Interstellar DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
In the near future Earth has been devastated by drought and famine, causing a scarcity in food and extreme changes in climate. When humanity is facing extinction, a mysterious rip in the space-time continuum is discovered, giving mankind the opportunity to widen their lifespan. A group of explorers must travel beyond our solar system in search of a planet that can sustain life. The crew of the Endurance are required to think bigger and go further than any human in history as they embark on an interstellar voyage, into the unknown. However, through the wormhole, one hour is the equivalent of seven years back on Earth, so the mission won't work if the people on Earth are dead by the time they pull it off. And Coop, the pilot of the Endurance, must decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race.

The Review
Christopher Nolan is by far one of my favourite Directors. His previous films The Dark Knight, Memento and Inception are certainly firmly in on top fifty films of all time. So of course I have been pretty excited in anticipation for seeing this film. Quite often this pre-screening hype turns out disastrous for the viewer. After all how can a film equate to the cinematic perfection that we can imagine in our own minds?

The story begins in a future that looks like the past and stays firmly rooted in dusty fields and old wooden farm houses for the first hour or so. Which at first thought might seem strange for a film about space travel and yet fits into the films continuum immaculately.

Make no bones about it, this is a long film that is has a slow to medium pace. So there are moments that are slow burn and yet I never felt bored. I have seen some other reviews saying they were but my answer to that is that I have found that often some film reviewers spend too much effort trying to find the perfect film that they struggle to actually lose themselves in a story. I certainly found myself neck-deep in the plot and at times struggling for air as the waves of intensity hit me hard in the face. At the conclusion of the film I felt physically exhausted both from the intensity in the story and the huge visual experience that is the Imax in all its glory.

Although he was forced to deliver the odd cheese ball line of dialogue, Matthew McConaughey did a brilliant job of a weird hybrid character that could only be described as fiction. A farmer scientist who flew for NASA. Before his recent roles in True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club I was not convinced that if he was anything more than a cheesy rom com actor. How wrong he has proved us to be. Christopher Nolan cast Matthew McConaughey after seeing his performance in Mud (2012). It was an "ideal moment" for Nolan when they landed a Texas native, McConaughey, for the lead role. "I'm thrilled for him right now. I didn't know how much potential he had until I saw Mud, not just as a leading man but in sheer acting talent." He remarked that in McConaughey, he "needed an everyday man who can experience these extraordinary events."

Of course it makes sense to utilize a collection of recognizable face such as Hathaway, Caine, Affleck and Chastain to add a solid feel to the cast whilst introducing some new child actors into the cinema industry. This is by far a team effort and around two thirds of the way into the movie another big name pops in that I was not expecting. (Enough said about that but enjoy the discovery)

Then of course there is the movies score, this is something rather weird and wonderful and certainly adds to the whole feel of the film. Composer Hans Zimmer was instructed by Christopher Nolan to make a unique score: "It's time to reinvent. The endless string [ostinatos] need to go by the wayside, the big drums are probably in the bin." Nolan did not provide Zimmer a script or any plot details for writing music for the film and instead gave the composer "one page of text" that "had more to do with [Zimmer's] story than the plot of the movie".

So what we end up with is heaps of big Church style organ blasting out at huge volumes. This big sound works in perfectly with the lush visual production. Like Inception and the last two "Dark Knight" films, Nolan has focused on as many real environments as possible. "We have spatial interiors...we built closed sets [and] shot it like a documentary like [the actors] were really there," he said. Nolan had the films visual effects created in advance and projected onto screens placed outside of the spacecraft set, so when the actors looked out the windows of their space vessel they would be able to see and react to a real environment and not a green screen. Technically, Nolan said he shot with an IMAX camera on Interstellar more than any of his previous pictures. He also wants to give greater enhancement to the audio experience this time around. He also stated that he has "very ambitious sound mix plans. [I want to] give audiences an incredible immersive experience. The technical aspects are going to be more important than any film I've made before."

The Verdict
Okay so in the words of the guys I took to the premiere, people will describe this film as a combination of Gravity and 2001 A Space Odyssey and let this is a better film than both put together. This is a must see on the big screen and it is very entertaining, inspiring and super intense.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 8th April 2015
Rating: M – Contains offensive language
Duration: 169 minutes 
Genre:  Sci-Fi Drama
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine
Director: Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, The Dark Knight)

The Extras
Some of the "archive footage" in the teaser trailer was filmed specifically for the production and then altered by the visual effects teams to appear much older.

Features the most ever footage shot using 15/70mm IMAX cameras for a feature film, and, due to the film industry's rapid conversion to digital projection formats, will potentially be the last feature film ever to be projected on 15/70mm IMAX film.

Steven Spielberg, who was attached to direct the film in 2006 and hired Jonathan Nolan to write the screenplay, chose other projects instead. In 2012, after Spielberg's departure, Jonathan Nolan suggested the project to his own brother Christopher Nolan.

The screenplay is based on the works of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. He described the story as "based on warped space-time - the most exotic events in the universe suddenly becoming accessible to humans".

In a Q&A interview at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on March 26, 2014, Christopher Nolan stated that Interstellar (2014) is "very different" from his past work and he was inspired by the movies he saw growing up during what he termed "the golden age of the blockbuster" - essentially, four quadrant films that didn't need a "family" label to appeal to all audiences. Nolan noted it's "really about going back to those sort of films." Nolan later cited the Steven Spielberg films Jaws (1975) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) as films which manage to tackle serious subject matters while still appealing to all audiences as examples for him to emulate.

Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne, whose works inspired this film, was approached to play himself in a cameo role in the film.

Christopher Nolan described the film as "an ode to human spaceflight"; he cites the "spacecraft" films 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) as an influence on the film.

In order to offer Jessica Chastain her role, Christopher Nolan sent an assistant to Ireland, where she was filming Miss Julie (2014) with a script watermarked with Chastain's name. Chastain was not allowed to keep the script after she read it.