Critically acclaimed director Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento, The Dark Knight) tries his hand at the sci-fi genre for the first time with: ‘Interstellar’. As the beautiful cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema and incredible score by Hans Zimmer lend themselves to this original story of mankind venturing into another galaxy in the search for a new world, and although not perfect, the film is pretty entertaining overall.
When Earth’s future is being riddled with disasters, famines, and droughts. There is only one way to ensure mankind’s survival, interstellar travel. As a newly discovered wormhole in the far reaches of our solar system allows a small crew to venture where no one has gone before.
Nearly every visual throughout the film is stunning, as along with the gorgeous cinematography, lighting and CGI effects. The film really nails the shots within space perfectly, making many scenes look as if a majority of their shots had been taken straight from a NASA satellite, even integrating a great blend of colour and darkness. Many of the planets the crew visit throughout the narrative however, although very cinematic, never really looked ‘other-worldly’. Usually looking more like an attractive screen-saver, and although colours are used, it’s definitely a very contained colour palette when it comes to the planets. Many of the interior spaceship sets are also very striking in their appearance, hitting a great mix of modern-day and futuristic/high-tech technology.
Matthew McConaughey portrays: ‘Cooper’ the main protagonist of the film, and as per usual, he does a great job within the film as a farther who wants nothing but a great future for his children, and although none of the characters get much development throughout the story, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine (and even Matt Damon with his short appearance) all raise the bar high for the level of acting on display.
As already mentioned, the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema is fantastic throughout, having slow moving shots along with the more still shots for character scenes. All of this is being backed-up by the unbelievable score by Hans Zimmer, legendary composer for films such as: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘The Lion King’ as well as a few other Christopher Nolan films alongside this one. His calming, unique and very science fiction-like soundtrack really lend themselves to many of the impressive shots within space.
Easily the best part of the film for me was near the ending, as it’s around the conclusion of the film that we get some of the most amazing visuals combined with an extremely emotional moment. As a character undergoes a realisation and the film goes full circle, connecting itself back to the some of the early scenes. This climax really gives us some pay off for everything we’ve watched, it doesn’t quite make up for the long run-time in my opinion, but it’s still somewhat satisfying.
One of my biggest issues with the story and the film in general really, is the extremely slow pacing, as although it’s not ‘boring’ to watch it by any means. The film does move along at a very slow pace. As I found in particular the first thirty minutes of the run-time can drag on a first watch, as the story gets development only in small pieces. This is when the writing by Christopher Nolan and his brother is put to great display however, as we learn many small details about the characters and world of the film which come back into relevance later.
Personally, I wasn’t overly impressed with Christopher Nolan’s first sci-fi outing, although I was entertained for the most part whilst watching, and the visuals and music were a joy to experience. The long run-time and slow build-up, stops the film from being super rewatchable for me. As it never becomes as memorable as: ‘Inception’, ‘The Prestige’ or ‘Dunkirk’ through it’s story and characters. The film was still very well made, and I do feel Nolan would benefit from a stronger story in the future should he chose to return to the sci-fi genre. I’d give ‘Interstellar’ a high 6/10, hopefully next time it’ll be higher.