I had seen all the stars of the movie Interstellar do their hustling of their latest flick on the late night shows but none of them gave us even a small clue to the power of this film. Its power is so subtle as to make you realize it only after sitting through the 3 hour extravaganza. This movie is a real roller coaster ride, starting in a car chase and ending with a reunion in a private room and a glimpse of a colony taking root on some distant star. Now that is all this movie is about, a roller coaster ride from earth to outer space with the intent of either saving the old world or creating a new world.
It stars many former Oscar winners, Matt McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, MacKenzie Foy, Jon Lithgow, and Topher Grace, and Matt Damon. Matt, Anne, and Ellen are all former Oscar winners. What a cast!
The theme of the film is the power of love which is what truly makes this a heartwarming film, for otherwise it is just another over the top science fiction film. But because we learn from the beginning of the movie that mother earth is about to expire, and that mankind needs to find a viable, habitable spot to relocate the human race, we are prepared to launch into outer space to locate a potentially habitable planet to continue the human race.
Simple plot: Old retired pilot discovers a secret NASA group who are preparing to venture into space to colonize a planet with human beings from planet earth. Because our hero Cooper played by McConaughey discovers the secret they in turn capture him and his daughter to interrogate him on how he was able to find their location. The group leader is a dignitary known to Cooper who then recruits the former astronaut to join the mission to find a habitable planet somewhere outside our solar system. There exists a black wormhole that a space vehicle can navigate to then travel beyond to hopefully find a planet that will be supportive of the human race.
The family of Cooper is key in this plot because his son has been rejected from engineering school to become a farmer, the occupation which his father has been doing since his retirement from NASA, and the younger daughter has been a problem for the school so she is suspended. The daughter is especially gifted and talented but because she she thinks for herself she is often stubborn and difficult.
This is a science fiction film which does utilize information that has long been known to most followers of space exploration. The time with which it takes to travel to another planet or solar system is measured against earth life. An hour in space travel is equivalent to 7 years in earth life in this flick. One thing I noticed in this film is the use of the old fashioned green blackboard with chalk. No computer projections or high tech devices in demonstrating the mathematics required to understand all this technical science/math talk. We get the idea that the brilliant scientists are technologically so advanced and special that a mere ordinary guy could never do the work of this elite force. Cooper's son is the average joe who has been relegated to being a farmer since the college admissions would not accept him due to low scores, but it has also been noted that the earth needs farmers more than engineers.
In essence, the movie moves back and forth between the travel into space with the members of NASA aboard the craft who are plummeting into outer space. The visuals are beautiful in this film, and it might be worth the higher price of IMAX to see this in high definition. I selected the regular for my first showing which saved me $$$$$. However, all the while our astronauts are traveling in space back on terra firma all hell is breaking loose. Dust storms are constantly beleaguering the farms and lack of rain is destroying the earth.
The race to save the human race is on and most of this film plays in outer space with the astronauts who are able to get through the black worm hole to find themselves in a different solar system. A previous crew had already gone to explore the region so that it is possible that they may find them or their remains somewhere in outer space.
Cooper's family story is the basis for the emotional impact of the story because the relationship between the daughter and the father is strained because she had not wanted him to go. She believed that he had left her and his family to die while he went out on the space mission, but after many years have passed, she reunited through video tapes that are relayed from the space center below to the astronauts aboard the ship. We watch the earthlings age and grow old, marry, have children, while the space travelers remain the same in appearance as when they left the planet. All due to gravity and the revolution of the earth around the sun.
We realize the loneliness of the astronauts, especially when a survivor from the previous crew is found alone in a hibernation state on a lonely planet. His yearning for human companionship is terrifying. Imagine being the long survivor on any planet, even earth. People long for one another.
He is the maverick in the group who keeps the film even more on edge than wondering if people will survive on planet earth and whether any of the astronauts will survive their journey. Matt Damon plays the role of Dr. Mann, the Lazarus of the film.
There is a massive struggle between the crew with whom we have traveled through space and this upstart from the earlier mission who has put himself to sleep to be reawakened when found. He is programmed for his mission so he thinks that he should be the commander of the ship. Conflict between him and Cooper drive the film a bit over the edge as the conflict between the two men is threatening and wasteful to the progress of the need to find a habitation for earth dwellers. Already, we have fought off the terrors of a watery planet to travel to an ice planet where we find the madman Dr. Mann, but now we must lose one of our original members to take on a deranged man whose sole purpose is to destroy the mission. What a mess!
In the meantime, Cooper and his daughter are reunited via video messages. Skype in space. But at least, it does ease the loneliness of our hero who has successfully brought this fantastic ship and crew with robot to finally have to hunt for a third planet. Another love story is told by Anne Hathaway, the lone female astronaut, who suggests a planet where a loved one may be dead or alive. She wants to find that planet so that the film travels on with our hero Cooper finally in a strange scenario of time travel. He is near death so that he is trying to communicate to his daughter the way to save the earthlings since she has the mental capacity to receive his messages and to comprehend the code that he will be sending her.
In the meantime, he sends Hathaway to her planet while he tries to wend his way to earth to find his daughter so she can be the saviour of the world.
It all works. And that is all I will explain away to get you to see this marvelous film. Oh, one thing if you read this I will admit that when Murph throws her watch it took me back to my hometown in Ohio where I used to do this but much more ferociously than Murph does. I must have told this on myself but as soon as I saw that I thought uh oh...I paid very close attention to the watch which is indeed the most important piece in the film for the salvation of the earth. Isn't that flattering? I am caught!