Having grown up watching sci-fi films with my father and my brother, delighting in everything from the old Star Trek episodes, to the Star Wars trilogy, and then branching off to watch everything else that was vaguely decent in the genre (David Lynch’s much maligned Dune from 1984 comes to mind), I have always been slightly alarmed by people who claim they do not like science fiction. To me this exclusion of a wonderful genre is synonymous (perhaps a tad unfairly) with a lack of imagination; perhaps even an inability to see past the blatantly obvious.
In the case of Christopher Nolan’s hugely acclaimed and tremendously successful blockbuster Interstellar though, the film-makers suffer from just a little too much imagination and a certain excess of creativity borne out of the hubris that comes with so much success in one’s chosen field.
Sci-fi lovers, do not be disappointed though. I am not saying that Interstellar is unwatchable, all I am saying is unless you have the ability to watch the film in the 75mm film print on an IMAX screen (as intended by Nolan), you will most likely not be blown away by this very ambitious, very confusing film.
The premise of the film is classic sci-fi. The planet is dying and Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey as the every man, albeit also a trained former NASA pilot turned farmer) must leave his ten-year-old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) to travel through a wormhole to try and track down another habitable planet. Due to various, inexplicable (at least to me) scientific anomalies and the presence of a black hole titled, suitably “Gargantua”, Cooper and his fellow heroic space travellers, which includes Anne Hathaway as Amelia Brand, the daughter of Cooper’s former mentor Professor John Brand (Michael Caine), travel to another galaxy where time is warped by the black hole causing an hour on one of the planets to translate to seven years in Earth time.
As Cooper and Amelia (and a few other surprising characters) struggle to find a habitable planet for the human race, Murph, who has never forgiven her father for leaving her grows up to become a NASA scientist herself (the adult Murph is played by the lovely Jessica Chastain), desperate to solve the equation that John Brand has been working on for years so that she may be able to follow her father.
As the science in the film grows ever more complex, so too does the storyline which involves five dimensional space that folds time and other equally confounding, but scientifically, possibly accurate (so the film-makers claim vigourously) suppositions, that ultimately tie up this strange but sometimes beautiful film quite neatly. Watch it, but remember to suspend your disbelief.