Films set in space are the perfect opportunity for directors with money to produce a spectacle. Yet, these spectacles don’t always have the stories to back up the effects. Gravity was perfect Oscar-bait but lacked a killer storyline or any special performances, whereas 2009’s Moon had an original and gripping story, but lacked Gravity’s financial clout. Thankfully, Interstellar falls somewhere between the two.
As one would expect, with $165 million to spend, Christopher Nolan has created a beautiful piece of cinema. With vast space shots to rival those of Gravity and smaller shots of the clearest clarity, this a film made for IMAX. I wasn’t so lucky to be able to see Interstellar in IMAX but I am certain it would be worth the extra effort.
However, these shots don’t take over as I felt they did in Gravity. Instead, Interstellar places the visual splendor hand in hand with an engaging story, similar to Moon. Whereas the stories in Moon and Interstellar are nothing alike, the stories central importance in the film’s production makes them equally successful.
Interstellar’s story isn’t perfect, but it is modern, innovative and distinct enough that it stands apart from many modern space films. The exploration is feasible, as well as its motives, whilst the steps taken in the film’s action are not too far-out. The film manages to evoke many emotions; the early space shots induce awe, whilst later scenes claw at the heart-strings. I was left crying like a baby at one juncture. These scenes are some of the most horrific and emotional I have experienced since starting this blog, and credit should go to both the writers and McConaughey for creating them.
Despite this delicate balance, Interstellar is not the masterpiece Christopher Nolan would have been dreaming of. Though it is undeniably brilliant, there are too many holes and incidents of averageness to make it any more than a very good film. From a tiny instance of horrendous dubbing to larger issues I will discuss below, Interstellar felt imperfect.
In terms of the science of the film, it doesn’t matter whether the events were all scientifically viable; they felt feasible enough to a ‘layman’, which is all they needed to be. It was the use of the scientific that was somewhat hit and miss. The film’s intricate use of time was its biggest strength, giving clout to its story and a very innovative obstacle for the troupe to handle.
Interstellar’s use of some extra-terrestrial elements were however, not so perfect. I liked and enjoyed the film’s dramatic progression and thought many of the key points in the films development were done very well. Not all were fitting though, as I felt one involving Anne Hathaway was particularly unnecessary.
But again, Interstellar had a lot to love. Though neither Mackenzie Foy nor McConaughey will grab many awards for their performances, both were excellent. Whilst Foy carried the early going, McConaughey shepherded the bulk of the film’s action. Michael Caine also impressed, epitomising the fragility of time. However, the performances of Wes Bentley and Anne Hathaway were left lacking in comparison.
The film also handled the tricky element of artificial intelligent with quality. The A.I. chosen for Interstellar were a mixture of A Space Odyssey’s HAL and Gerty from Moon with movements straight out of Minecraft. The A.I. had the perfect balance between man and machine, and though heavily influenced, were unique and generally brilliant additions to the film.
Interstellar is most definitely a film of its influences. The parallels to 2001: A Space Odyssey are impossible not to see, but this fails to detract from the film’s obvious modern quality. Interstellar is a film all involved would be intensely proud of, and though may not be an instant classic, should act as the benchmark for future space exploration pictures.