Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Interstellar

To be honest, I actually missed most (if not all) of the pre-Interstellar hype... who knows, this might have been during the time I was finding a love for gardening or sharpening up my non-existent juggling skills. The point is, when Interstellar arrived in theatres, I was left with a bit of a confused look on my face: Why the hell are people so obsessed with this film? It was more than enough to whet my curiosity though and get me to buy a movie ticket. At the very least, I was excited to see if this would be another ‘stellar’ performance for Matthew McConaughey, whose sudden breakaway from shitty rom coms to serious acting roles has left me quite intrigued.

First impressions of Interstellar are great. I must admit, that I really liked the Western-ish, kinda post-apocalyptic backdrop chosen by director Christopher Nolan for the first part of the film. The film takes a quite generous amount of time to introduce you to a world slowly dying due to all of mankind’s bad judgements. And the dust motive will definitely resonate with anyone that’s ever been to Oppikoppi! During this time, you get to experience the depression and anxiety that comes from a world that really doesn’t have much hope for a dramatic turnaround. There isn’t much of a sense of rush, as humankind sits idly by, waiting for the end of days. All of this is quite dandy and to be honest, I would have been happy to spend more time on earth with Nolan, exploring the daily challenges of this dying world and the added complexities they bring to normal human relationships.

" I would have been happy to spend more time on earth with Nolan, exploring the daily challenges of this dying world and the added complexities they bring to normal human relationships." 

But judging by the movie title, it’s very obvious that the film will take a very different turn. This turn comes in the form of the protagonist (who happens to be an amazing astronaut) being enlisted to undertake a trip into space with a handful of grouchy cabin mates. The purpose? To find mankind a new home, or at least something a tad less dusty (you don’t understand how dusty earth becomes in the future). Anyways, this is where things really start getting interesting, as our space travellers are left with some very difficult decisions regarding which direction in space they should go. And it’s a decision that can mean the final swan song for mankind (dum dum dum).

One thing that I really did appreciate was how real this first part of the space adventure felt. The special effects were great, but nothing felt overdone, which made it all feel that much more believable. Sure, some (or probably most) of the film’s science is not science at all, but the cast does do a good job in convincing you that this could all indeed be possible... if you don’t think about it too hard. If you’re just after a fun space movie with a few interesting twists and turns, Interstellar won’t disappoint. There’s even a very unexpected scare that had me jolting out of my seat and caused a fellow movie goer to grab my leg. Yeah, definitely date night material.

But don’t think that means this movie is just a shallow sci-fi adventure either! The complex relationship between Hathaway and McConaughey is an interesting one to see develop and it definitely helps the film move along in some of the less eventful periods thereof. In saying that though, I don’t care much for Matt Damon and honestly didn’t feel much for his part in this film either (haters gonna hate). But, it’s the space team’s relationships with those that they left behind on earth that are undeniably the crowning achievement of the film. You see, time progresses at a different rate in space, which has the consequence of our brave space travellers not aging as quickly as they would have if they were still on earth, resulting in their children and other loved ones growing older much faster than they do (you following this shit?). This results in some thought provoking ‘letters from home’, as the space team is forced to see their children grow old without them and even overtake them in terms of actual age. This is a very powerful, emotionally hitting theme and really manages to give the film a strong sense of resonance.

"...it’s the space team’s relationships with those that they left behind on earth that are undeniably the crowning achievement of the film."

And then, just as things get interesting, it gets well, too interesting, as the plot suddenly goes completely off the rail tracks. I don’t want to give anything away, but in my opinion, the film’s concluding half-an-hour (which aims to tie up some lose strings) is completely whack (and trippy as they come) and only manages to diminish the overall impact of the film. Most of the time, you can get away with a complete WTF ending in a sci-fi film, but I have to admit that this ending left me more confused than intrigued. Even worse, it all ends up leaning towards the corny (no pun intended) side of things, which is such a shame for a film that takes so much care developing strong and authentic emotional themes up until this point.

Don’t get me wrong folks, Interstellar is a great sci-fi epic by any standards, I just felt that it fell a bit at the final hurdle. Who knows? You might even love the rest of the movie so much that you can convince yourself that you loved the ending too. Different strokes for different blokes. Nevertheless, you need to go see this one if you haven’t yet, as I’m sure all the cool kids in your school are talking about it.

Even Hathaway know this shit is too whacked to work! 

Highlight: Definitely those letters from home... touching stuff, even for a manly man like myself.