Interstellar ★★★★½

Why do we like (love) Christopher Nolan?

Is it because he makes perfect movies? Of course not. His most recent attempts have all been chock full of problems. If you are the kind of person who is taken out of an experience because of a single mistake, I'll go ahead and tell you there is a chance you won't like this movie. If you're the kind of person looking to find one of the only major blockbuster producing sources of wonder, imagination, and risk; then buy your ticket. Interstellar is a giant, unwieldy, monster shot into space with the goal of solving humanity's biggest problems.

It's a shame this movie is nearly three hours long. It should have been four. I think I could have watched five hours of this. I can only hope that Nolan will release some sort of director's cut of the film. The first hour of the film feels SO rushed. We all know they have to get to space eventually, that's what it's about. But they move the characters through their last moments on Earth so quickly you hardly get a chance to establish your footing. They do sort of a poor job of explaining the drought, the food shortage, the reason for leaving. It doesn't feel like the end of the world. There's a PTA meeting in the first half hour for God's sake. Despite it feeling like I was being hurried along I was still able to connect deeply with the character and the mood of the film, especially the character played by Mackenzie Foe, Murph. (hence, cry number one).

I think a huge part of the emotional impact this film puts out comes from the amazing Hans Zimmer score. I've been a big fan of Hans' stuff in the past. This trumps everything I've heard. Just like the movie, this score is so imposing, so monumental. He takes a step away from the blaring trombones (don't worry, there is still tons of bass) and steps up to the organ to give the movie a sort of Gothic, Catholic church, religious power. The first hour moves quick, but manages to fill in a ton of mega important moments. By the time Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) gets in his truck for the last time the score has already sunk it's hook deep, and it got me (hence, cry number two).

So now we are in space and I have to admit it's almost a little underwhelming. I mean, don't get me wrong it was great. Certain of the space scenes were especially impressive. But the camera work by Emmanuel Lubezki on last year's Gravity makes this look three years older than it actually is. And that's not the only time you'll be thinking about Gravity while watching this movie. I don't think it's any mistake either. I wasn't counting but the word gravity is uttered about a hundred or more times. At one point someone even says that their job is to "beat gravity". I can't imagine this was all a big coincidence. It's a very similar movie in a lot of ways, and that extends to the painfully unsubtle dialogue and developments. Where I think this movie falls short of being a great movie is in it's subtly. Nolan must think the average audience member has an IQ close to that of a ten year old. Everything is so heavy handed and easy to predict. Lines like, "It's not impossible, it's necessary". The "twists" are expected and pretty much come from other movies. It's not a movie that lets you fill in the gaps and that can be a bit frustrating. But that being said, it is a still a very CHALLENGING movie in it's own right. I was not expecting Nolan to take this movie to the places he did. He does use very conventional elements, but he also makes some extremely bold and never before seen choices. It was sappy. But it worked. That score got me every time it was intended to and even when I knew it was coming I couldn't help but be overwhelmed (hence, cries number three and four).

It's close to being Nolan's masterpiece. It's definitely the closet thing he's done to Inception and I would say it rivals that one. It has so many problems, it almost ends up being a guilty pleasure.

I wish it were four and a half hours long, I cried four and a half times, so I think it deserves four and a half stars.

Thank you Nolan for being brave.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.