Long-awaited Interstellar: entertaining yet revelatory

Arts & Events

 

Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited and shamelessly promoted Interstellar does not disappoint. Interstellar revitalizes the tired concept of space exploration and provides audiences with an unforgettable viewing experience.

Sometime in the future, a ways out (it’s unspecified) planet Earth becomes uninhabitable for humans because, apparently, corn won’t grow anymore. The planet is overrun with dust; winds and dust storms as a result of said dust and wind.

The story’s protagonist, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), previously an engineer, is now a corn farmer as a result of the government shutting down NASA, whom he was training to work for. With the ever-increasing scarcity of the Earth’s resources, what the world needs is not more engineers, but more farmers. It’s only when Cooper and his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy), decode a “message” that is sent to them that Cooper is given the chance to pursue his would-be career as an astronaut.

Cooper discovers the secret, now underground NASA. Dr. Brand (Michael Caine), Cooper’s old professor, reveals to him his solution to save the human species.  NASA will send Cooper, along with a team of other reasonably qualified individuals, into space to go through a wormhole into another galaxy that allegedly contains at least three planets that are presumed to be habitable. There they will find a new planet for the human race to thrive. “The human race began on Earth. We were never meant to die here,” he says.

Cooper makes a difficult decision to leave his family in order to, hopefully, find a solution in the form of another habitable planet, and save mankind as a whole. As the mission goes on, however, the possibility that Cooper will not get back to Earth in time to see his kids becomes an ever present reality.

Interstellar focuses a lot on the theory of relativity, and the idea that in different parts of space, time moves at different speeds. “When I get back, we may be the same age,” Cooper says to his daughter Murph upon departure. Interstellar does not explain relativity so much as it merely relies upon it as a plot device to raise stakes, which is admittedly annoying and does cheapen the build of suspense.

While silly at times, primarily in its overemphasis on the close relationship between Cooper and his daughter, Murph (Jessica Chastain) and the overemphasis on the relationship’s reliance on the theory of relativity,  Interstellar is, on the whole, compelling. Interstellar elegantly executes the mystery that is space, and offers new and exciting commentary on space exploration in a way the supposedly comparable films Gravity, or Space Jam did not.  Both Gravity and Space Jam contained many scientific inaccuracies, and both presented space exploration in a cheesy and contrived way. Interstellar however explores the idea of other galaxies, other dimensions, and does so in a way that is comprehensible, and entertaining.

A huge part of what makes Interstellar so fantastic is its breathtaking aesthetic. Shot on both 35MM and IMAX cameras, the film is a visual masterpiece. To minimize the use of CGI in the film, Nolan commissioned the building of the interior of the spacecraft, where many of the scenes take place.

Interstellar is beautiful, and in ways, revelatory. The idea that humankind cannot forever exist on Earth as a result of its ever-dwindling resources is obviously not new nor unfounded, but is often forgotten and pushed into the background. Interstellar presents space exploration as something necessary, exciting, and most of all, feasible. While it is simply a work of fiction, the reasonably accurate science applied to the film’s plot lends it an authenticity, that again, Gravity and Space Jam did not have. Interstellar is a masterpiece unrivaled by any other film with its subject matter.

 

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