Movie Review: Interstellar (2014)

Details: A science fiction, adventure film starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Run time is almost three hours.

Love transcends all. At least that’s what Christopher Nolan wants you to believe.

Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s attempt at something along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I walked into this film hoping for something along those lines. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The strongest parts of this film are the visuals. However, as in the Star Wars prequels, special effects alone do not make a great movie.

The story is hard to believe. The characters are not developed all that well. The main plot points lacked emotion, force or meaning. The performances weren’t fantastic, but science fiction is hard for actors. Not a lot of points of reference to the human condition. Plus, they sound silly when they try to explain science they don’t understand.

Another weakness of the film is that Nolan has fallen into the trap of trying to explain science to the masses. The truth of the matter is that most people are too dumb or don’t care enough to want to go to a physics class during a movie. Movies are meant to be entertainment. Here, Nolan tries his best to interject real science rules into the film with yawn-inducing results.

My favorite science fiction movies focus on two things: world creation and character development. Most members of an audience are unlikely to be able to grasp the math-intensive theories of science and physics. Instead, a director should spend time making the characters relatable, showing their motivations and struggles. The character development here was not exemplary.

Furthermore, effort is needed to make that first act really express the nature and rules of this world. I don’t mean the actual natural laws, but movie rules. For example, in Inception, one needs a totem to remember that they are still within a dream. A great rule that adds to the suspense of wondering whether the protagonist is in the real world or still dreaming. Here, Nolan tries to use natural laws similarly, but the reality is that these are too boring, complex, and (ironically) unconvincing for use in entertainment. What we needed were fictional movie rules like the use of totems in Inception.

Lastly, most great science fiction films make some sort of existential statement or theme that leaves the viewer feeling as if they gained some philosophical knowledge which bettered them. Something that makes you think. The message here is that love transcends all. It felt like something from My Little Pony. I walked away from this movie feeling like I gained nothing at all.

Score: 5/10 Not Nolan’s greatest film. He tried to create a masterpiece by cramming in too many themes, ideas, and science into one film. He instead created a three-hour film that drags and disappoints. Plus, the ultimate theme/conclusion isn’t science fiction, but wishful thinking. Great visuals though.

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