By Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)
This is going to be a very difficult film to review, because Interstellar is both an ambitious film, and not an ambitious film at all. It’s very divisive among those who love it, and those who loathe it and there’s very little middle ground — whether that’s because people were expecting more from it, or generally think Christopher Nolan’s films are over hyped. I’m mostly in the middle ground.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first, before going into some spoiler territory, because the film has one very big detracting aspect.
Visually, Interstellar is fantastic. It is definitely a film to be seen on the big 70mm IMAX screen to get the scope of the grandeur of space. Very few movies have gotten this right about just how unimaginably huge everything is in outer space.
The actors are at the top of their game and the heart of the film is the father/daughter relationship between Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper and his daughter Murphy. I’ve heard that a few people thought the emotional core of the film as schlocky, but I found it to be around the same level as that of Inception. So if you enjoyed how the emotional part of the story in that film played out, like I did, you’ll have no problems with it here.
From this point on, we’re treading into spoiler territory, but I’ll try and keep it as light as possible. Cue the customary warning:
Possible Spoilers Ahead!
I’m a huge space nerd, so some of this criticism is not going to bug most people but for me, this is a movie that struggled for as much scientific accuracy as possible. Leaving aside the more fantastic stuff, like how does a wormhole work, I feel that Nolan missed the mark in explaining the new solar system the crew of the Endurance found. It took the crew two years to get to Saturn orbit in our solar system, but it felt like mere hours between worlds in the new solar system.
Granted, how much time between worlds was vague, so it could have taken days or weeks or months, I just didn’t see any passage of time and it made the universe feel smaller on the other side of the wormhole. In the grand scheme, it’s unimportant but I would have loved to see what the crew was up to between pit stops.
Is This Nolan’s 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Every few years we get a director trying to make their own 2001: A Space Odyssey. Danny Boyle with Sunshine, Duncan Jones with Moon, and now Christopher Nolan with Interstellar. So did Nolan succeed in making his own version of 2001? Yes, he did — but I mean that literally, as in, ‘he literally made his own version of 2001.‘
At first, it was cute references to 2001, like the edit from Cooper’s truck to the spacecraft lifting off (an homage to the cut between the monkey flinging the bone to a satellite). Or the fact that the wormhole orbited Saturn (the large monolith wormhole orbited Saturn in the novel 2001 but was changed to Jupiter in the movie because the effects team couldn’t get the rings to look right). Or the fact that the robots are almost the same dimensions as the monoliths (one by four by nine, the square root of 1,2,3. To be fair, the robots I think are one by four by eight).
Then as the story went along, I noticed all sorts of similar story aspects as well. Without saying too much, I’d say it’s like noticing all of the similar aspects between Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, some of the things have been inverted but it follows a lot of the same story beats. 2001 was utterly unique at the time of its release, and unfortunately by trying to duplicate that film, Interstellar feels kind of derivative.
Bottom line: I enjoyed Interstellar, but I was definitely hoping for something more unique.
Interstellar gets 3.5 out of 5 stars.