Interstellar (2014): A Beautiful, Intense, Breathtaking, Brilliant Sci-Fi Marvel

Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! Today I’m starting a series of reviews I plan to do, it’s either gonna contain two or three movies, I’m not done deciding yet. But the point is, “Dunkirk,” one of my most anticipated films of 2017, is gonna be out soon. That film is directed by Christopher Nolan, one of favorite directors of all time. So I figured I’d review some other films Nolan has directed prior to “Dunkirk.” The first film by Christopher Nolan I plan to tackle is actually his most recent work, “Interstellar,” it came out November 5th, 2014 in select theaters, and it came out November 7th everywhere else. So without further ado, let’s start the review.

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“Interstellar” is directed by Christopher Nolan, as mentioned earlier, and it stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine. You also have some other important roles from Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, David Gyasi, John Lithgow, and Timothee Chalamat. This film takes place in the future and Earth is dying, all sorts of plants are dying, wheat is dead, corn is soon coming to an end, and Matthew McConaughey teams up with other explorers in order to find a new home for mankind.

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Here’s a true story about this film, this movie, when I purchased my Blu-Ray at a store, cost $49.99. For the record this was in a casino so everything’s a little pricier there as opposed to other places. But still, after a couple years of owning this Blu-Ray, I have to say my purchase was worth the money. Also, you may notice it says that it has an actual IMAX film cell inside, which was part of why I wanted this edition of the movie. Speaking of which, I’m gonna talk about my first experience of going to see this movie. When seeing this movie, I did not go to any of my local theaters. I actually went to a theater in Providence, RI, which was over an hour away from my house. Why? They had a very rare presentation. Remember how I said that this film released on November 5th in select theaters? This theater was one of them, and that’s because the theater was showing “Interstellar” on film. Nowadays, seeing a movie on film is a rare experience itself, but this was special. This theater had an IMAX. Also, it was an older one at that. And it shows because this IMAX had film equipment. If I saw this movie with IMAX digital equipment, I would have a cool experience, but something would be missing, I would either have a smaller screen, or a smaller image. Depending how footage shown in IMAX is shot, it could fill up the whole screen with no black bars. That’s how the presentation of “Interstellar” was for 66 minutes of its runtime. At certain IMAX digital theaters, you could get that, but the screen would be smaller. At other IMAX digital theaters, the image would be bigger, but it wouldn’t fill the whole screen. This is why IMAX film is superior to digital, I even go into it a little deeper in a recent post, if you want to read that, the link’s down below. Also, I just want to say, I went to this presentation with my aunt, and if she’s reading this, I can’t thank her enough.

https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/why-dunkirk-must-be-seen-on-35mm-film-70mm-film-imax-70mm-film-or-imax-laser/

Starting off the character segment of this review, let’s dive into the main character of the movie, Cooper. He’s played by Matthew McConaughey, who you may know from films like “The Wolf of Wall Street” a filmed praised by average moviegoers and critics alike, and films like “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” a movie with an opposite reaction, including an WFCC Hall of Shame award dedicated to McConaughey himself, with the following suggestion: “Matthew McConaughey as cardboard cutout misogynist, in one too many phone-it-in rom-coms featuring toxic bachelors.” One thing’s for sure in this movie, his performance was great. He had all the necessary emotions at the right times, and his character, much like everyone else in this movie, is well written and chosen by casting. Cooper has two kids, Tom and Murph, who we’ll get to eventually. He also lives with a character played by John Lithgow named Donald. The reason why he gets recruited to the mission to save mankind is because he’s a great pilot, and there aren’t many of them on Earth. Oh yeah, and he also hates farming, which sucks for him because that’s what the world needed during this movie. Not to mention he lives on a farm. One more thing worth mentioning is that while he’s often referred to by his last name, his first name is actually Joe.

Anne Hathaway, who you may know from “The Dark Knight Rises” and 2012’s “Les Miserables,” is also in this movie, and according to IMDb, her character’s name is Brand, but if you are curious to know her first name, that happens to be Amelia. Like Cooper, Amelia Brand is also a part of the mission. Watching her in this film, I noticed how she acted as a character and there’s one scene where she’s on this planet, she finds an entity, but there’s this giant wave that’s bigger than the wave you saw in the final moments of “Point Break” coming in towards her along with the rest of the crew, she says she needs to take this thing back to the ship. Although Cooper is against this, he’s forcing Amelia to just get back to the ship as quick as she can. Their chemistry throughout the entire segment on this planet, is believable and fluid. By the way, her father is also an important character when it comes to this film, but we’ll get to him later.

The last human character who goes into space worth bringing up is Romilly. He’s played by David Gyasi, and he honestly isn’t in the film all that much as opposed to other characters, but when he is in the film, he’s there for good reason. There’s one segment where he’s wearing a blue shirt, you’ll see what I mean.

There are multiple robots in “Interstellar,” but the one worth mentioning here goes by the name of TARS. Why is he worth mentioning? Simply because he’s the funniest character in the movie. He has a bunch of different settings that can be played around with, and the characters in this film actually do play around with the settings. Some of you might think of robots as these emotionless things that can’t even do anything but serve people, but this robot kind of is emotional per se, because of a unique feature, humor settings. They’re introduced at the point when the crew’s ship is launched into space and TARS says “Everybody good? Plenty of slaves for my robot colony?” Also, when he’s joking, there’s actually a cue which can suggest that.

Michael Caine is also in this film, and if you have seen some of Christopher Nolan’s past films, Caine’s appearance here might not be a surprise to you. Why? Because he was in a good number of Christopher Nolan movies prior to this one, in fact, I just looked at his IMDb page, and the films listed in his “known for” section are all films directed by Christopher Nolan. Yeah, it said he’s known for “The Dark Knight,” “Batman Begins,” “The Prestige,” and “Inception.” It’s almost as if he and Nolan are a team and they have some sort of unbreakable bond, somewhat like Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg, they’ve already done of films together based on true events, and I only wonder if they’ll do more in the future. Caine plays a professor, he’s also Anne Hathaway’s character’s father, which can be suggested by his name, Dr. Brand. He’s important to the mission, but he doesn’t go into space, he basically encourages Cooper into going on the mission. His side of the story is mainly developing an equation of his own in order to help the Earth survive. During the movie, he also happens to work with Cooper’s daughter, who we’re actually gonna talk about right now.

Cooper’s daughter goes by the name of Murph, kind of sounds like a guy’s name if you ask me, but still, that’s her name. Murph probably has the most interesting story out of each character who remains on Earth during this movie. Not to mention, the actors portraying her do a phenomenal job with the role they’re given. Let’s start off by talking about young Murph, played by Mackenzie Foy. Mackenzie Foy’s performance in this movie, as far as child performances go, may be one of the best I’ve ever seen. Her acting ability is so fluid, so believable, so emotional at various points, that I instantly felt a connection with this character at first sight. Her character as a child is shown to be very unique in this futuristic realm. I’ll get into why a little bit later, but now let’s talk about the adult version of Murph, played by Jessica Chastain. Much like Foy’s performance, I was able to believe Chastain’s character as a person. The moment she appears is probably gonna get you glued to the screen. I won’t describe the scene in detail, but I’ll give the first words spoken by Chastain in this movie: “Hey dad. You son of a bitch.”

 

Let’s move away from Murph and talk about Cooper’s other kid, Tom. The young version of Tom is played by Timothee Chalamet, and the old version of Tom is played by Casey Affleck. As far as Tom goes, performance-wise, I think the versions of Murph did better overall, I’m not saying the Tom performances suck, but they’re just not as good as the Murph performances. Also, Tom doesn’t get much screentime as Murph. Believe it or not, I’m not against this. We see both characters and get to know them a little bit, Tom doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with anything, and his behavior shouldn’t come as much of a surprise in real life considering his age. If you look at Murph, she cries occasionally in the movie, she does it as an adult, but she is ten years old for a period of the runtime. One of my favorite scenes between the adult versions of Tom and Murph is when there’s all sorts of drama going on on Earth, while at the same time, there’s drama going on on another planet. I won’t go into detail because I feel like the flavor should be savored for watching the movie, but if you guys have watched the movie and somehow don’t understand what I’m saying, I’ll give you a line uttered by Murph during this scene: “Dad didn’t raise you to be this dumb Tom!”

One of my favorite things about the movie is the score, composed by Hans Zimmer. In one of my recent reviews, specifically for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” I mentioned Hans Zimmer did the score for that movie. I also mentioned that the score for that movie was underwhelming in some ways. This score however, IS NOT that. The score in this movie may be my favorite of all time! There are so many great pieces of music and it’s a soundtrack I often listen to. It works very well in the movie for every segment, and one of my favorite things about it is that when you’re listening to it, it’s almost like listening to a clock. At some points of the score, you can hear something that almost sounds like ticking or tocking, and at other points, it’s 60 beats per minute, which also means 1 beat per second, so that is kind of a suggestion of time. This sort of stuff is shown in pieces of music played during the movie called “Mountains” and “Coward.” Below I’m actually gonna place a few YouTube videos, they’re actually songs from the movie. You can listen to them if you want to, however it isn’t mandatory, but these are some of my favorite pieces from the film. Speaking of which, I want to know, what is your favorite movie score? Let me know in the comments!

There are a number of songs I like in this movie, however these are the ones I just felt like displaying here, so enjoy! Also, there’s one thing that I want to bring up that this part of the movie makes me think of.

Right here we have the director of the movie, Christopher Nolan, and sticking with a topic I mentioned earlier, look at the camera he’s got. That right there is an IMAX camera. And if you ever watched an IMAX documentary, those cameras are often used for them. They also have a 3D camera which is heavier than the one Christopher Nolan’s holding, although this movie wasn’t meant to be shown in 3D, and the same can be said for any Christopher Nolan movie, so Nolan thought this camera would do the trick. Also, if you consider the difficulties of both cameras, difficulties having to do with size, sound, etc., imagine how much harder it would be to use an IMAX 3D camera as opposed to an IMAX 2D cameras. They have made lighter versions over the years, but those are digital and Nolan is against digital cameras in general. When I saw this in the theater and the aspect ratio changed, my mind was going in circles with excitement. Also, if you buy the Blu-Ray, you can see the aspect ratio change there as well. Although it doesn’t change like it does in the theater. Because nowadays, people traditionally use widescreen TVs, and those are different in terms of aspect ratios as opposed to IMAX screens. So for the scenes shot in IMAX, you can get the aspect ratio of 1.43:1 in a traditional IMAX theater, you can get the aspect ratio of 1.90:1 in an IMAX digital theater, and on Blu-Ray you can get the aspect ratio of 16:9/1.78:1 for said scenes. I don’t know if you’ll experience that when streaming the movie on Amazon or Netflix or something, but I know the entire movie if shown on cable channels would be 1.78:1 with the exception of the opening credits. Although if you watch the movie on DVD, the entire movie will have black bars and the aspect ratio will be 2.35:1. The way it’s used in this movie is pretty awesome. It’s better in the theater, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it at home too. I was mentioning in the last paragraph about one of my favorite parts of the movie, when all of the drama starts in space, and it is shot with an IMAX camera, it soon cuts to the Earth drama, the Earth drama is shot with regular film cameras and is shown in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It’s transitions like these that don’t feel jarring as opposed to other movies *coughs* “Transformers: The Last Knight,” that I’ve seen shot with IMAX cameras. By the way, this later turns into all IMAX shots for a period of time and it looked amazing on my TV.

The father-daughter relationship between Cooper and Murph is actually one of my favorite relationships in all of cinema. Each scene with these two characters together on screen was screenwriting bliss. It felt authentic, and right before Cooper leaves, you can understand both of the characters equally. At the beginning of the movie, Murph is ten years old, and Cooper is a grown man. Murph wants her father to stay, but Cooper says he has to leave. Let’s face it, I can actually relate to Murph, because one time I was actually 11 years old, my mother was going on a business trip to Arizona, I wanted my mother to stay, but she couldn’t. Mom never left me alone without her for a few days so the whole idea of it was scary at the time.

In search for a new home, the crew stopped by a couple of planets, one of them was icy and the other watery. I enjoyed all of the moments on each planet, but some of my favorite parts in the movie happened when the crew was on the icy planet. I will not dive into detail because this is a movie whose details are worth keeping in secret.

By the way, this is a long movie, it’s actually one of the longest movies to come out in the 2010s. If you ask me, I don’t mind the long runtime. This movie to me, in terms of runtime mixed with entertainment value is like watching any of the “Lord of the Rings” films. Sure, they’re long, but they’re amazing! This movie is so long in fact that when it was brought to the IMAX 70mm theaters, the movie almost couldn’t be projected because of how long it was.

You may have read throughout this post and noticed me say that I can’t dive into detail about certain aspects of the film. There are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, some of the stuff in this movie wasn’t shown in the trailer. Another thing is that when I see certain segments in this movie it leaves me with some sort of emotion that I feel shouldn’t be wasted before you decide to watch this movie one day. Also, in my view, this movie, based on the premise, sounds like it can simply be enjoyed by a lot of people. But to truly appreciate it, you have to watch it. And when I say watch it, you can’t take your eyes off the screen too many times. Various parts of the film either involve absolute observing or die-hard thinking. In fact, I’ll tell you, almost single time I watch this film, there’s something I might not notice when watching previous times. So who knows? Even though as I’m doing this review and suggesting to you the high number of watches I’ve gotten with the movie “Interstellar,” there still might be stuff I haven’t noticed. Although I will say, if you have seen some of Christopher Nolan’s other films, this film may be less confusing depending on who you are. You’ll probably know what I mean if you have seen “Memento.” Then again I only watched that movie once so what do I know?

However, there’s one detail I feel like sharing. This movie takes place in the future, and one thing that’s brought into the movie is idea of the Apollo missions. Essentially, Cooper is at a parent-teacher conference at the school his kids go to, and one of the teachers is talking about Murph. This teacher says that she believes that the Apollo missions were faked in order to bankrupt the Soviet Union, suggesting she doesn’t believe one bit of those missions actually happened and it’s customary for people in the future to believe that the people of Earth never went to the moon. Not only is that an interesting idea to put in the movie, but with all of the people who deny that we actually went to the moon nowadays, I can only imagine what the future holds when it comes to that.

Now let’s get serious for a moment and I’ll ask you a question. Has a movie ever made you cry? I can’t say many films have done that for me. “Toy Story 3” almost did, the same can be said for “Ice Age,” and perhaps even “Inside Out,” but I don’t recall one time where I shed tears during a movie because of something happening in it. I’ve watched this movie many times, and I did feel emotions during multiple watches, however, I never cried… until the last time I watched it. I rewatched this film for the umpteenth time in preparation for this review, and as the movie was coming to an end, there’s a very emotional number of moments in this movie, as this was happening, I was choking, and tears were falling from my eyes at various points. I WILL NOT go into detail, I need you to see this for yourself. This is how much I love this movie, not many other movies can make me feel this way. I cry in real life, and honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s very rare for me to cry during a movie, and when I do, how do you think I feel about it after watching it? When I first saw this film, I thought it was a good time, I truly appreciated it for its cinematography and effects, but overall it was not the best film I ever seen. Then I watched it a few more times, enjoyed it, but still thought it didn’t hit me or anything. Then the next time I watched it from beginning to end, and didn’t fall asleep because it was super late, I f*cking loved the hell out of it. Now I’m here at this point, where I actually cried. That says something, this is definitely up there with my favorite movies of all time, and this is one of those movies I can’t stop watching because of my own connection with it before going in, after coming out, the technical aspects, the story, and my own emotions I feel while watching this masterpiece.

Ultimately, “Interstellar” defines what I love about movies. It has great characters, excellent technical aspects, including cinematography, effects, set design, also good location choices when this movie was shot in the real world, a compelling story, great music, a high replay value, likable performances, and execution delivered with such ambition that it shows how much passion was put into a project by so many people. “Interstellar” probably isn’t a film for everyone. Some people say it takes forever get into space, and I get that. Some people say some of the science in the movie is flawed, and I get that. Some people say they find it confusing, and I get that. Some people think it’s long, and I get that. Some people think it’s boring, and I get that. Some people think Tom as a character doesn’t get enough attention, and while that is a complaint I disagree with, I get that. Some people might go in thinking this is truly all sci-fi and has a complete focus on the space exploration and not as much of the Earth stuff and the drama and tose people might end up disappointed by the results, and I get that. However, to me, these complaints aren’t ones I have, and while I do sometimes pick movies apart for scientific inaccuracies, for example in my review for “The Fifth Wave” I pointed out there was a physics error, this movie is good enough in all of its other terrific aspects for me to ignore scientific errors. I mean, I cried, and I never do that during movies, so that says something that can’t be said about many other movies I’ve viewed in my lifetime. I’m going to give “Interstellar” a 10/10. This is a movie you should watch at least once in your life, if you have a bucket list and you didn’t write “watch “Interstellar”” on it, I command you to write it down. Or if it is written down and it isn’t crossed off, make an effort to watch the movie in any way you can. If you ask me, I’d personally watch the Blu-Ray on the biggest screen possible, because this movie is meant for that, if I ever get kick-ass surround sound one day, this is a movie I would use as a test for that. But please, seriously, watch “Interstellar.” You’ll likely thank me later. Thanks for reading this review and next week I will be reviewing another Christopher Nolan film, I’m not sure what it’ll be, probably either “Inception” or “Batman Begins.” Also “Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes out this weekend, so I hope to go see that as soon as possible, and if you are on a “Spider-Man” high right now like I imagine a number of people are, be sure to check out my last movie review for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The link for it is down below, please check it out, and stay tuned for more reviews! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave the close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. -Dr. Brand

“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2” REVIEW: https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/the-amazing-spider-man-2-2014-a-crappier-version-of-spider-man-3-spoilers/

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