The much-anticipated Christopher Nolan movie of the year is here. The Nolan brothers – Jonathan and Christopher – have so far created Memento, Inception, the Batman Trilogy and to some extent Man of Steel. Although Interstellar is marketed as a space thriller with story of space-travelers in quest of a habitable planet, it is also an extension in their signature areas of time paradoxes and alternate realities. It can also be seen as tribute to legendary sci-fi films the Nolan brother grew up with including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars. But Christopher Nolan also intended this to be a family film – not a social drama, a bit edgy, insecure at times, but real.
|Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Lynda Obst
|Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
|Syncopy, Lynda Obst Productions , Legendary Pictures
|Paramount Pictures (North America), Warner Bros. Pictures (Other Terretorries)
|Hoyte van Hoytema
|October 26, 2014 (premiere), November 5, 2014 (North America), November 7, 2014 (UK),
Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Amelia Brand), David Gyasi (Romilly),
|Not available yet…
When the films starts, it is somewhere in future in United States. Life is very different than we know today. Dust storms are part of everyday life and edible crops are falling victim to blight. The world is running out of food. The priority of nations is creating farmers and food rather than investing into new gadgets, war machines or space exploration. In midst of all these, lives a small family, Cooper, his son Tom, his daughter Murphy and his father-in-law Donald. Ten year old Murph seems to have interesting interactions with what she calls her ghost. On one dirt-filled day, Murph’s ghost sends them a message through gravitational anomaly – a set of co-ordinates.
Following the co-ordinates, Cooper and Murph arrive to a clandestine, protected facility which is the current day version of NASA. It turns out Cooper worked as a NASA test pilot prior to turning into a farmer. He meets Professor Brand and his team who are working on a solution to save mankind as the Earth, instead of a perfectly balanced heaven to sustain life, is becoming inhabitable with every single passing day. Plan A is to find a planet out there and move the humans there. Plan B is to find a planet out there and take the batches of frozen lab containers that can produce humans in future. Cooper is invited to join this mission called Endurance. The first question of course is that in all the years and years of space exploration, we have not come across a galaxy that has a promise of a planet suited for survival of humans, let alone the years of travel it will take to reach there, should we happen to find one.
The answer is a wormhole, opened by the mysterious “them” near Saturn. NASA sent ten scientists through this wormhole on what was called a “Lazarus Mission” (in memory of Lazarus of Bethany, who was raised from dead by Jesus Christ). And good news is that three of these scientists, namely Mann, Edmunds and Miller, have found potentially habitable planets. The next step is to send the spacecraft Endurance to these planets and Cooper is invited to pilot this. Leaving his kids behind would be the hardest thing Cooper has ever done, especially Murph who takes his parting very badly, but it is the hope of saving their future that propels him on and he accept to join Amelia Brand, Romilly, Doyle and multipurpose, entertaining and efficient giant robots TARS and CASE on Endurance. It is only two years to Saturn and unknown from there.
They reach the Saturn, but it is travel through wormhole where you really feel the thrill of the space travel and the movie picks up the pace. It is exciting and very well done. The space travelers seemingly come across the mysterious beings who have opened this world that comprises of five dimensions: x, y, z, time and gravity. If you are a physics aficionado, you’ll love it from here. They are through the wormhole and targeting towards Miller’s signals when the first problem shows up, actually not, because it is a giant black hole, aptly named Gargantua. They decide to tiptoe around it and land on Miller’s planet, only to find a broken transmitter and giant tidal waves that kill Doyle and delay Cooper and Amelia’s departure back. Thanks to the black hole the time relativity is on, and although it has taken Amelia and Cooper only a few hours, 23 years have passed on Endurance and on the Earth. Romilly who was left in charge of Endurance is an old man. Their first encounter with time and gravity does not appear to have gone as calculated.
They have a choice to make: Edmunds or Mann. Both have sent promising data but Cooper chooses Dr Mann, considering he was more experienced and leader of the Lazarus mission. There is also the small factor that beautiful Amelia is in love with Edmunds. While she tries to explain Love as an anomaly that transits through limits of time and space and gravity, that it is a mysterious force that we do not understand completely yet and attempts at explaining the gut feeling she has for Edmund’s planet, the mission choses Dr Mann. To their joy, they arrive on an iced-up, ammonia saturated planet to find Mann in Stasis and revive him. However, there is a little problem that he has forged all data and following a disastrous encounter with Cooper, the voyage to this cold storage ends in Romilly dying, part of Endurance destroyed and Dr Mann killing himself through combination of cowardice, misplaced notions of saving humanity and a mind tortured to insanity.
Meanwhile, decades have passed on Earth. Life has become only worse. Cooper’s children are grown up. Tom manages the farm and Murph has joined Professor Brand at NASA. When Professor Brand dies, she learns a terrible truth. Plan A was never meant to happen. The humans that are left on Earth are to die on Earth. Did her father knowingly betray her and left her to die? Is there no solution to the gravity problem?
On Endurance, they have run out of resources now. Their last hope is Edmund’s planet and there is only one way to reach there. They have to go on the periphery of Gargantua and slingshot Endurance. That way at least the population bombs will reach a potential planet with life and human race will be saved. Cooper and TARS throw themselves in the Black Hole so Amelia and Endurance can move forward. What will she find on that planet? Is it one more wild goose chase with no end results like the other two?
And what happens inside the Black Hole? As you know, a Black Hole is essentially a tiny singularity with infinite mass by virtue of which it creates an enormous gravitational pull. There are a few theories as to what happens if one landed inside the Black Hole and with help of real-life physicist Kip Thorne, the writer-director duo have pursued a very interesting solution to achieve answers to all the mysteries that appear throughout the film. The Nolans are in their element here, the time paradigm shifts, multi-dimensional spaces, relativity of time as you travel through space and surreal worlds…….
The space travel, the black hole, the worm hole, sur-realities and all the computer generated graphics are just splendid. A few moments actually made me sit up with anticipation. One of the biggest plus points of “Interstellar” is that some of the most difficult and profound theories of physics are weaved into the script such that even non-scientific audience can enjoy the effects. The only limitation with this film is when it suddenly feels slack once in a while and looses pace. While some of the human interfaces and emotional scenarios sparkle with characteristic Nolan discussions about morals, ethics and behaviours, some others could very well have been cut and the film could have been made tighter, more of a thriller than it is. The background music also feels out of pace and ominous sometimes.
As to the actors, Matthew mcConaughey (Mud, True Detective fame) makes most of it as Cooper. Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand and Matt Damon as Dr Mann get a few good moments. Young Murph is played by Mackenzie Foy and she is very promising. Rest of the crew fill in their places. I also enjoyed the sarcastic robots very much who are given the tension-relieving, crackling lines of the film – as the crew is only too seriously occupied in saving the world – but the biggest character here is nature. As Amelia says, formidable and frightening – and humans on a quest to conquer it, to survive, armed with their intelligence. It is an eternal story, told very well……..
An enjoyable, entertaining, intelligent joy-ride…….
P.S.: Just on an interesting side-note, Irrfan Khan was offered a role in this film, but declined due to other engagements.
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Curtsey: Poster – Wikipedia, Trailer – YouTube