Thoughts on… Interstellar (2014)

Imax-poster-for-interstellarAnother of director Christopher Nolan’s science fiction epics, Interstellar (2014) tells of a strange future Earth that has experienced an environmental catastrophe leading to large-scale food shortages. As a result of this disaster, a crew of astronauts must explore the universe to find an alternate home for the citizens of Earth, where resources are abundant.

I only watched Interstellar recently, and after finishing it I almost felt jet-lagged, as if I’d returned home from a long space journey. Below are some of my thoughts that were floating throughout my brain during and after watching.

Be warned: There are a couple of spoilers below.

  1. Interstellar is described on its Wikipedia page as a “science fiction epic film”. Is it just me, or is the term ‘epic’ synonymous with ‘exhausting’? Because this film was truly exhausting. But also quite good.
  2. I went into this without having seen one trailer, so I didn’t even know much about what the story might contain. I knew there was space travel and perhaps a bit of time travel, but that was the extent of my knowledge.
  3. I really enjoyed Interstellar, and I wonder if it’s because I went in with little to no expectations for it.
  4. Matthew McConaughey’s emotive performance was top notch. That scene where he is essentially watching his son grow up before his eyes was heartbreaking.
  5. Mackenzie Foy’s performance as McConaughey’s young daughter (who grows up before our eyes to become Jessica Chastain) was another highlight.
  6. I know a little bit about science but the majority of the scientific information in this went way over my head. There was a whole bunch of exposition (scientists explaining science to one another?), but it was way better than the insane amount of exposition in Inception (2010).
  7. The score by Hans Zimmer is so great. It was nominated for a Best Original Score at the Oscars however lost out to Alexandre Desplat’s work for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
  8. What I loved most about the score was how it sounded similar to music by Philip Glass, who I love for his strange mathematical-sounding tunes. There was a strange clock ticking musical effect throughout that built tension so well.
  9. I also loved the brief snippets of information about the strange future world that the story was set within, to build the world one puzzle piece at a time. We weren’t given a big spiel at the beginning, which is the curse of a lot of films that have a complex world or lore.
  10. Christopher Nolan is the master of developing suspense and tension in his films. Say what you want about Nolan’s spinning top antics, he truly knows how to keep an audience on its toes and to keep drip-feeding information so that the audience’s intrigue is maintained.
  11. And who can forget those strange visuals when McConaughey’s character is stuck within the black hole towards the end. I loved the way this was conceptualised, and even though some of the “it was love all along” sentiment threw me off a bit, the visuals in this scene were mindblowing enough for me to not really mind.
  12. I felt like it was really easy to get lost in Interstellar, kind of like getting sucked into a black hole.
  13. By watching this film, I’ve finally crossed off one of my New Year’s resolutions. So that’s great as well.
  14. Bonus: If you want to hear an explanation of the ending from the one and only Neil deGrasse Tyson (also known as my secret science husband), enjoy:

4/5
Watch the trailer here.

25 comments

  1. Glad you enjoyed this one! I’d like to see it again soon – I think it will do even better on the re-watch. So far I still prefer Inception as it left more questions unanswered but this is a close second.

    1. Yeah, I’m interested to see how this fares on the rewatch as well. I think I might get the science-y bits better upon rewatch too. I still haven’t rewatched Inception since seeing it at the cinema, it might be time!

  2. so fun to read you’ve had the identical interstellar-experience that I had! had not seen the trailer either and also thought the “love” bit was a little off. I kind of never want to watch it again as the second time might ruin this experience? will at least give it a few years, I guess.

    1. Hmm, I’m interested to watch it again to see if I understand the film better. But I’m definitely going to wait a while! Funny that we had the same experience in watching this one!

  3. This movie was awful good but it was awful looooooooooooooong – I’m glad I watched it at home so I could pause it frequently to hit the loo.

    Great post!

    #interstellaries
    #stringtheoriesies

    1. Oh yeah, that was one benefit of watching this at home. I initially felt bad for not watching this in the cinema but having that magical pause button was perfect.

      #pausies
      #mcconaughsies

      1. Yep!!!

        #peebreaksies

  4. Not as good as Nolan’s past flicks, but still interesting. Good review.

  5. I thought I was your secret science husband?!! No wait, I’m thinking of your secret sexy husband

    1. Haha! Not such a secret anymore!

  6. This movie was fantastic. One of my favorite points in the movie were the part after they visited the first planet. They were thinking so hard about it, trying to map out exactly how they should approach scouting the planets since they were so near a black hole and they knew it would mean relative time lost for people back on Earth, and they were drawing up equations, factoring in the time loss, really thinking about the data from the previous scouts, basically making a really informed judgement about what it is they should do, and they end up on the fucking planet that has an endless tsunami going on LMAO when Matthew Mcconaughey said “Well we are not prepared for this” me and my friend were laughing so hard haha I don’t know if we were the only people who thought that part of the movie was hilarious or not, but damn the whole movie was just a phenomenal piece of art really, that moment just stuck with me haha

    1. That was such a well-developed part of the film, that bewildered feeling of finding out that you’re completely wrong about something that is so foreign and unpredictable that it bends the brain. Shows that they really had no clue what they were in for! That tsunami planet was intense.

      1. It truly was intense! And very true it showed how they really had no idea what they were getting into at all, it was a very well developed point and the whole film was really just fantastic haha I vote Matthew Mcconaughey for Joel from the Last of Us Video Game if they ever make an adaptation, he plays the role of emotionally tortured father so well

  7. I thought the film was really tiresome and in the end average but I agree about the score and McConaughey’s performance – those were definitely the film’s highlights for me

    1. I’ve been listening to the score lately and loving it. It’s surprisingly good music to clean the kitchen to!

  8. it felt like a really expensive and overly dramatic season of doctor who

    1. Ha! That is actually a great comparison.

  9. I liked elements of Interstellar but the endlessness of it kind of killed it for me. Plus the whole “it was love all along” thing was a bit meh.

    1. Nolan always has a bit of a twist but for the twist to be love all along was a bit of a downer, I agree!

  10. I’m so glad you liked this movie! It has a ton of detractors, and for good reason: It’s full of problems. I spent the majority of my review praising it and then bashing it, then praising it again and then bashing it again. But it stayed with me so much that I ended up putting it on my year-end top 10 list. It’s great cinema.

    1. Thanks Reuben, I totally agree! All those pros and cons added up to a pretty epic piece of cinema.

  11. I didn’t really like Interstellar all that much — too much going on! — but the explanation by Neil deGrasse Tyson’s explanation was extremely helpful. If I had to sum up my reaction to Interstellar it would pretty much be “Well, it was pretty.”

    1. It certainly was very pretty! I’m glad we have people like NdGT around to explain films like this to science plebs like me.

  12. […] on visual symmetry in each shot. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema also worked on Her (2013) and Interstellar (2014) – both visually sumptuous – which gives you an indication for his love of colour […]

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