Interstellar Movie Review
This is not the movie you expect. It is the movie you deserve. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is here—all three hours of it—and it is one of the most ambitious and riskiest mainstream productions in recent memory. Not at all the sci-fi adventure you may desire, Interstellar is smarter, more existential and most definitely more pure sci-fi.
To be blunt: you may hate it. You’ll call it boring, overly long and sort of strange.
Or you may love it. Even though it is long and sort of strange (but not at all boring), Interstellar is engaging, gripping and at times exciting. Built upon a mesmerizing Hans Zimmer score that literally shakes the theater, Interstellar becomes more intoxicating with each passing minute. The docking sequence alone will have you on the edge of the seat.
Interstellar is bold in that it does not adhere to the archetype of modern day sci-fi blockbusters. While it is not nearly as weird nor introspective as 2001: A Space Odyssey, the comparisons are obvious and not without merit. Your typical blockbuster would have the characters—played by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway—bouncing from one strange locale to the next, relying heavily on visual effects and situational dangers to drive the suspense. Explosions would occur, and everything ends without consequence.
That isn’t this movie. Nolan utilizes plenty of physical threats—the giant wave, as seen in the trailers, and the aforementioned docking sequence, are nail biters. But with the pounding music and the build-up to what the movie is really about, and really wants to reveal, Interstellar is not an action movie. It’s thrilling and exciting, but not action-packed. And really, when you think about it, not very reliant on special effects. Yes, the movie features plenty of great visuals, but the story itself could have been told without much of what you see on screen.
Emphasizing this fact is another terrific performance by Matthew McConaughey. Actors can get lost in sci-fi epics, but McConaughey is at the top of his game here yet again. A couple of his scenes nearly made me cry, and I don’t cry in movies. Nolan needed an actor, not visuals, to carry the film, and McConaughey is delivers.
As good as Interstellar is, it isn’t perfect. It is really long, and while never boring one has to think that the film could have been trimmed. Despite its length, the first act is occasionally clunky, as if editor Lee Smith got a little too snip-crazy. The early story seems to lurch forward at times, skipping over transitional moments to get to the meat a little quicker.
As refreshing as Interstellar is, the argument could be made that it isn’t very original. Stories like this have been told in science fiction for decades. If you’re looking for it, the ending is predictable early on. The story, thankfully, doesn’t go full weird, though some purists may wish it had.
But these are nitpicks.
Interstellar is a mesmerizing film that proves Hollywood is still capable of making smart, stand alone science fiction. Christopher Nolan did it once with Inception and he’s done it again here. Both are great movies, but the real difference is how audiences will react: Interstellar is not for everyone. Some will find it boring, overly long and sort of strange. It is not the movie they’ll expect. But it’s the movie they’ll deserve.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.