#29: Interstellar (2014)

When and how did I watch this?

April 8th, 2017, on Amazon Prime.

Had I seen this film already?

Nope.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I thought Matt Damon was in this one, and he is, but Matthew McConaughey is the featured lead. I suppose the nearby release of The Martian created some confusion for me.  The name kind of gives away its nature as an epic space thriller type of film.

What do I know about it now?

The film takes place in a borderline dystopian future. The world is starving, and scientists worldwide are scrambling to figure out what’s wrong with the crops, all gradually succumbing to blight. Joseph Cooper (MacConaughey), a no-nonsense former NASA pilot, stumbles upon a strange message in her daughter’s bedroom, leading him to a NASA facility — long cut from the government for budget purposes — where the staff is looking to “eject” humans and find another host planet. Christopher Nolan takes this foundation and creates a very scientific and simultaneously very spiritual journey through wormholes, gravitational time dilations, singularities, event horizons, and alternative dimensions. This film could have wholly slipped into sci-fi mumbo jumbo (at times, it resorts to chunks of abstractions and explanations), but there’s a strong emotional tie here with Cooper and Murphy (Foy/Chastain), established early on and never relenting, even at great distances. Like the best films on this list, no detail is wasted, although at times the narrative borders on cryptic, reserved for those who already have a firm scientific foundation. In the end, almost everything is explained, leaving room for curiosity and wonder, but resolving the central conflict in a refreshing fashion. MacConaughey is perfect; he steals the whole thing. Meanwhile, we’re privy to spectacular special effects (it’s 2014) and Zimmer’s stellar score (see what I did there?)

What are some themes in the film?

Space travel, family, fear, death, sacrifice, 3rd/4th dimension exploration

Did this affect me personally?

My wife and I both lost it when Cooper retrieved his messages on the ship after visiting the first planet. Tears galore.  The film is often striking and beautiful, making heavy use of panoramic shots and realistic space scenery.

Why is this ranked #29?

There’s some hype involved in its position on the list (Nolan/Zimmer, 2014 release, ensemble cast), but it’s one of the few recent releases that’s worthy of a high ranking on the IMDb Top 250. Its effects, memorable scenery, score, and masterful acting are all contributing factors. There’s a strong father-daughter tie in the film, which can resonate with a wide audience.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She watched this one from front to back and loved it.

Would I watch it again?

I would have no problem seeing this one again, but it’s quite an experience.  I’d have to pace myself.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

I’m guessing most of my peers have seen this one.  It’s certainly worth a look.  I made an allusion to spirituality; there is plenty of space and even reverence for God as Creator in this film, a refreshing departure from the typical shunning of such an idea in cinema and science.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

This film satisfies the Christian palate, and it serves as an eye-opening and jaw-dropping exploration of the cosmos that even the skeptic will find enlightening and riveting. Nolan resounds as a movie-making genius once again.  He’s a fan favorite for sure, but his work is often worthy of reverence.  Interstellar is another masterpiece, outshining previous entries (MementoThe Dark Knight RisesThe Prestige, Batman Begins) by light years.

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