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‘…uses sci-fi to go beyond into the philosophical and spiritual beyond that few other sci-fi epics can reach….’

We’ve still got our protective goggles on from viewing the seizmic cinematic explosion of the Barbenheimer experiment, so this is as good a time as any to look back on Christopher Nolan’s epic sci-fi adventure. Sure, this is the kind of visceral, visually huge drama that only be diminished by viewing it on anything less than an IMAX screen; but the craftsmanship and imagination of the narrative still pay dividends for patient home viewers.

Matthew McConaughey brings his usual intensity to the role of Cooper, a pilot enlisted by NASA to travel though a wormhole in time to search for a colonisable planet as Earth is crippled by dust storms. Estranged from his daughter Murph in the process, Cooper misses out as she grows up to be Jessica Chastain, enabling Nolan to develop two strong plotlines of space exploration, and tie them neatly together at the end. Michael Caine’s in here too, as well as a very cool robot that looks like it landed from a cheap 50’s movie, but does the business when required.

The atmosphere is authentically pioneering, with individual moments like the short but haunting landing on a planet of tidal waves, and a terse meeting with Matt Damon’s deceptively motivated colonist, sticking in the mind. And while time travel is a familiar subject, few have explored the kinks of it as thoughtfully as Nolan and his brother Jonathan; the scene where Cooper watches his family grow up via a series of recorded messages is heart-breaking.

Interstellar may have a lot more to offer visually than it does in terms of plotting; the same kind of story could, and used to, be covered by a 30 minute Twilight Zone episode. But as a big studio release, Nolan demonstates a considerable gift for re-shaping material for a modern audience; while the ending is a little cheesy in a Dr Who fashion, Interstellar is a rare fantasy movie that manages to dig into the real issues of life, and uses sci-fi to go beyond into the philosophical and spiritual beyond that few other sci-fi epics can reach.


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  1. I enjoyed this without really enjoying the narrative which I thought was twisty for the sake of it. I thought the Matt Damon section much more interesting.

    • Yup, it’s alternating whizz bang science and story, but the plot points do click when they have to, there’s just not many of them.

  2. Agreed – this is my favorite C. Nolan film merely because instead of using characters as pawns to screenplay/clever timescape execution, he fleshes out leads who we really care for. They quite possibly reach a spiritual resolve in a scientific/tangible world, and this is a much deeper level, I think, than Inception, where the concept trumps the humanity.

    • Totally agree that this has an accessible emotional layer than some of his other films, namely Inception, lack.

  3. I was lucky to have been back in the UK when this came out and so I watched it on an IMAX screen in Manchester. An audiovisual treat which still hits me in the feels when I rewatch it. McConaughey is great in it, but the plot is a bit lacking and it’s overlong.

    • Yup, saw this in IMAX in the UK and some of it was just amazing to look at. Film has flaws, but overwhelming on the big screen.

  4. I thought I’d seen this but I haven’t. It’s not Sandra and George or Jennifer and Chris. Might have to give it a go then even if it’s not as good at home.

  5. If it shows up free on prime, maybe someday.

    I’m a sucker for time travel though, so chances are pretty good. Unless I come back in time and warn myself…

  6. Yeah, I remember watching this and thinking it would have been nice to see on a big screen. Thought the story was kind of lame though.

    Speaking of Caine, did you see he has a new one coming out? I trust you’re on it.

    • Yup, the Great Escapers is scheduled for a few months time, glad to see Caine still getting work.

      Interstellar looked amazing on the IMAX, but the narrative weaknesses are more apparent on a home view for sure…

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