Interstellar Never Defies Gravity Because Of Too Much Dead Weight (Movie Review)

InterstellarThere was never a question as to whether or not I was going to see Interstellar theatrically.  On that same topic, there was also never even a question as to whether my first time checking it out would be in IMAX either.  The only question I had unanswered throughout this whole year up until a few weeks ago was how early I would be able to screen it.  You see, when it comes to the 44-year old director Christopher Nolan, in my opinion he’s earned the right to make a stinker or two and I’ll stand by the man, support him and walk in blindly to whatever his name is attached to no matter what, just like I did for Man of Steel last year.  Ever since 2000’s Memento the guy has been on a non-stop roll in the “success” category.  Simply put, he makes the movies this reviewer wants to see.  I also love the fact that he’s anti-technology when it comes to email and smart phones and is just all business.  I applaud that.  I wish I could adopt his philosophies and stances in my life, but I digress.  So I guess you can say Interstellar really had me at hello all this time before I even stepped one foot into the theater this past Monday evening.   It had Christopher Nolan’s name on the bill and in any universe that’s good enough for me.

Other than the ambitious science fiction interest here, the main draw of Interstellar has to be the cast to many.  Let’s face it, like Nolan’s career, the upward trajectory of Matthew McConaughey’s is a force not to be reckoned with.  You couple that casting choice with the likes of Anne Hathaway, the red hot (no pun intended) Jessica Chastain and everyone’s trustworthy butler, Michael Caine, and you literally have a cast “out of this world.”  And those names are just the icing on the cake.  There are plenty of other stars at play here once you strip the layers away.  However, my lips are sealed.  I’m not spoiling anything for you in that regards (although I badly want to because the one big one feels like I’ve seen the same character played by them before)!


So what I really want to do is skip over all the BS and hype within this review here.  If you know anything about this film, then you probably already know at least something about its lengthy production history and how it’s been in development for quite some time, even in the hands of Spielberg, and also formerly written by Jonathan Nolan, but I digress.  In addition to any production woes and distribution rights/agreements worked out amongst the studios, there’s also the scientific aspect of it all too.  What’s plausible within this feature?  Is any of this even remotely possible or comprehensible?  That’s a whole other can of worms to open here in my opinion.  And I’m so sick to death and bored of all the Kubrick comparisons (2001: A Space Odyssey) Let’s focus on the motion picture at hand here.  Let’s talk briefly about the plot, or how things go down, and of course what works and ultimately what doesn’t.  Sound like a fair trade off to you?  Good!

Rest assured this isn’t going to be easy for me, but I’m going to try to be as honest and as objective as I can throughout here.  So with that being said it comes with great pain and displeasure when I have to say Interstellar isn’t Christopher Nolan’s finest hour.  The Dark Knight Rises, admittedly had some serious flaws, but I loved it so because it was after all Batman in the “real” world.  I was even able to overlook the lunacy and limiting factors in Inception.  And truth be told, I thought I was going to have my cake and eat it too with Interstellar because it’s the best of both worlds in my opinion, science fiction and Christopher Nolan, but I’ve been known to be wrong before.  Interstellar, in my opinion, has some serious flaws and despite the attachment of the Nolan name I just can’t seem to look the other way this time out.  I’m so sorry Chris.


The story of Interstellar has to do with the same old subject worn over and over in the world of science fiction, doom and gloom.  Our planet is having problems and unless mankind does something about it people are going to starve and as they say eventually suffocate from all the dust.  I know!  How original huh?  Well I guess you can say the prologue of the story here lasts about 45 minutes before we even blast off into space with Matt’s character who has been chosen to lead a mission to “save” the world.  How and why was he chosen?  That’s a great question to ask, but that also means there are such things as a dumb question.  They do exist, but whatever.  In my opinion, a lot could have been done with these 45 minutes to make the terrestrial part of this tale more worthwhile, but ultimately all I really wanted to do is snooze until the space stuff started.

While Interstellar is definitely a human experience and quite an emotional tale at times, I feel like it tries too hard to counterbalance those sentiments with the whole wannabe “real” science aspect of it all coupled with dimensional what-ifs and essentially never achieves the heights I know it could reach due to all this extra dead weight it carries.  Things get bloated and too heavy here for my tastes.  Honestly, this whole thing felt like an M. Night Shyamalan production rather than a Nolan one, and those sentiments alone most likely represent why Spielberg probably left the project back in the days.  This is in no way shape or form a Spielberg movie.  Spielberg would have never let the science overshadow the story and most importantly, the characters, but I’ll exercise my right to digress again.

Having written screenplays before, and being a disciple of the art, I understand the need for conflict within.  However, with that being said, conflict should feel organic and never forced.  I did not feel or identify with those organic sentiments in Interstellar.  Everything kind of felt shoehorned in and just when I did start to fall for the emotional ploys in the film I’d be hit so hard over the head with scientific “facts” that Nolan I guess just feels like everyone should know, rather than trim some scenes up that don’t necessarily need to be as long as they are and take a few precious moments to discuss the “facts” behind the theories just shoved in our faces.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated beyond my wildest imagination about some of the topics and theories covered in this presentation, but I feel the lay people seeing this for the spectacle alone may get bogged down in it and adversely not care for it as much as they probably would have.  This problem I discussed is probably why Gravity was so appealing to the masses.  Yes, it was a big, giant spectacle, but you went along for the ride and it was a story of survival not weighted down by trying to be scientifically accurate and shoving theories in your face that are assumed you already know.  I think Nolan went a little too far to try and separate himself from the simplicity of his past stories.  However, that’s just my two cents here.


So let’s talk about the performances here for a bit.  The performances here in my opinion are what keep this movie grounded, in a good way.  The brilliant acting and emotional arcs are what kept me invested in this tale and like a hungry hippo I nutritiously fed off those tears the actors shed onscreen.  Make no mistake, Matthew McConaughey (all is forgiven for that Lincoln commercial) is at the top of his game here.  If he was the only actor in this film for 2+ hours I would sit idly by and bask in his radiant brilliance.  Equally impressive was Anne Hathaway (with the exception of some bad dialogue given here or there) and even Michael Caine at times when he’s allowed to shine and steal the spotlight.  While nothing can be said negative about the top billing of Jessica Chastain, she just wasn’t given enough to work with here in my opinion.  And when doesn’t John Lithgow excel in anything he’s in as of late?  I really wish I could go into so much more detail and discuss all the other names hidden from the movie poster here, but alas I cannot.  To do so would be to spoil it for you and that’s not my intention at all.  I really do want you to see Interstellar, preferably on the biggest screen possible, but that leads me to my next point here…the IMAX presentation.

While even though I’m not a huge, huge fan of Interstellar and what I’m about to drop on you in this paragraph may not be the most effective sales pitch, I’d still recommend your first viewing of this flick on the largest format possible.  That being said, go see this puppy in IMAX!  The very first shots in outer space on the large IMAX screen had me feeling a little uneasy in the belly area, but I got used to it very quickly.  There’s definitely a lot of beauty and awe in this one, but sadly something is missing. Despite the large screen format while we’re venturing in outer space, it did not feel that iconic or breathtaking like in comparison to how Gravity looked in IMAX.  The shots just weren’t iconic, unless you are talking about the visits on the foreign planets and then I’ll give you that, those looked completely “stellar” like the shot on the movie poster down below.  The one thing I do want to nitpick on visually though is the fact that the forever, erratic changing aspect ratios eventually drove me nuts.  I’m used to this from the Batman films of Nolan’s, but not to the extent of how it’s employed here.  And I do feel like I should also warn you about this one more thing in advance.  I thought it was only at my screening or maybe I was hearing things, but if you do a Google search there are some reports of others experiencing and making reference to the same areas of the movie where I had trouble hearing.  However, the saving grace in all of this is that the score is done by the masterful Hans Zimmer.  So even though you may have trouble hearing a dialogue line or two, you can still get your groove on with Hans’ infectious score although it seemed to dominate more than necessary during times of important dialogue.

So last but not least I want to talk about the ending of Interstellar, spoiler-free of course.  If you’ve seen it already, what did you think of it?  Did the scientific twists mess things up for you?  Did you find the ending way too convenient like it was in Mud for me (let it be known that I do like Mud)?  This next point is hard to make without divulging any of the film’s secrets, but I’ll try my best.  What I want to know is while we are in space what is happening to the Earth?  When we left Earth it was almost to the point where humans needed to do something quick to survive.  While we were gone in space, did things just stay status quo?  They come back to Earth throughout the film, but I never really see or feel the “gravity” of the situation besides a few dust storms and coughs.  I don’t know, it felt sloppy, but then again The Dark Knight Rises was too and I was completely forgiving about that.  However, that’s the point I’ve been trying to make here.  The Dark Knight Rises had deeply established characters going for it from the get go so I was already completely invested.  Here, I felt the emotions and rode the roller coaster, but other than McConaughey’s character, the science (even though I love the subject matter to death) as portrayed onscreen completely undid and unravelled almost everything for me in a M. Night Shyamalan kind of way, which means I did not get the real movie I came to see.   I can’t say I did not enjoy the ride because I did.  I just wish I enjoyed it more.  I wanted to be enthralled and whisked away with my suspension of disbelief never in doubt.  So even with that all being said I DO want you to go see this as soon as you can and I look forward to checking this one out on Blu-ray to see if I can be a bit more forgiving four months from now or so.  Enjoy!

Interstellar Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

Comments are currently closed.