When Inception came out, there was a headline that said something like “Christopher Nolan has done the impossible: taken $160 million dollars and made a good movie with it.” Now, pairing that with Interstellar, I’m completely on board with anything Mr. Nolan chooses to do in the future, with a budget or without. You could argue that I should have already been on board, but whatever. I’ve only seen about half his movies, and don’t remember the non-Inception ones well. I think that Interstellar and Inception together might be the best one-two punch of smart, interesting blockbusters from any director.
Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey (vive la McConaissance!) as Cooper (isn’t every character ever portrayed by Matthew McConaughey somehow named Cooper?). He is an apparent former astronaut/engineer and current farmer, on a mid-near-future Earth where blight has cut the population dramatically. There’s more than a tinge of the post-apocalyptic vibe in the air. A series of disturbances in the Force (to coin a phrase) lead him to discover the last remnants of NASA, now working underground. And it turns out to be really convenient for the scientists, who’ve been building a spaceship with no one to actually pilot it.
So Cooper and Dr. Brand (Anne Hathaway) lead a merry expedition to a wormhole near Saturn and all sorts of shenanigans and hijinks ensue. Naturally, there’s a lot more shouting than that description would imply. There’s a lot of rumination on what you would do to save your own life versus what you can or should do to save the human race, especially when those are potentially mutally exclusive.
I liked this movie. I try not to read reviews or listen to podcasts about movies before I see them, but I did listen to one. Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider implied that the movie is too long and they generally didn’t care about what was going on back on Earth, and I generally tend to agree with their opinions about movies, so I went in to it waiting to be bored and waiting to not care. And… it just didn’t happen. I remained engaged and interested the entire time, and I didn’t feel like any part of it was too long.
Christopher Nolan makes great big-budget movies, at least, when he’s working with his own concepts and ideas. He’s great at establishing easy, concrete rules for weird worlds. We’re going four levels deep into someone’s dreams? Okay. There’s a strange multi-dimensional world inside black holes, and there are wormholes that connect different galaxies? Got it. No worries. He establishes the rules of the world and then works within them. And then he writes interesting, compelling stories within those strange worlds, and those are stories I like to watch.