Interstellar ***

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“Interstellar” is a big, ambitious film that tells a story that spans almost a century and reaches the farthest reaches of space. It is a shame that some aspects of the plot are far fetched or simply not believable because this could of been one of the great science fiction films of our time. Director Chris Nolan works from a screenplay written by himself and his brother Jonathan. Together they seem more interested in the cosmic visuals and the mysteries of space than they do the characters and the story.

The plot is about a team of space explorers who travel through a black hole in an attempt to find a habitale planet for humanity. Earth as we know it will lose the ability to sustain life in the future. Matthew McConaughey leads this team which includes Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi.

Mcconaughey plays Cooper, a farmer struggling to survive in a future where food is scarce and weather conditions seem to be growing more dire. He is a widower. He also struggles to raise his two kids, his daughter Murph and his son Tom. Murph believes her bedroom is being haunted by a ghost whom is trying to send her messages. Her and Cooper eventually discover that she is being sent coded messages through gravitaional waves. The message comes in the form of coordinates that them to a secret NASA installation led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine).

Dr. Brand explains to Cooper that they have found a wormhole, created by a possible alien race, that has lead them to three possibly habitable planets. Astronaughts have already been sent throug the whole to gather data, none of which as been retrieved and the crews were not hear from again. Brand then recruits Cooper to travel with a team to recover the data and determine which planet could be habitable. This would mean leaving his two young children behind for possibly decades. The first issue I had with this movie is how Cooper makes this decision with little to no notice. Yes the planet is at stake but he basically leaves a day after stumbling upon the secret NASA laboratory. His daughter Murph esspecially takes it hard and refuses to give him a loving goodbye.

The film follows up tearful goodbyes with a fairly rousing space adventure. When the team arrives at the black hole it is a wonder to beyold. The special effects when they enter are awe inspiring and must be seen on the IMAX screen for maximum impact. When the crew arrive on the target planets they find an array of astonishing dangers. The first destination seems to be an ocean covered world that is constantly plagued with tidal waves that are taller than sky scrapers. The next planet is frozen solid and does not seem capable of growing life let alone sustaining it.

The frozen planet has some drama unfold that did not sit too well with me and sort of distracted from the main plot line. When Cooper and his team arrive they find one of the original astronaughts alive. This is Dr. Mann played by Matt Damon. Mann as it turns out faked all of his data that the planet was a good place to settle basically so that he would be rescued. Violence is the result. I don’t for a second believe that something like this couldn’t happen but it doesn’t really have a place in this movie. The result of the confrontation is crew members lost, a damaged ship and a decision by the crew that results in unexpected sacrfices.

Director Chris Nolan and his brother Jonathan have made an admirable film. “Interstellar” is a stirring and sometimes awesome adventure. I just found the characters and their personal stories to be a sort of mixed bag. The actors give truly heartbreaking performances. Is there anyone giving more human an d passionate showcases than Matthew McConaughey these days? Here he is great again as the father who must leave his kids behind for the sake of all man kind. When his kids grow up they are played by Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck who have become jaded in the years after their father left. Murph in particular never sends him a message until decades after his departure. It is too bad they are not working with a more focused story.

The science in the film seems sound. I am far from an expert in space travel or phsyics. I trust that Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, who was an advisor on the film, helped to keep the scientific elements as accurate as possible.

“Interstellar” is a film that I want to see a second time in IMAX because visually it is like no other. I am a sucker for any movies that voyage in to deep space. This is a film built to be seen on a massive format like IMAX. I have no doubt it will be a massive box office success. I just don’t think it will become a must see for generations to come.

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