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    November 6, 2014

    REVIEW: INTERSTELLAR

    Review: When I walk into the movie theatre, I am expecting two things from this movie. One, for it has a long running time, I hope that it means for the slow build-up will lead to a satisfying (not necessarily mind-blowing) reward. And two, for it is written by the Noland would mean I am here for a masterpiece of solid characters, storytelling and photography. Oh boy, how I am right about it. Even with a lengthy 169 minute run, "Interstellar" works beautifully like a charming and graceful space orchestra, filled with highs and lows of intellectual idea and thoughts, as well as spectacular theatrical experience that offers satisfaction to the senses. At times, it even feels like an homage to many of the Hollywood sci-fi classics, but it still has identity to prove its own worthiness.


    The premise of this movie revolves around the humanity in the near future, undated, concerned by the daunting realism that the planet is dying, getting dry up and dusty. The story sets in the American farm belt, which serves an essential task to provide food to millions. But it only takes a while to notice there are troubles looming. Staple crops are affected by diseases (blight) around the world; the climate is shifting into more angry dust storms; increasing atmospheric nitrogen, but depleting oxygen levels; engineers are not really needed as humanity is abandoning the concept of discovery for survival, and the military id disbanded so that more fund can be channeled into think tanks.

    "We are the caretaker generation." It may sounds like a post-apocalyptic world, but a small group of NASA scientists, led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine), is taking upon an impossible task to desperately to come out with solutions. Ultimately, they choose to explore the deep space, in the hope of finding a new planet to inhabit and to start a new life. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA test pilot and engineer; is just about to get comfortable with the farming life. But an opportunity to work on science arrives when he is asked by Brand to manoeuvre the space shuttle for the secret deep space mission Codename Endurance, along with Brand's daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley). The nature of the mission, which requires the crew to track down the previous explorers, means that Cooper will have to leave his family behind, for an unknown period of time, while the humanity’s final struggle is ticking off quickly.

    Scripted by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan, it is not that easy to estimate how big the story scope is going to be. The truth is - it is going to be gigantic. The Nolans does an amazing job of laying out the premise (or the problem underlying) right from the beginning.Interestingly, "Interstellar" also contains a very different side of storytelling approach that the director has never attempted before in his past movies. For instance, to showcase the bleak situation, Nolan resolves to the documentary-style interviews to narrate some portion of the first act, with stories are told from the perspectives of a bunch of elderly whom I assumed have endured the tragedy. There will be lots of thinking and talking points to be considered as the story progresses further into the most important things in the entire film - the deep space exploration. Of course, the challenge for a majority of the audience, is to keep up with the theories about space, black hole, time bending and gravitational singularity that constantly thrown around - but it will not be as deeply implanted as the idea as presented in Inception.

    While the bombing with technical and scientific jargons runs through with a literally seamless timeline, you do get the point of "Interstellar". This movie is not just about as a group of people, equipped with the latest piece of technology and fundamental knowledge is here to save the world. It also goes on with plenty of thought-provoking notions and the vision that the stake for humanity is getting higher. As usual, Nolan's idea pitch for the story always goes multifaceted. But the themes are fairly consistent as they tackle the survival of the human species, the fading hopes, and the responsibilities of a father to his children (and vice versa). This also results in yet another storytelling approach I seldom see in other Nolan's movie - that's the heartwarming elements. Some have argued that Nolan's movies such as Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy feels cold in emotion, but it is not the case in "Interstellar". The mid-film climax and the ending basically show a humility and tear-jerking moments - by effectively being the warmest story Nolan ever created. And what makes it even more distinguished is to have Matthew McConaughey acts them out in scenes, where we can see the joy, guilt and regret, are all blending together.

    With high concepts and intellectual ideals floating throughout the plot, it gets better when it is served with the amazing displays of effects and cinematography. Not only Nolan is an accomplished storyteller in "Interstellar" but also as an expert in visual aspect. The challenge in "Interstellar" is, of course, the tricky CGIs. While some may point out the lack of action sequences in this movie, but do remember that "Interstellar" is not really about that. The space exploration sequences are immersive and engaging, which are shot well along with the world-building aspects ranging from the icy tundra to the raging water world, all created from the bright insight of seasoned cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema and Christopher Nolan himself.

    While “Interstellar” is an overall cerebral and visual accomplishment, there are still some issues and shortcomings lie in within. Some of you may have detected the existence of plot holes, but I think I may need to have second or third viewings to talk more about it (it happened to The Dark Knight Rises). Nolan may have done a job well by presenting his idea, but a lack of proper explanation on the causative agents that trigger the predicament is clearly noticeable. With huge ensemble casting, I feel that certain characters are not written with ample emphasis (I can’t spoil much here) and are not given the chance to do more to the movie.

    In the end, “Interstellar” may just prove itself to be a polarizing film – you either love it or hate it. Equipped with a better plot, thought-provoking concepts, realistic (also tear-jerking) human emotion and visually spectacular; this science fiction space odyssey adventure is a worthy experience you encounter for much of your lifetime. A

    Numerical Rating (In case you are also interested):
    Story: 4.5
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 5.0
    Effects: 5.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 18.2/20.0

    Trailer:


    Info Dashboard:
    Interstellar
    Casts: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
    Director: Christopher Nolan
    Screenplay: Christopher Nolan , Jonathan Nolan
    Rating: P13
    Release date: 6 November 2014
    Running time: 169 minutes
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