Interesting Interstellar

This will be a quick-ish review. Or just some thoughts really about Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. If you want to see it I recommend finding a big screen. The score is good too.

My first thought is this is how the crew of Prometheus should have behaved. Like professionals and experts.

The cast was good. Especially the kids. The relationship between Cooper and his daughter Murphy is a highlight, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Matthew McConaughey is well supported by among others, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, and David Gyasi, who seemed familiar then I realised he was in the episode of Doctor Who called Asylum of the Daleks.

The robots were pitch perfect. Just the right combination of clearly ahead of time in terms of design and function, coupled with humour and call backs to films like Alien (in terms of interfaces with the writing on screens). Their ‘journeys’ as characters were as #rightinthefeels as any of the other characters.

I sometimes think audiences are captivated by Nolan’s films, including Memento, The Prestige, Inception and the Dark Knight films. You can feel the quality in the production, in the sound quality, in the score, in the visuals and he gives actors enough to do. There’s emotional depth, especially in this film. All of them are made by someone who really loves what cameras and old and new technology can throw up on screens.

And yet.

I wonder if there is enough meat on the bones of these films to speak to us in a decade or more, or whether they warrant deeper consideration.

Nolan and his production team are interested in time and memory and space and the nature of identity and obsession, that’s clear from all of his stories. First and foremost though, they are films that are experiences. Ones that throw the audience into Nolan Space, for a long journey. This film, especially, was immersive, with the take off from Earth, the wormhole sequence and other in flight sequences I won’t spoil being particularly effective. There was plenty to feel.

Quick sketch of Saturn as the Endurance flies by.

Quick sketch of Saturn as the Endurance flies by.

However, like the mist of your breath on a window pane, Nolan’s films indicates important processes happened, but this dissipates quickly once you emerge blinking into the day out of the cocoon of the cinema.

The feeling it gives is too easily overcome by…life. Do I want too much from a pretty good film? It’s a few hours later and I wonder how much I’ve been left to think about and whether it’s just me.

Artist's rendition of Earth 2.0

Artist’s rendition of Earth 2.0

Stuff to think about

I disagree with the repeated tenet of the film, that we are from Earth but we are not meant to die here.

There were references to the environmental and health impacts of the American dust bowl drought of the 1930s as well as the Irish potato famine, and commentary on defeatism in the face clearly massive changes in ecosystems and climates. It brought back memories of the 1983 dust storm.

There was science, of course, with Kip Thorne’s influence on the physics of space flight and black holes and worm holes evident. They had characters solving problems, rather than running around stupidly (vis a vie Prometheus).

There were enough psychological issues to consider regarding the difficulty of humans dealing with the implications of relativity and travel through space/time.

In the end, what I’m left with is that love is what drives us to cross space.

If there are comparisons to be made, yep, it had plenty of references to 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it was more circular. Perhaps Jodie Foster’s Contact comes closest thematically, with Foster’s character represented by Murphy. All that space, all that distance, and what humans really do, is go out to meet ourselves. And carry all the darkness and love with us.

I think’s it’s a similar message to that which Mal taught River:

I think it’s enough. For now.


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