Chris and Jonathan Nolan are sure reaching for the stars with this ambitious picture. I suppose you can call it an epic, since it has great special effects and it’s almost three hours long. They also quote Dylan Thomas, so…that must mean it’s deep.
Like most people, I’m hit-and-miss with Nolan pictures. The Batman movies were good, but Man of Steel wasn’t. Memento was amazing. Inception and Insomnia – average at best.
Nolan brought Michael Caine, from The Prestige and Dark Knight, and actually got Matthew McConaughey to act in a way that wasn’t annoying. I feared going in that him talking while flying a space ship, would be like him talking while driving a Lincoln. He plays Cooper, a former NASA pilot that’s become a farmer. It’s sometime in the future, and dirt and dust covers everything. People and crops are dying. His daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) has the intelligence and stubbornness of her dad. In school they teach that the moon landing was a conspiracy, and that the US just wanted to bankrupt Russia in the space race. Murphy gets in fights stating otherwise.
In her room, books are knocked off shelves and dust creates binary code patterns. This leads them to a secret location where NASA is working. You see, society wouldn’t be keen on money going into space exploration when people are starving. Of course his old mentor, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), does what Nolan does in all his movies – he gives exposition to let us all know what’s going on. A team of astronauts is flying to various planets looking for a new home for the human race. They use wormholes that just appeared one day.
The astronauts going on the mission don’t include Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, or Scott Glenn. Instead, it’s Amelia (Anne Hathaway) and a few other forgettable faces. Bill Irwin provides the voice of the robot, and unlike HAL in 2001, this robot is humorous.
On the subject of 2001: A Space Odyssey…this movie borrows from that. It also borrows a tad from Moon (a better film), as well as Event Horizon, Cloud Atlas, and Prometheus.
Watching Coop deal with his father-in-law (John Lithgow), and raising his two children – all while feeling lost in the world, is rather touching.
The visuals were stunning, but I rarely recommend a movie based on that. For example, Gravity and Cloud Atlas were amazing to look at, and both those films were disappointing. And at the screening for this, I was in awe during one scene out in space…yet the woman next to me felt it was the proper time to turn on her cell phone and text somebody. Obviously she didn’t feel the same way about the visuals. That immediately made me think about my mom, who said that her worst movie experience was being at a double-feature with my dad in 1970. It was Ice Station Zebra and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I would’ve guessed that anybody that saw 2001 as a new film in a theatre, would’ve been blown away. So perhaps, these terrific space sequences aren’t for everybody.
I could’ve done with a little less of the space-time continuum, binary code, black hole mumbo jumbo. And as much as I liked the Hans Zimmer score, at times it was overbearing. It’s strange that, just like in Gravity last year, the filmmakers didn’t realize that sometimes the silence in space is a lot more powerful and that with film scores, sometimes less is more.
The script was inconsistent and predictable at times, and had a few clichés. The 3rd act doesn’t quite work as well as it should.
I’m not sure this needed to be three hours long, but watching the visuals in 35mm IMAX, makes it a trip worth taking to the theatres.
It gets 3 ½ stars out of 5.