Interstellar (2014)

Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley

Running Time:  169 mins

Interstellar is huge in scope and emotional depth making it a must see film and, in my view, truly the best picture of the year.   But knowing the Academy of Arts & Sciences record with sci-fi films, winning the Oscar for best pic probably won’t happen.  But then again, maybe they’ll “get it” this time around.

While watching it I couldn’t help but think that this is the “2001: A Space Odyssey” of this generation.  Whereas back in 1968 “2001” was a technical marvel, it was totally devoid of human emotion, Interstellar fully swings the other way; each character’s actions hinge on deep set emotions.  And, technically, this film is spectacular.

With the earth a veritable dustbowl of choking humanity, a group of explorers make use of a recently discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage with one very important task, to save the human race from extinction.

Cooper (McConaughey) makes the difficult decision to leave his children behind in order to head up the space mission with Brand (Hathaway), Doyle (Wes Bentley), Principal (David Oyelowo) and a slick artificial intelligence called TARS (effectively voiced by Bill Irwin).  They are the new team after others have gone before them.   It’s up to them, not only to successfully traverse the treacherous wormhole, but to steer a course to the most viable planet on the farthest side of the universe where mankind might renew itself based solely on the data sent to earth by prior teams.   Who, if anyone, is still alive of those teams is a mystery to all.  

The clock is ticking fast for them to accomplish their goal as each hour they spend on the other side of the wormhole is equivalent to seven years back on Earth.  The mission will fail if everyone on Earth is dead by the time they actually find a planet capable of sustaining life.

The screenplay is based on the works of theoretical physicist Kip Thorne who described the story as “based on warped space-time” so some of the science is surely to be confusing but the emotional content is solid  – as Cooper puts it, “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.” – good motivation, and well expressed by all, each giving up a huge part of themselves for the greater good. 

Lotta says this is a beautiful experience, a sci-fi action adventure and serious thought provoking drama not to be missed.  My only criticism is a technical issue.  When I saw it on an IMAX screen, the sound effects were deafening and the music a little too loud at times which drowned out bits of dialogue.