Thursday, November 13, 2014

Interstellar - 3 stars

In the near future, Earth is slowly becoming inhabitable.  Dust storms seem to happen all the time, and it’s getting harder and harder to grow crops.  Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be a NASA test pilot but now he’s a farmer.  His wife died some years before, and now his father in law (John Lithgow) helps him raise his kids. 

One day Cooper and his daughter Murph discover the secret location of NASA.  It seems in this future society, all resources are devoted to growing crops, so the public isn’t interested in funding for NASA.  They also aren’t interested in electronics anymore, so Apple is probably no longer a going concern.  Anyway, NASA asks Cooper to join their mission of going into space and looking for a new planet.  They know it won’t be long before all life on Earth is dead, so if the human race is to survive, it needs a new planet to inhabit.

First off, I’ll mention what I didn’t like about this movie.  The first half hour felt really clunky to me.  It would have been nice to learn more about what life is like for these people.  Cooper lives in what looks like a small farming town in the Midwest.  But what is life like in big cities?  What was the transition like from the early 2000s to life in this movie?  How far in the future is it?  It seems like it’s only 20 years or so, since Cooper can remember a time when people were interested in things like electronics and looking up to the stars. 

Also, the people don’t look like they are living in any kind of a dystopian future.  Their clothes are clean and look brand new, and their teeth are white and straight.  Besides discussing what crops won’t grow, it seems the only problem they have to deal with is wiping dust off the table now and then.

The dialogue was bad and the first part of the story was very rushed.  The way they discover NASA and their plan seemed way too simple.  NASA already has a plan for the mission, and when Cooper shows up, they say “Oh, you were the best pilot we ever had.  Now that you know what’s going on, you need to lead the mission.”  If it was so important to have him on board, wouldn’t NASA have tried to find him and ask him to join? 

Once they leave Earth, the movie gets much better.  They plan to use a wormhole to get to another galaxy, and they already have potential planets in mind that they’re supposed to visit.  They don’t really know where the wormhole came from, but they know where it’s going to take them.  In order to get to the wormhole, which is located near Saturn, they’ll have to travel for two years.  I won’t spoil anything that happens after that. 

The effects in this movie are incredible.  The scene where they pass through the wormhole is just cool.  It made me think of 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In fact, there were a lot of things in this movie that made me think of 2001.  I’m sure that was a big inspiration to Christopher Nolan, and while this movie isn’t up to that level, it’s still pretty well done.  It’s a very intelligent science fiction movie. 

I have my reservations, but I’m still recommending the movie.  It really demands to be seen on the big screen.  I’m reminded of the way I felt the first time I saw Avatar.  It’s an incredible achievement, but the story could have used a little work.  It’s long and exhausting, but I’m glad I saw it.

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