Wednesday, March 22, 2017


As of this writing, we are about two and a half years removed from when Interstellar (trailer) first hit theaters in 2014. I remember eagerly anticipating this film as I am a big fan of the director, Christopher Nolan. His previous few non-Batman films like The Prestige and Inception were quite the mind-benders that warranted repeat viewings so I could pay attention to catch all the little details I missed the first time around. When I saw the initial teasers for Interstellar I knew I would be in for a treat when Nolan would finally unleash a sci-fi epic!

Interstellar has an unusual mini-documentary style opening where elderly are being interviewed about what led to a mysterious blight on Earth, with frequent dust storms and the rapid extermination of crops until the only crop left is corn. Interstellar vaguely gives clues about what caused this calamity, but disappointingly never flatout says what happened to bring on the blight. Instead, the grander mystery at play is trying to find an exit plan to save Earth. That is done by having NASA’s Professor Brand (Michael Caine) recruit Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to join his team of astronauts at scouting several potential planets in distant solar systems that show signs of being able to sustain human life.

It is not as simple as that plot synopsis. If you are use to Nolan films, get ready for his standard three hour feature. That is not to the film’s detriment however, because like previous Nolan films, there is so much at play, and so much to take in that the lengthy runtime is over before you know it. Cooper is not instantly on board with NASA however, as the film’s first act is about everyday life for Cooper and his two kids, Murph (Jessica Chastain/Mackenzie Joy) & Tom (Timothée Chalamet/Casey Affleck). The production company went to great lengths with practical effects to give a glimpse of what living in a rotting world is like. While Interstellar has impeccable visual effects for all of its breathtaking scenes in space, its combined use of practical effects for the scenes on Earth made it a shoe-in for an Oscar win for best visual effects.

When Cooper eventually joins up with NASA, the film takes a different turn as a space survival/rescue mission that I had no idea how it would play out. Professor Brand and his daughter (Anne Hathaway) lay Earth’s survival plan out there in a way that spells out the science in simplistic ways for the rest of us scientifically-challenged folks. There are occasions where the astronauts will have brief moments of getting into the nuts and bolts of the science to explain various plot points, but it is never for any lengthy duration and they provide ample context so it did not blindly fly over my head.

There is a point during the space mission where things take a noticeable change in trajectory and leads to a thrilling final act. Coop & Brand are faced with many hurdles that they must overcome in their mission, and even on this repeat viewing I forgot about many little moments that impacted them along the way that were just as engaging to relive. While Coop & Brand are off in space, the film has a vital side story playing out back at home on Earth with Professor Brand and Coop’s children. For the final act Interstellar is constantly bouncing back between both Earth and Coop to show how while both scenes are taking place light years away, they are still having a instantaneous impact on one another in a way that I am not even going to attempt to explain. All I can say is that I am glad I finally got around to rewatching this because there are so many little factors at play that made it more convenient to piece the film together the second time around.

I would be lying if I said I did not have any qualms with this movie. I understand the direction Nolan wanted to go in with the documentary-interviews in the film, but they felt too ham-fisted and in-your-face. There were a few other too sudden moments that did not sit well with me. Professor Brand’s final scene took a turn for the sake of a turn that I was not a fan of. I also did not particularly care for Coop and Murph’s final scene together in the film and how dismissive Murph was of Coop. It kind of felt a little more justified on my second viewing, but the way it all went down comes off as absurdly rushed. In the end though, I am splitting hairs as these gripes do not take a lot out of how much I enjoyed Interstellar overall.

The BluRay I have came with a second disc of extra features adding up to roughly two and a half hours of bonus materials. I will give props to Warner Bros. for having subtitles on the extras since it is not that common among most movies. The primary bonus feature is The Science of Interstellar, a 50 minute showcase on the current technology from NASA that is already out there trying to achieve what Interstellar showed, but on a smaller scale. It is very well put together, and presents the possibilities of time travel with modern tech and how the Kepler telescope is out there already scouting planets that can sustain human life.

On top of that there are 13 much shorter features available ranging from 2 to 13 minutes in length. Many of these go deep into the nuts and bolts of the production and special effects processes and can be a bit much to take in if you are not into those fields. If I were to recommend just two of those 13 however then check out Life on Cooper’s Farm and Shooting in Iceland. The former shows how the filmmakers lucked out in picking the only spot in Alberta capable of growing corn for the film and how it did not cost them a thing since they made their money back selling it. The latter presents the many different environments of Iceland and why it worked for shooting scenes that take place on other planets.

I am still as high on Interstellar as I was after my initial viewing when it hit theaters. It appears to be a divisive film whenever I bring it up to people in recent months with people both loving it and knocking it. If you are a sci-fi fan and need a break from Star Trek and Star Wars, then grab a six pack and a bowl of popcorn and marathon through this, Gravity and Arrival for three of my personal picks for top shelf recent sci-fi.

Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs

12 Angry Men (1957)
12 Rounds 3: Lockdown
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: The Killing Joke
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
Bounty Hunters
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Christmas Eve
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
The Condemned 2
Dirty Work
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
The Fighter
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Hercules: Reborn
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Mortal Kombat
The Replacements
Rocky I-VII
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
San Andreas
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Steve Jobs
Source Code
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
Veronica Mars
The Wrestler (2008)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

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