Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Interstellar

Interstellar; science-fiction drama, UK/USA, 2014; D: Christopher Nolan, S: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, David Gyasi, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Matt Damon, Topher Grace

In the future, due to ecological devastation and exploitation, Earth's biosphere deteriorated permanently and humanity's doom in imminent. Corn is the only crop still harvastable. One day, girl Murph receives cryptic messages which lead her and her dad, pilot Cooper, to NASA's secret facility which is about to send astronauts into a wormhole, which appeared mysteriously near Saturn, in order to find a new planet to evacuate people. Cooper joins the mission, together with Amelia, Romily, Doyle and two robots. They enter the wormhole and get to another galaxy, where they explore three habitable planets. One of the previous astronauts, Dr. Mann, goes crazy and almost destoys the mission. Cooper falls into a black hole and uses time travel to contact his daughter Murph, and send her data via a code on the watch. This helps build a spaceship which transports people to the wormhole.

Christoper Nolan's first Sci-Fi film, "Interstellar" is one of the more ambitious and epic examples of that genre of the 21st century. A throughbred edition of it, the film starts off with an excellent opening act: it first features clips and interviews of older people talking about the events from their childhood, almost as a documentary, and then presents very dire and apocalyptic circumstances on Earth. Usual crops, such as potato and wheat, became useless due to a disease, and corn is the main food source for the world, whereas land erosion led to numerous sand storms. This act is very subtle, since it never shows what exactly caused such a collapse of the biosphere, but clever hints suggest overpopulation and ecological devastation caused by it. Also, Nolan neatly avoids turning too depressive and pessimistic, since the story's mood is already obvious enough. This act is necessary to establish that humanity has no choice but try to invest their last effort into finding a new planet to save their race. The sole sequences of space travel feature at least three phenomenal, inventive moments that have never before been seen in any other Sci-Fi film, and this says a lot: the rotation of the space station around Earth's orbit; the travel through the wormhole (equisite and deliciously original, as if they are traveling through a spherical tunel with Galaxies around the walls); the landing on a planet covered with a shallow ocean, which culminates in a 100 foot tall tsunami and a superiorly choreographed rescue action by a robot that is uniquely designed as a collection of four domino blocks. The meticulous visual effects help a lot to conjure up this impression, and complete it.

The first 2/3 of the film are excellent, and everything works with only minimal omissions until the last third which wrecks it. Had Nolan stopped the film when the crew meet Dr. Mann, he would have had one of the best Sci-Fi films released in the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the finale shows that Nolan can make the best out of a script, but that he films the script events indiscriminately, without any critical notion that some inferior things need to be changed or deleted in a film. The last third thus seems as if it was written by a 12-year old who wanted to sabotage the story, and yet, that was kept in the finished film. Dr. Mann's bizarre actions are entirely illogical. But even worse is the finale which creates ones of the most pointless, ludicrous and unecessary steps from a Sci-Fi into a fairytale involving time travel - and all the plot holes that come with it. The sudden inclusion of a time travel subplot tips the film so out of balance it is just sad, since so many obvious contradictions are left with it - including the classic mistake of who caused the first event in the first place, and why couldn't he used better methods to articulate his messages and send them even earlier back in time. "Interstellar" is thus one of those films you are angry they missed such a great result by so little. By so little it is unsettling. By so little it bugs you for months. In the end, this is a good film, but by having such a superior impression established in the first 2/3 of the story, one cannot pass over the sadness that the finale was "contaminated" by such a sub-par conclusion which just barely missed of bestowing "Interstellar" together with "Gravity" as one of the champions of 21st Century films about space.

Grade;++

No comments: