Interstellar is out of this world!

I have to say that I loved the movie Interstellar. There’s something so bold and inspiring about it’s message that to me it feels like a call to action for our generation and that of our kids.

Christopher Nola’s epic magnum opus Interstellar opened on Friday 8th Nov 2014. I saw it in it’s native 70mm IMAX format and it was a simply wonderful visual and sonic feast. With a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer it’s audio mix was sometimes almost too over-powering, and at points over-bearing on the dialogue, but had a stealth and grandeur that matched the breadth and depth of the film and it’s themes.


There’s of course mixed opinion of the film, and there’s no doubt that it tries hard to please everyone, but the way it taps into the zeitgeist of the scarcity of our planet and humanity’s involvement in it’s pending demise struck a real affinity with me. So much so in fact that in an attempt to prove that affinity wrong I went back to see it on a standard cinemas screen 2 days later!

Firstly I was once again absolutely delighted to be taken on this magnificent ride again, as it is just that – a galactic roller coaster. I was also glad that I saw it in IMAX first time round as the more scale and definition you have the better. Secondly I found myself even more attached and emotional second time around. Yes it’s schmaltzy in parts and the themes or love (and particulalrly Ann Hathaway’s attempts at defining love as a 5th dimension) were perhaps as far out there as they were first time round, but the way the film grapples with what humanity currently knows and doesn’t know is amazing.

While the film doesn’t try to explain relativity I believe it does respond to the current shift in global scientific intellect towards believing in the theory, not of universe but of multiverse. Indeed the 3 dimensional space created for Matthew McConaughey’s character by the 5 dimensional ‘deities’ is exactly that – a complex warren of paths through to alternative realities and times.

Not only were the effects spectacular and ground breaking in terms of their scientific studies, but the film paid tribute to and reflected many of the great science fiction films ever made. I wouldn’t want to call this observation geeky, because (as you know) I’m a great SF fan, but as science fiction heralded science fact it’s brilliant to see many of the effects that used to seem as fiction being played out in such a realistic way.


Films that I was reminded of were of course Kubrick’s 2001 (the moment where the ape throws the bone up into the air to then cut to the space station was mimicked by McConaughey’s departure from the home farm as the camera strapped to the side of his rig mimicked the launch of the space ship – an absolutely classic sequence if you ask me); 2010 (the black hole, the mystery of the monolith, but also the spooky nature of both films. For instance when Bowman comes back to speak to his wife via the TV… Betty: “Don’t go”, Bowman: “I’m already there”! Shivers!); Alien & Aliens (all good sci fi films should remind you of both of these!); Silent Running (saving earth’s greenery); Contact (of course, and how nice to be reminded of this classic movie which I loved and watched a lot back in the days); and with the space, decay and time-shift nature of AI:Artificial Intelligence (based on my dad’s Supertoys Last All Summer Long short story).


I saw the film with the Junk Food Movie Club guys, and while in the most part the film scored at least 8 out of 10 some saw the ending as at least a -4 pointer! So other than the love/5th dimension piece (which I admit is hard to swallow) I have this response to how Cooper (McConaughey) got spat back out of the black hole into his solo orbit around Saturn:

We don’t know what happens inside a black hole. We can speculate that the anomaly that caused the black hole in the film was the 3rd dimensional ‘zone’ in the 5 dimensional space that Cooper ended up in, but it’s the reason that we don’t know what’s inside a black hole that we can accept artistic license and assume that as you pass over the event horizon you could indeed cross back out of that dimension at a completely different place and time. Hey it’s not an explanation but it is what it is.


There are 3 distinct parts to the film and each of them has an epic moment – the steepest drop of the roller coaster ride. In the first half it’s Cooper’s decision to leave his kids and the  planet. In the second it’s the journey through the wormhole, and the third is the black hole sequence. I love all 3 (and there’s a lot more in between) but it’s the sequence with the voice over of Dylan Thomas’s Go Gently in the Night that is such an amazing cinematic moment. Here’s that wonderful poem in full:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

It’s an awe inspiring movie full of excitement, fear, love & hope and I hope lots of people get to enjoy it for the fact that it really helps us realise that we’re bigger than the planet that we were created on. The fact that the space race took a knock back after the end of the cold war  and the Space Shuttle missions is a real set back and we must continue to be explorers.

For me, despite the finite resources on this planet, I believe in the Gaia theory, and take comfort from the fact that even after we as a race are gone the planet will continue to exist. If only now we can find the inspiration and will, while we fight to fix the harm we have done, we also reach for the stars and find a new way to continue to broaden our horizons.


Here’s Mark Kermode’s forgiving review (he loves Christopher Nolan and had to choke as he swallowed Interstellar’s flaws):

PS During the 5th dimensional book shelf sequence at the end (the Tesseract) was anyone else reminded of this sequence from 2001?


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Not in the least bit copyrighted by Tim Aldiss 2012