” vibe going, what with his almost god-like ability to pull off just about anything. Amelia (played by Anne Hathaway) was a very interesting character, and very smart. I loved seeing Amelia and Cooper’s daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy when young, and Jessica Chastain when older), playing such important roles in Interstellar. The dig at moon landing hoaxers was especially fun.

I was reminded of several anime films and series while watching this film. Because of the time dilation experienced by Cooper and his crew, the video letters from home sequences reminded me a lot of one of my favorites, Voices of a Distant Star. The de-spin sequence (and the intense moments leading up to it) reminded me of several different Gundam series, as well as of Planetes. I think some of the people working on the film may have been inspired by a few of these shows.

Interstellar was definitely dystopian (at least at the beginning), though it felt a different than a lot of others. Society hadn’t completely collapsed, though there were some obvious changes. Things were enough different to let the viewer know it was a little bit in the future, but not too far. There was a bit of doom-and-gloom in the beginning of the film, too. However, every time the film started toward being overly environmentally preachy, it corrected itself and went back to telling an interesting story with only a slight seasoning of environmentalism. It had a lot of those almost-preachy moments, however, which built up a little and negatively impacted my enjoyment.

Hans Zimmer had a light touch with the music for Interstellar. He knew just the right moments to include the music, and when to let silence work its magic. Silence is not used effectively by many Western film makers, and it can have a huge impact. Zimmer did this well. None of the music seemed out of place, either, making the music blend seamlessly with the rest of the film.

There were a couple other odd moments in the film (Cooper’s initially suspicious nature with Dr. Brand-the-elder, for example), but I really liked this film. It was long on story, and the characters were almost all interesting. I will definitely be watching Interstellar again, and it already has a place in my library.

Release Date: November 5, 2014 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 95%


Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief social drinking)
Language: 2 (some minor and deity, brief stronger)
Nudity: 0
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 1 (brief fisticuffs, extreme peril, attempted murder)

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