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Interstellar - Blu-ray Review

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Interstellar - Movie Review

3 stars

Relativity is finally portrayed correctly on film thanks to the efforts of Christopher and Johnathan Nolan BUT, with a running time at close to 180 minutes and a climactic event happening offscreen, Interstellar’s voyage has an opposite effect upon its audience. Einstein’s theory be damned. Walking back to the car after taking on this science fiction journey – which is as baroque as it is platitudinous - is like experiencing an unfulfilling yet strangely fascinating case of lost time alien abductees must feel. Having admitted that, I would, like a moth to the flame, still see the movie again simply for the breathtaking visuals and little else.

But…but…poor Madeline L'Engl. The author of A Wrinkle in Time never gets the credit she deserves in this male-dominated genre. And the scribes of Interstellar seriously need to bow down at her shrine and plead forgiveness for their grievous error. The Nolan’s are hoping you won’t notice what they’ve borrowed from her. And, truthfully, you might not. There is quite a bit of flowery eye-candy and celebrity star power to distract viewers as Interstellar tells the story of a pilot turned farmer turned astronaut turned mystic-hero named Coop (Matthew McConaughey) who must find a new planet for humankind if our survival is to continue.

The bonds he has with his helpful son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and gutsy daughter – played by Mackenzie Foy (and then Jessica Chastain who essentially returns to her Zero Dark Thirty role) – is all each other truly needs. Good thing, too. The earth is borderline dead. Heaps of dust gathers on the tops of cars and the land around them. It’s the Dust Bowl all over again and a father’s love is exactly what Murphy needs as a foundation to navigate the troubled times. That’s the point.

A lot has changed from the present day in the unspecified future of the Nolans’ script. Greed has destroyed the planet. People have no faith in science and textbooks have been rewritten to prove its fallacy. Even NASA has gone underground. How it is currently funded we’ll never know. Nor should we ask. Just sit back and relax as Coop discovers that its headquarters are actually within a day’s drive of his farmhouse as he and his daughter go all Scooby-Doo and chase a mysterious ghost.

Things are about to get corny as Coop contemplates the horizon and is enlisted by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) and his daughter (Anne Hathaway) to pilot a spaceship through a wormhole they believe placed there by dimensional beings leading us to a new galaxy. Sacrifices must be made and a father’s relationship with his daughter and son are compromised. Or are they? (Again, poor Madeline L'Engl!)

Amelia, Doyle (Wes Bentley) and – you know, for comic relief - a pair of Arthur C. Clarke-inspired robots, CASE and TARS (who is humorously voiced by Bill Irwin), join Coop as they go “out there”. Co-starring Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Casey Affleck, and Matt Damon, Interstellar is more pop than it is punk; more floral than it is heady as it rockets into its final arc of its rollercoaster loop-de-loop storytelling because, as you know, the Nolans can crisscross finales like no one else. Interstellar is definitely more fun than it admits to being (thanks in large part to a dopy advertising campaign) because, apparently, Warner Bros doesn’t want you to think Nolan can make only a “fun” movie and that, my friends, is a plus for a movie (and director) that sites 2001: A Space Odyssey as inspiration but operates more like a family-centered version of The Right Stuff.

Where Interstellar disappoints is with its most crucial element: it’s storytelling. There are a lot of gaps; a lot of vague points to churn over; a lot of dense speculation; a lot probably for Neil deGrasse Tyson to correct via his Twitter account. Clichéd declarations come with the territory but no one really hams it up. Platitudes and foreshadowing are the big tools at work. Logic often fails but no one will notice until someone start tugging at that string. Exposition never gets too terrible…until it stars stepping on its own revelations.

But, let’s be perfectly honest here, it is the beauty of this film that will draw people to it. Everything around the flight path of Endurance is incredible. Space is gorgeously rendered on film yet again and Interstellar deserves to be seen in IMAX. There are so many shots of galaxies and stars and planets that it is hard not to get swallowed up by the vast spectacle of cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema’s work. Zimmer, clearly out of his comfort zone in space, assists in the mission with his mesmerizing Philip Glass-like score. There’s a haunting element to both that is simply unshakable – especially on 65mm IMAX stock. If only everything within Endurance could match these scenes of space travel.

Interstellar asks us to believe that love will merge with gravity and be the “cement” that holds galaxies together. I just wish the narrative was a bit more realistic with characters that actually spoke to each other instead of being mere plot points and less borderline M. Night Shyamalan territory. What Interstellar does accomplish is an attractive journey through the far reaches of space. Nolan’s view of space is very inviting and slightly threatening; however, this is not the same galaxy as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. That metaphysical plain is thankfully still in a galaxy far, far away.

Interstellar - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.
Runtime:
169 mins
Director
: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain
Genre
: Sci-fi | Adventure
Tagline:
The end of Earth will not be the end of us.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt."
Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site: https://interstellar.withgoogle.com/
Release Date:
November 5, 2014 (limited)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 31, 2015
Synopsis: With our time on Earth coming to an end, a team of explorers undertakes the most important mission in human history; traveling beyond this galaxy to discover whether mankind has a future among the stars.

Interstellar - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 31, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Three-disc set (2 BDs, 1 DVD); UV digital copy
iTunes digital copy; Google Play digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to region A

Paramount’s 1080p blu-ray transfer is pretty impressive.  Interstellar is presented in a mixed aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and 1.78:1. 

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

On the Blu-ray itself, there are several hours of extra features.  The extras have over three hours of footage details about the science of the film, the music, the costume design, the locations, and the cast and crew’s reflections on working on this film.  The science of the film is talked about in great detail by the film’s science consultant Dr. Kip Thorne. He breaks down each law of physics and the theories of wormholes, blackholes, and space-time dimension.  There are many featurettes that explain basically everything from the film.  Each section is something new to learn about the filmmaking process.

The Science of Interstellar (50 min)
Inside Interstellar: Plotting an Interstellar Journey (8 min)
Inside Interstellar: Life on Cooper's Farm (10 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Dust (3 min)
Inside Interstellar: Tars and Case (9 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Cosmic Sounds of Interstellar (1 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Space Suits (4 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Endurance (9 min)
Inside Interstellar: Shooting in Iceland: Miller's Planet/Mann's Planet (13 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Ranger and the Lander (12 min)
Inside Interstellar: Miniatures in Space (5 min)
Inside Interstellar: The Simulation of Zero-G (5 min)
Inside Interstellar: Celestial Landmarks (13 min)
Inside Interstellar: Across All Dimensions and Time (9 min)
Inside Interstellar: Final Thoughts (6 min)
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