Sunday, November 9, 2014

Interstellar... truly spectacular in some aspects


I still remember the first time I saw Nolan's Interstellar trailer. It was more of a teaser. Almost a year ago. I was so excited. Finally after watching the movie, its very satisfying.

I have to state what might be an unpopular opinion: this movie is going to appeal more for folks who are into space, space travel, and theories of space, however crazy they may sound ( crazy is relative btw :)  ) . I am talking things like 4th dimension and beyond, event horizon of the black hole, a stable wormhole, time travel and general theory of relativity. All of this plays a huge role in the movie, but the most important thing that drives the movie and provides a meaning for it is: love, an emotion that is far more theoretical than some mentioned above.

If you are a fan of Nolan as I am, you know he and his brother Jonathan tackle subjects that are tough to understand with lot of emotion. Be it electricity and magic in The Prestige, a dream within a dream in Inception and finally fifth dimension and travelling inside a black hole in Interstellar, its the emotional component that is going to have everyone gripped to their seat. The emotion of leaving a loved one, the emotion of losing someone, the emotion of failure, and finally the emotion of betrayal. The story is clearly weaved through these emotions and is given a life by Hans Zimmer's unforgettable music.

As you might already know, the movie is about finding an alternate home for human civilization. Earth is dying, or atleast for humans its becoming a nightmarish place to live. The reason for this deterioration is not explained and rightly so as it won't change the plot or create a different perspective for the viewers. What happens next are a series of events involving Cooper ( Matthew Mcconaughey ) and his daughter Murphy. What seems like a ghost, turns out to be a gravitational anomaly which is not explained further, atleast not yet. The significance of these events becomes clear during the climax scenes. These events leads to Cooper leading a very secretive mission to find another planet.

Enter wormhole

A "stable" wormhole. Wormholes are highly theoretical but is believed by many scientists to exist. But a wormhole is a naturally occurring phenomenon, which means there is no guarantee that a wormhole might reappear the same place it appeared last time. But in this movie, there is something called a "stable" wormhole, a path built by "aliens" to help humans travel to another galaxy to find a suitable planet. These nameless and faceless aliens are believed to be helping humans knowing the plight on Earth. Thats it. No more aliens. The movie doesn't go further into these species who are helping the humans, well atleast not yet. By now, you might have figured out a trend that lot of subtle things and not so subtle things are answered in the last 30 mins of the movie.

2 hours of visual beauty

The first 30 minutes of the movie tries to establish the issues on Earth and how people are dealing with it and the emotional components such as Cooper leaving his kids to go on a long mission with no guarantee of coming back to see them ever again. But once the mission starts, the real reason for watching this movie in IMAX kicks in. Nolan has successfully exceeded his previous accomplishment. The journey to Saturn ( What a beautiful planet ), then the wormhole and finally the other side of the wormhole, a completely different galaxy millions of light years away and home to a black hole and 3 supposedly habitable planets. Their mission, find the planet that is most suitable for sustaining life and return to our solar system.

The soap opera

An easy enough task you might ask. This is where the movie turns into a soap opera. A grand soap opera I might add with Hans Zimmer magic, a bit too much in some places. A lot of emotional drama takes place once they start exploring the planets. I do agree that the drama is hard to avoid, esp. when the astronauts realize that one of the planets is too close to the black hole and an hour on the planet is equal to 7 years in normal time scale. As you guessed it, things don't go according to plan. A lot of arguments, the emotion of love being defined and how it is not bound by space or time and finally a fist fight on a icy planet with a surprise guest ( who remained uncredited to maintain the surprise ). All this combined with too much music makes the movie hard to enjoy. Esp. the overbearing music. I wish the music had served just as a background to help the viewer move along with the movie. But the music is so loud, its very hard to understand crucial dialogues. This being said, there are some amazing visual experiences during this section of the movie that makes IMAX worth it. But I am definitely buying the DVD and watching the movie again with closed captions turned on.

Climax and Conclusion

Most of subtle and not so subtle questions are answered during the climax which makes up the last 30 minutes of the movie. Who are these aliens, what is the real role of Cooper's daughter, is the ghost or gravitational anomaly really an anomaly, all these are answered. Yet you will come out of the movie with more questions, esp. if you are a space buff.
There are so many things to appreciate about this movie. Imagining at this grand scale for a movie and the courage to follow through with impeccable execution are in itself amazing. But the visual stunts, some really good acting and a climax that leaves you with more questions than answers, which is typical of Nolan's movies, makes this movie worth the watch. I am now a bigger fan of the Nolan brothers for their original stories and impeccable screenplay. The sound mixing needs to be checked in the future but I am definitely listening to this movie's soundtrack for sure. Overall, one of the best movies with original sci-fi story to come in a long time. 

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