Warning the following has some spoilers! Don't read if you don't want to be spoiled!
So saw Interstellar last night. Was interesting in seeing this movie especially after various reviews I found both here and elsewhere. Being a Christopher Nolan film I figured it should be pretty good and wondered was a science fiction film under his direction would be like.
Short synopsis, in the late 21st Century Earth is suffering from what is called the 'Blight'. Some sort of disease or organism that destroys Earth's supply of crops. Copper, a former test pilot is now doing what most of America is farming to keep people alive. Cooper though is disillusioned in this world. A world where a Second Dust Bowl is ravaging the farm belt and where America's past achievements are written off. Things change when Cooper's daughter Murph notices a 'ghost' in her room. In reality the ghost is a gravity disturbance which reveals a set of coordinates. Cooper soon discovers that people are looking for a solution to the problems of Earth and that is, to leave it. Cooper must risk never seeing his children again to go on a deep space mission that will bring humanity farther than it has ever been and change things forever.
Interstellar clearly takes influences from 2001. While knows this from having seen both films I know it...cause I read his reviews LOL. Actually I've seen some bits of 2001 and can see the homages here by Nolan. Visually the film is quiet lovely. I like the close up views Nolan uses for the spacecraft as it looks realistic and then makes the long distance shots of the ship even more spectacular. The most gorgeous thing in my mind is the Black Hole that dominates the alien solar system. Nolan's people used actual data from a Black Hole to craft the visual and its even gained some scientific attention (helping us better visualize Black Holes). The alien landscapes look quite good with the ice world being of particular note.
Storywise.....things get a bit weird.
The Interstellar (and actually should be called intergalactic since they travel to a new galaxy) travel of the film is capable thanks to a wormhole formed near Saturn. How the wormhole gets there is...not explained. At least not explained well. The concept of these 5th Dimensional begins was quite unfilling. Who were they, aliens? Far Far Future off humans? Humans to me makes the most sense as it becomes a self-fullinging paradox. Seriously during the whole 'we're inside the Black Hole' bit I wanted the Doctor to pop up and offer Cooper a lift, hell it makes more sense than what actually happened for him to survive as a Black Hole would completely rip you apart, but I digress). If it's aliens who are so high above us...why do they even give a damn? What they got bored and decided to save humanity? After that confusion I actually found myself more excited to learn about the now space faring humanity heading to Saturn and the Wormhole by the end of the film but of course we don't get to explore that.
I do like how they handled the problems of long distance interstellar travel. Even with things like some sort of hibernation sleep, newer and faster engines, and using a short cut with a wormhole...Cooper officially ages to 124 years since he left. Of course for him he looks still in his late 30s but relativity's laws can't be broken. It also means that traveling astronauts will face the lost of their loved ones as Amelia looses her father in the film and Cooper ends up seeing Murph on her death bed. I liked how they didn't pull any punches with that.
I thought the cast did well. Matt McC (no I'm not spelling his last name cuz I'm lazy!) delivered a strong performance. Though I did somewhat laugh at how concerned he was with his relationship with Murph and to his son it was like, 'hey see ya later'. Anne Hathway (I spelled hers cause its easy, so sue me) was also good though I wish they had done a bit more with her. Actually I as usual took quite the shinning to a non human character, the two AIs CASS and TARS. Nice of Cooper to take TARS with him at the end (also nice of the aliens or whatever to save him too). At first I thought their designs were impractical but watching them in action actually showed some of the cool things about such a blockly design. Michael Cain did well as usual though he was a bit of an asshole in the end. Also bonus points for Matt Damon to show up and have a case of Space Madness.
Still the movie is just kind of...well weird, all crafted on thanks to Cooper's strange trip through the wormhole. I mean the power of love and gravity transcends space and time? Listen I'm a fan of love being a big motivator in fiction but I tend to roll my eyes when it starts to trump the power of science (or is used to kill Cybermen all the time on Doctor Who). Plus I can think of a few nitpicks such as, can one translate quantum mechanics into morse code? And if they got probe data from the wormhole on the other planets...why couldn't they transmit out later when Endurance shows up? How did Cooper survive the trip through the Black Hole? Even with that and my confusion over the aliens/future humans, overall I enjoyed it.
It delivers a message I'm a firm believer in. We are not meant to stay on this planet. If we can develop the technology to travel to the stars than we better damn well start doing so. There's no reason we can't start going to the Moon or Mars. Who knows what we'll do after that.
Anyway Interstellar is an interesting and weird, in a good way, film.