Brief Review: Interstellar

November 26th, 2014, 4pm

It was 16.1°C with broken clouds. The wind was light.

If you’ve considered seeing Intestellar, please do. Don’t deprive yourself of this exhilarating cinematic experience any longer!

Interstellar is a jaunt that takes beyond our imagination of the wider universe (unless this is the field you work in or love), but reminds us that what really matters is Earth, our first home, the place we love. While many reviewers think that the acting isn’t its strongest, with a cast like Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, who have both done pretty damn well at cutting their acting chops in the past (the former of with went from causing me to shudder to being one of my favorite actors in just a few years), and for the most part bring us right along with them.

I will say that the smaller roles didn’t feel as strong. I loved Jessica Chatstain and John Lithgow (again, faultless in basically any role–how does he do it?), but felt a bit put off by both Michael Caine and Matt Damon (who’s in an uncredited cameo role… what is that about?). Their characters felt insincere, contrived, and plot devices, rather than living, breathing humans. The most minor casting was solid, but the middle layer was missing something.

If you’re hoping Interstellar is beautiful and believable, I think that’s one of the strongest characteristics: it’s visually flawless to my untrained eye, and many, many field experts have endorsed the movie as accurately capturing our understanding of interstellar science and how the universe actually looks and behaves if you were to send humans there. I originally saw the film in 35mm, and my second viewing in 4K was equally stunning.

The big weakness in Interstellar is the sound. I’m not the first one to say it, but I am definitely going to add my voice to the din. The theater where I first saw Interstellar is an old building, and the sound system isn’t great–I thought my hearing problems were the fault of the theater, but it turns out no, it’s a professional screw up. Nobody seems ready to admit it, but I’m not happy that my favorite movie of 2014, and certainly on my Top 10 All Time list, has repeated issues of the soundtrack obliterating the dialogue. In film school, that’s acceptable–with Academy Award-winning sound mixers, it’s just sloppy. After doing a lot of research, I chose 4K as my second viewing format because it seemed to be the best chance of hearing the lines. While there are still moments of dialogue-obliteration, it’s much improved in the 4K mixing format.

On the whole, I’m still endorsing Interstellar. It’s one of the few movies I’m willing to pay to see twice, and am willing to buy or pay to acquire a copy of (without a disc drive on my Mac, it’s more about paying for a digital copy nowadays, eh?). If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s an excellent weekend plan. With Mockingjay in theaters now, you’re likely to have quite a comfortable amount of space in the theater too! I look forward to seeing if Interstellar will get any Academy Award nominations, too… we’re approaching that time of the year, and while Nolan isn’t often given the credit he deserves in the awards circuit, I think Interstellar is his strongest work, and hope it breaks that pattern.

Emanuel, David Wade and Christine said thanks.

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Valerie Stimac

Constraints create lots of great things, diamonds and creativity among them.

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