Film Review: ‘Interstellar’


Christopher Nolan hopscotches across space and time in a visionary sci-fi trip that stirs the head and the heart in equal measure.

To infinity and beyond goes “Interstellar,” an exhilarating slalom through the wormholes of Christopher Nolan’s vast imagination that is at once a science-geek fever dream and a formidable consideration of what makes us human. As visually and conceptually audacious as anything Nolan has yet done, the director’s ninth feature also proves more emotionally accessible than his coolly cerebral thrillers and Batman movies, touching on such eternal themes as the sacrifices parents make for their children (and vice versa) and the world we will leave for the next generation to inherit. An enormous undertaking that, like all the director’s best work, manages to feel handcrafted and intensely personal, “Interstellar” reaffirms Nolan as the premier big-canvas storyteller of his generation, more than earning its place alongside “The Wizard of Oz,” “2001,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Gravity” in the canon of Hollywood’s visionary sci-fi head trips. Global box office returns should prove suitably rocket-powered.

We begin somewhere in the American farm belt, which Nolan evokes for its full mythic grandeur — blazing sunlight, towering corn stalks, whirring combines. But it soon becomes clear that this would-be field of dreams is something closer to a nightmare. The date is an unspecified point in the near future, close enough to look and feel like tomorrow, yet far enough for a number of radical changes to have taken hold in society. A decade on from a period of widespread famine, the world’s armies have been disbanded and the cutting-edge technocracies of the early 21st century have regressed into more utilitarian, farm-based economies.

“We’re a caretaker generation,” notes one such homesteader (John Lithgow) to his widower son-in-law, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA test pilot who hasn’t stopped dreaming of flight, for himself and for his children: 15-year-old son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) and 10-year-old daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), the latter a precocious tot first seen getting suspended from school for daring to suggest that the Apollo space missions actually happened. “We used to look up in the sky and wonder about our place in the stars,” Cooper muses. “Now we just look down and wonder about our place in the dirt.”

And oh, what dirt! As “Interstellar” opens, the world — or at least Cooper’s Steinbeckian corner of it — sits on the cusp of a second Dust Bowl, ravaged by an epidemic of crop blight, a silt-like haze hanging permanently in the air. (Some of this scene-setting is accomplished via pseudo-documentary interviews with the elderly residents of some more distant future reflecting on their hardscrabble childhoods, which Nolan films like the “witness” segments from Warren Beatty’s “Reds.”) And as the crops die, so the Earth’s atmosphere becomes richer in nitrogen and poorer in oxygen, until the time when global starvation will give way to global asphyxiation.

But all hope is not lost. NASA (whose massive real-life budget cuts lend the movie added immediacy) still exists in this agrarian dystopia, but it’s gone off the grid, far from the microscope of public opinion. There, the brilliant physicist Professor Brand (Michael Caine, forever the face of avuncular wisdom in Nolan’s films) and his dedicated team have devised two scenarios for saving mankind. Both plans involve abandoning Earth and starting over on a new, life-sustaining planet, but only one includes taking Earth’s current 6-billion-plus population along for the ride. Doing the latter, it seems, depends on Brand’s ability to solve an epic math problem that would explain how such a large-capacity vessel could surmount Earth’s gravitational forces. (Never discussed in this egalitarian society: a scenario in which only the privileged few could escape, a la the decadent bourgeoisie of Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium.”)

Many years earlier, Brand informs, a mysterious space-time rift (or wormhole) appeared in the vicinity of Saturn, seemingly placed there, like the monoliths of “2001,” by some higher intelligence. On the other side: another galaxy containing a dozen planets that might be fit for human habitation. In the wake of the food wars, a team of intrepid NASA scientists traveled there in search of solutions. Now, a decade later (in Earth years, that is), Brand has organized another mission to check up on the three planets that seem the most promising for human settlement. And to pilot the ship, he needs Cooper, an instinctive flight jockey in the Chuck Yeager mode, much as McConaughey’s laconic, effortlessly self-assured performance recalls Sam Shepard’s as Yeager in “The Right Stuff” (another obvious “Interstellar” touchstone).

Already by this point — and we have not yet left the Earth’s surface — “Interstellar” (which Nolan co-wrote with his brother and frequent collaborator, Jonathan) has hurled a fair amount of theoretical physics at the audience, including discussions of black holes, gravitational singularities and the possibility of extra-dimensional space. And, as with the twisty chronologies and unreliable narrators of his earlier films, Nolan trusts in the audience’s ability to get the gist and follow along, even if it doesn’t glean every last nuance on a first viewing. It’s hard to think of a mainstream Hollywood film that has so successfully translated complex mathematical and scientific ideas to a lay audience (though Shane Carruth’s ingenious 2004 Sundance winner “Primer” — another movie concerned with overcoming the problem of gravity — tried something similar on a micro-budget indie scale), or done so in more vivid, immediate human terms. (Some credit for this is doubtless owed to the veteran CalTech physicist Kip Thorne, who consulted with the Nolans on the script and receives an executive producer credit.)

The mission itself is a relatively intimate affair, comprised of Cooper, Brand’s own scientist daughter (Anne Hathaway), two other researchers (Wes Bentley and the excellent David Gyasi) and a chatty, sarcastic, ex-military security robot called TARS (brilliantly voiced by Bill Irwin in a sly nod to Douglas Rain’s iconic HAL 9000), which looks like a walking easel but proves surprisingly agile when the going gets tough. And from there, “Interstellar” has so many wonderful surprises in store — from casting choices to narrative twists and reversals — that the less said about it the better. (Indeed, if you really don’t want to know anything more, read no further.)

It gives nothing away, however, to say that Nolan maps his infinite celestial landscape as majestically as he did the continent-hopping earthbound ones of “The Prestige” and “Batman Begins,” or the multi-tiered memory maze of “Inception.” The imagery, modeled by Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema on Imax documentaries like “Space Station” and “Hubble 3D,” suggests a boundless inky blackness punctuated by ravishing bursts of light, the tiny spaceship Endurance gleaming like a diamond against Saturn’s great, gaseous rings, then ricocheting like a pinball through the wormhole’s shimmering plasmic vortex.

With each stop the Endurance makes, Nolan envisions yet another new world: one planet a watery expanse with waves that make Waimea Bay look like a giant bathtub; another an ice climber’s playground of frozen tundra and sheer-faced descents. Moreover, outer space allows Nolan to bend and twist his favorite subject — time — into remarkable new permutations. Where most prior Nolan protagonists were forever grasping at an irretrievable past, the crew of the Endurance races against a ticking clock that happens to tick differently depending on your particular vantage. New worlds mean new gravitational forces, so that for every hour spent on a given planet’s surface, years or even entire decades may be passing back on Earth. (Time as a flat circle, indeed.)

This leads to an extraordinary mid-film emotional climax in which Cooper and Brand return from one such expedition to discover that 23 earth years have passed in the blink of an eye, represented by two decades’ worth of stockpiled video messages from loved ones, including the now-adult Tom (a bearded, brooding Casey Affleck) and Murphy (Jessica Chastain in dogged, persistent “Zero Dark Thirty” mode). It’s a scene Nolan stages mostly in closeup on McConaughey, and the actor plays it beautifully, his face a quicksilver mask of joy, regret and unbearable grief.

That moment signals a shift in “Interstellar” itself from the relatively euphoric, adventurous tone of the first half toward darker, more ambiguous terrain — the human shadow areas, if you will, that are as difficult to fully glimpse as the inside of a black hole. Nolan, who has always excelled at the slow reveal, catches even the attentive viewer off guard more than once here, but never in a way that feels cheap or compromises the complex motivations of the characters.

On the one hand, the movie marvels at the brave men and women throughout history who have dedicated themselves, often at great peril, to the greater good of mankind. On the other, because Nolan is a psychological realist, he’s acutely aware of the toil such lives may take on those who choose to lead them, and that even “the best of us” (as one character is repeatedly described) might not be immune from cowardice and moral compromise. Some people lie to themselves and to their closest confidants in “Interstellar,” and Nolan understands that everyone has his reasons. Others compensate by making the most selfless of sacrifices. Perhaps the only thing trickier than quantum physics, the movie argues, is the nature of human emotion.

Nolan stages one thrilling setpiece after another, including several hairsbreadth escapes and a dazzling space-docking sequence in which the entire theater seems to become one large centrifuge; the nearly three-hour running time passes unnoticed. Even more thrilling is the movie’s ultimate vision of a universe in which the face of extraterrestrial life bears a surprisingly familiar countenance. “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” harks the good Professor Brand at the start of the Endurance’s journey, quoting the melancholic Welshman Dylan Thomas. And yet “Interstellar” is finally a film suffused with light and boundless possibilities — those of the universe itself, of the wonder in a child’s twinkling eyes, and of movies to translate all that into spectacular picture shows like this one.

It’s hardly surprising that “Interstellar” reps the very best big-budget Hollywood craftsmanship at every level, from veteran Nolan collaborators like production designer Nathan Crowley (who built the film’s lyrical vision of the big-sky American heartland on location in Alberta) and sound designer/editor Richard King, who makes wonderfully dissonant contrasts between the movie’s interior spaces and the airless silence of space itself. Vfx supervisor Paul Franklin (an Oscar winner for his work on “Inception”) again brings a vivid tactility to all of the film’s effects, especially the robotic TARS, who seamlessly inhabits the same physical spaces as the human actors. Hans Zimmer contributes one of his most richly imagined and inventive scores, which ranges from a gentle electronic keyboard melody to brassy, Strauss-ian crescendos. Shot and post-produced by Nolan entirely on celluloid (in a mix of 35mm and 70mm stocks), “Interstellar” begs to be seen on the large-format Imax screen, where its dense, inimitably filmic textures and multiple aspect ratios can be experienced to their fullest effect.

Film Review: 'Interstellar'

Reviewed at TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Oct. 23, 2014. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 165 MIN.


A Paramount (in North America)/Warner Bros. (international) release and presentation in association with Legendary Pictures of a Syncopy/Lynda Obst Prods. production. Produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, Obst. Executive producers, Jordan Goldberg, Jake Myers, Kip Thorne, Thomas Tull.


Directed by Christopher Nolan. Screenplay, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan. Camera (Fotokem color and prints, partial widescreen, 35mm/70mm Imax), Hoyte Van Hoytema; editor, Lee Smith; music Hans Zimmer; production designer, Nathan Crowley; supervising art director, Dean Wolcott; art directors, Joshua Lusby, Eric David Sundahl; set decorator, Gary Fettis; set designers, Noelle King, Sally Thornton, Andrew Birdzell, Mark Hitchler, Martha Johnston, Paul Sonski, Robert Woodruff; costume designer, Mary Zophres; sound (Datasat/Dolby Digital), Mark Weingarten; sound designer/supervising sound editor, Richard King; re-recording mixers, Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker; visual effects supervisor, Paul Franklin; visual effects producer, Kevin Elam; visual effects, Double Negative, New Deal Studios; special effects supervisor, Scott Fisher; stunt coordinator, George Cottle; assistant director, Nilo Otero; casting, John Papsidera.


Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, Timothee Chalamet, David Oyelowo, William Devane, Matt Damon.

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  1. Asking questions are actually nice thing if you are not understanding something totally,
    however this piece of writing presents pleasant understanding even.

  2. Chinyere says:

    Outer space, invisible realms and incomprehensible dimensions have always fascinated me and by extension, the Science Fiction genre. After watching the mind-bending Interstellar and being profoundly awed by it, I read up topics on gravity and its effects on time space phenomena, relativity, black holes, wormholes and watched Interstellar a second time around, with a better understanding. I realised there were similarities between Astronaut Cooper, robot TARS ordeal and the Near-death experience.
    1. People in near-death situations travel
    through a (black hole/wormhole?) tunnel.
    2. They experience time space variation or the total absence of time. Some people are convinced that they have spent aeons in an alternate dimension when in fact they were ‘dead’ for five or ten minutes of earth time. A sick patient I know was mortified and confused to discover that she had spent three months in coma. She argued vehemently that she had been on the ‘other side’ for just a few minutes. Probably there is very minimum gravity effecting higher realms of existence.
    3. People in Near-death situations are able to glimpse into past, present and future timelines of earth and higher dimension events with all of it happening simultaneously in the ‘now’.
    4. They experience that love transcends space and time.
    5. They wake up (recover) like Cooper and believe that they have had a real and profound journey.

    In the near future, I believe that the two parallel concepts of science and the paranormal will meet at a point of being a singular, unified idea.

  3. Also, get one by means of a recommendation from a pal who had a profitable sale with one other agent.

  4. davidw says:

    Here is my reading of most of the articles on this movie.

    The problem with this movie is that the main action set pieces are at best only tangentially related to the story’s theme. And the set piece that does have to with the theme (at the end), is sort of absurd.

    I think the movie tries to be two different things – a movie about relations of family members, and, say, Star Trek. It does not succeed in this nearly impossible task, although it does try very hard.

    The movie tries to be extremely realistic and use lots of practical effects. This is incredibly refreshing. However, this makes it all the more difficult to suspend disbelief for the thourghly absurd things it introduces later in the film.

    Some people liked the cinametography, but I found it dull and lifeless. The spaceships where painfully realistic – they were dull, black and white, with harsh lighting and just…dirty. The exteriors also had that flat, realistic look.

    • Ben says:


      There is nothing unreasonable about the ending. All Feynman diagrams, for example, work the same regardless of the direction of time. There is one time travel theory described in a book by Columbia University’s Brian Greene which indicates that traveling back in time is logically possible if any changes made were sort of “pre ordained” to be made. That is, if the totality of time includes backwards time travel with changes that allow the future to occur as putlined by the totality of time (that is, there isn’t a future that is altered by time teavel; instead the changes made into the past by the time travler aren’t really changes; they are all written into the history of time).

      As for higher dimensional beings, read Flatland and the large amount of mathematical, philosophical and scientific discussion on a universe with more than three spatial dimensions. And again, these weren’t higher dimensional beings, they were human descendants sending information back through time (again, see Brian Greene’s “The Fabric of the Cosmos” and his other works).

      In short, while the ending is highly speculative, it is FAR from unreasonable speculation. You just hit the wall in your knowledge of the frontiers of astrophysics. Again, the ending is highly speculative, but based on our current understanding of physics, it wasn’t unreasonable speculation.

  5. Matthew says:

    Oh man. Saw it 4th time today with parents. I’m still blown away as it makes the hair on your skin stand and your heart melt.

  6. arena23 says:

    This is really well written! I’m a big fan!

  7. Alfred G says:

    When you review a film you should critique the sound. Most people I have talked to complained that there were too many time when the dialog could not be understood. We do not all have the hearing of an 18 year old. Early in the picture the music reached dangerous levels. People were covering their ears. At the end of the picture in the last scene Ann Hathaway had some dialog which was completely covered up by the music. No matter how good the visuals are it takes dialog to tell the story. n this day and age it is unacceptable to have muffled sound, to have whispered scenes that cannot be understood. In this day and age the technology is available to have good sound. Do not directors understand this? Do they not care? After Interstellar and Inception I have no desire to see another Christopher Nolan film. Directors have fallen into the trap that it is all about glorious visuals. It is not! It is about the story.

  8. Tim says:

    Personally I loved the film. Out of the full running time (169 minutes) there were a few cringe-worthy passages but frankly most movies have that during the beginning credits. This is a near-perfect representation of what the Science Fiction genre is about: Big ideas coupled with personal connections and in the end… ultimately optimistic. I’m so tired of the dystopia-driven drivel that masquerades as Science Fiction. That is the ultimate lazy-man’s sci-fi (I’m looking at you, Hunger Games). Films like this and Gravity remind me why I fell in love with the genre years ago.

    The acting was excellent, the settings and effects were great. Yes…there are a few holes in the storyline (where exactly did that wormhole come from?) but as an overall narrative it hangs together very well.

    The ambition of the movie is far-reaching and it has startling depth. Is it perfect? No. Is it a great movie? Yes.

    • adam says:

      I watched the bluray version through a good sound system and the music does drown the dialogue. Nolan’s film “the prestige” remains his best.

  9. Tom says:

    Exceptional film. Loved every second (of which there are many!). Sure, you can pick it apart if if you like but you can pick apart any film – this is science-FICTION people. They used Kip Thorne to get it as credible as possible and when they hit the unknowns, Nolan’s mind/imagination took over. There are plenty of ‘theories’ about how black holes are supposed to behave, how gravity is meant to work, mathematically. But has anyone actually been to a black hole and checked it out to verify who’s right? Um, no. So give Nolan break, don’t take it too seriously, enjoy the movie… or, go watch a documentary and let the dreamers dream. This movie is awesome, and for me highlights one very real thing – one day, humans will have to leave this planet. The sun will get too big and the earth will become way too hot for life to survive. I would hope, one day, we find a way to move on.

  10. Abahelafeliak says:

    INTERSTELLAR I must say was VERY disappointing. The vain imaginations of men’s
    minds. Really, it was irrational nonsensical rubbish. I would rate it a 3 out of 10.
    The story line was as above, the camera work good, the special effects good, the acting reasonable from Matthew McConaughey.
    The rest so so. I do not think this film will rate well. If it does I will be most surprised.

    It is a very vain attempt to rationalize man’s existence.

    • Carl says:

      Irrational? A film can’t be rational or irrational.

      Good camera work!? Good special effects?! Are you a simpleton?

      Man’s existence does not require rationalization. Are you criticising the film-makers for attempting to do so because it is futile? Life is futile, and when you see someone try to say otherwise that means they’re making a bad movie, but with good camera work? Good camera work can be rationalized, right?

  11. RAK3 says:

    We think we would have enjoyed the film if the special effects and musical soundtrack had not overpowered out most of the dialog. Many viewers left about 1/2 way thru.
    The comments about the unreality of the film are correct, but it is SCIFI people. Everyone has their own right to fantasize!! It is NOT a documentary.

  12. Nic Valle says:

    This film is the equivalence of hitting yourself in the head with a hammer for three hours. What a pretentious garbled mess of a film.

  13. John Apparite says:

    I so wanted to like this film, since I am a lover of sci-fi cinema, but INTERSTELLAR is just a lotta bit of a mess. Call me picky, but there were too many distracting plot-holes and unbelievable moments for me to take this thing seriously. Here’s just a few (SPOILERS APLENTY):

    I’m supposed to believe that Cooper lives just MINUTES from a secret NASA facility? NASA desperately needs a pilot, but they don’t apparently even know he’s just a 10 minute pickup ride away? They offer him the job without any apparent training (remember, he last flew for NASA over a decade prior) and he jumps right in without missing a beat? The earth is on the brink of starvation, everyone is just about to starve we’re told…and then 23 years later EVERYTHING looks exactly the same, and no one seems to be starving at all? Presumably Global Warming is contributing to the crisis but when trouble arises every farmer just lights their fields on fire? The people they sent out departed 10 years earlier, and NASA’s JUST getting around to sending another crew to look for them? I can give another dozen examples, but you get the idea (and this is all from the first third of the film). This movie, when pressed under the weight of logic, just crumbles.

    And way, way too much was borrowed from other films. 2001–organ music, ‘monolith’-like robots, astronaut trying to force way thru airlock into spaceship, character named ‘Mann’ (Bowman), journey through wormhole/stargate sequence, etc. Some of this might be put down as ‘homage’, but much more seemed derivative, if not lazy.

    And a lot of it didn’t make sense, and no attempt was given TO make sense of it. There was way too much time pushing books thru bookcases and no time at all explaining exactly HOW the ending came about. How does Cooper end up floating by Saturn? How did the starving people on earth construct a huge lovely green space station 2 years distant from earth? The whole interaction between he and his daughter in the study ate up minutes that could have been put to better use. Same with the beginning–way too much time spent with exposition, frankly the whole film ran 45 minutes too long. Some of the special effects were lovely, but some were not well done, and the planets themselves were distinctly unimpressive (BTW, how does one generate a 200 foot wave on a planet where the water is shallow enough to wade in to retrieve a data recorder?)

    Very little of this film made sense, although I did love the organ music. Of course, that might’ve just been Hans Zimmer ripping himself off from that first scene of THE THIN RED LINE. But yeah, I liked the music. Too bad it couldn’t have been matched up with a better, more believable, more coherent film.

    • Dynnik says:

      I totally agree with your review. // I would add, as a personal comment, that the Strauss organ ‘homage’, amongst other ‘homages’ quickly got me tired. It gets to show how singular were the other referenced films; even a “Star Wars” homage when he boards a ship at the end with TARS (!)… Come on! It confirmed to me as well how much “Contact” is an unappreciated jewel. How derivative in style “Interstellar” is!

      Furthermore, every line or conflict just felt too much like a cinematic artifice to support the •relativity of time next to a black hole• plot point. Script was too obvious with this. I think they thought they were making an intimate film, but the relationships portrayed between the characters are too shallow for the audience to really root for anyone. Even the father /daughter scenes at the beginning are not well structured as to show their motivations and the much too exaggerated reaction from Murph. Also, why not explore in detail the relationship (friendly or romantic?) between Brand and Cooper? That was a waste of talent on such unfocused scenes: honesty to 90%… Of what?? Too obvious again. Made me appreciate “Gravity” much more, in its minimalist but emotional mise-en-scène (not the grandiloquent visuals; I mean the character development).

      All in all, nice entertaining film but… with delusions of being much more cinematically than it is. It lacked ‘artistic and emotional honesty’. For me Nolan’s prime is seen in “Memento” and “Batman Begins”, for being very original and groundbreaking films (equally pretentious, but less self-conscious).

  14. juan says:

    I wanted to love this film, like any other filmmaker/ spectator resting before the big screen, hoping to be enveloped by it, but was deeply disappointed at how shamelessly it steals from Contact. This film is to Contact what Treasure of the Sierra Madre is to Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. Does it cater to some of the aesthetic and narrative appetite wonderfully triggered in the spectator by the predecessor? Sure, but even that possible upside is irreparably soiled by the lack of acknowledgment of the obvious sources.

    With little difficulty one could trace this film’s every plot point to one element or another in Contact, fanning the ever-growing tendencies in Hollywood to “borrow,” which amount to little more than plagiarism. Add to the mix permissive fanboy film “journalism” like this and the stage is set for a culture that rewards theft. And we dare lecture China on intellectual property rights? It is a sad scenario for all, especially true lovers of cinema. In all its superficial virtues this film only outs its creators as frauds who owe a great deal to one Mr. Sagan and his collaborator Mr. Zemeckis.

    I wanted to love this film, but instead left the Harlem Magic Johnson screening room at first angered, then saddened at the bleak prospects for the filmmakers struggling to realize authentic work.

  15. Barry Privett says:

    fyi @foundasonfilm, the interview clips are authentic and taken directly from Ken Burn’s doc “The Dustbowl”

  16. Charles says:

    Hmmm. Interesting review. Appears to have omitted referring to the inordinate lumps of exposition dropped into the viewer’s lap, the cloying, cheap attempts at sentimentality, the weak dialogue, the paper-thin characters, the gaping plot and logic holes, the distorted and muddy sound design, and the lack of emotional connection with the characters. Sure, the movie deals with big topics, including relativity and time distortion, which I suppose is why this three hour movie felt like it lasted for three weeks instead.

  17. teaisstronger says:

    He should have gone to Mercury since he loves Mercury long before they paid him to go there.

  18. teaisstronger says:


    The constipation of the left. The Leftist Liberals have discovered the Hoth Ice Planet for us to move to.

  19. teaisstronger says:


    The one way trip turns out to be a bust. Un-breathable atmosphere, ice cold and barren makes it an atheist paradise. No a place Leftist Liberal Democrats would want to escape to is it?

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  21. Worst film I’ve seen this year. A shame given the incredible potential of the story line. The director’s attempts to translate science for his audience simply do not work. Instead, what we get is Nolan’s vanity gone wild, overwhelming the story and the audience. As for dialogue, it gets lost in too many of the scenes. While I stuck it out to the bitter end, some on the audience did not, walking out of the theatre well before the film ended. A case of a director injecting too much of his own creative ego into a movie that begs for a more clarity and a little less “stuff”.


    I watting is movie very interested this moviesmovie

  23. Richter Childs says:

    Please don’t place “Gravity” along side all time classics like “The Wizard of Oz,” “2001,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Gravity is all style and no substance, its already forgotten. No one will be marveling about Gravity 40+ years from now.

    • Alfred G says:

      Richter I must agree with you. My wife and I could not understand all the awards and nominations Gravity received. It was quite ordinary. The essence of film should be the story. Too often these days directors are only looking for big visual effects.

    • Neil says:

      And what is the difference between them and Gravity? Time, as in time will tell….

    • Ken says:

      I would absolutely place Cuaron’s GRAVITY in the pantheon of great visionary fx-driven flicks (and its technical achievements will be referenced for years to come). As a study in 1 person’s grit, pluck, survivalist determination against overwhelming odds, GRAVITY is something of a compelling and suspenseful masterpiece. It’s a fast, tidy, nearly perfect motion picture. It will stand the test of time.

    • Jedi77 says:

      Very true. My reaction as well, when ‘Gravity’ was mentioned as a classic, which it most certainly will never be.
      A fine film, yes, but it leaves you with nothing.

    • me says:

      And the same will be true of this picture, even though I haven’t seen it yet of course. People throw around these words like “visionary”, “classic” etc. like it means nothing. Just because a movie is different doesn’t make it an instant classic. Of course the reviewer is too young to realize the ludicrousness of his remarks.

  24. So glad Nolan is giving the middle finger to short sighted multiplexes that ditched their film projectors by releasing it early in 70mm, 35mm and 70mm Imax. And the cheek multiplex owners have in saying he is sending the industry ‘backward’. No, he believes in quality and the art of ‘film making’. By offering flat, muddy and lifeless digital projection in mutliplexes that don’t even employ a projectionist, that is sending the industry backward. Something that has been lost to the average modern audience thanks to the pedestrian expérience peddled by AMC, etc. There is no crime in shooting it on film and releasing it the way it was meant to be seen. 70mm Imax film has 10 times the color, depth, etc than digital movie projection. Such a sad grab at ‘control’ by studios by forcing the DCP projection method down the industries throat. Cinema goers should be careful though most of the ‘IMAX’ theatres in the U.S are not real IMAX (they are just slightly larger than standard screens situated in multiplexes, branded IMAX with tickets charged at IMAX prices. For example the only actual real IMAX location in NYC is up at Lincoln Plaza, and they have the 70mm Imax print. Not the inferior digital Imax that is being forced upon movie goers (yup, they are even dumping those incredible projectors for inferior picture quality).

    • Mel says:

      Nope, sorry, saw it in real film IMAX and have to say film projection is DEAD. It looked like it was down a generation, the contrast was harsh, the whole thing looked ugly. I poked my nose into the next theater where they were screening it on a 4K digital projection and it looked a hundred times better, since it was pulled from the original negative and not an interpositive. Not to mention the annoyance of huge bits of fuzz and hair appearing and disappearing throughout (particularly annoying on a white icy world) and the horrible striations caused by the glass film gate, again glaringly apparent on a white icy world. There’s no way I’ll ever see a film IMAX movie again if I have a choice. You can be a purist, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better theatrical experience.

    • Myka says:

      I agree with alot of what you are saying. My GF & I wasn’t going to pay extra for Imax or XD with s screen slightly larger than a normal screen. No 70mm showings close to where we live. You still can tell it was shot on film instead of Digital (it was a clear nod to 2001 & Close Encounters being shot that way)

  25. John says:

    Jean-Michel: you are absolutely correct. There is no way this particular plot point is feasible and considering all the hoopla about how scientifically accurate the movie is, how they went out of their way to hire scientific consultants (Kip Thorne in particular) I’m really surprised that this mistake got through, especially considering it appears to be a large part of the story. Now, all the talk has been about the black hole depicted in the movie. This was the perfect opportunity for the film makers to use a medium to explain the time travel aspect of their movie, why didn’t they use gravitational time dilation relating to the event horizon of the black hole to explain the time travel instead of the planet thing?

  26. Dwight David says:

    We are running out of everything time to make a transition to the stars instead of fighting endless wars!

  27. Girish MENON says:

    Thank you for revealing most of the story.

  28. Jean-Michel says:

    “New worlds mean new gravitational forces, so that for every hour spent on a given planet’s surface, years or even entire decades may be passing back on Earth.”

    I saw something like this in a TV spot and I’m really baffled by it. This is called “gravitational time dilation” and it’s certainly a thing, but the effects are tiny, tiny, tiny in the grand scheme of things. For the effect to be anywhere near as strong as implied here, we’d be talking gravitational forces that would kill people long before they even set foot on the planet, or planets with absurdly huge surface areas (as in bigger than our entire solar system) and absurdly low densities (as in nowhere dense enough to have a liquid surface, never mind a solid one). So for anyone who’s seen the movie: do they actually explain this, or is it just an instance where they threw real-world physics out the window to create some more dramatic tension?

    • EricSlusser says:

      It is somewhat more justified by having the planet orbiting a black hole. So there’s nothing special about the planet per se. You will still be cringing at the physics, and I at least was cringing at some of the more philosophical dialogue. Nevertheless, I found the film extremely entertaining and artistic and would recommend it to everyone.

  29. LOL says:

    The adult blockbuster needs reviving. We nned to wean ourselves off rubbish kidpics and start embracing the kind of movies they used to make ( but have GIVEN UP ON.

    • Michaelmas says:

      I would point out that the script was vetted and story worked on by a well regarded theoretical physicist. Your understanding of physics is or ably not quite as broad or deep as their consultant.

      • Pablo Podhorzer says:

        I felt that Nolan was treating me as a stupid person (and I am certainly not). When an astronaut started explaining to ANOTHER astronaut what a black hole is, any shred of patience towards Nolan (and his Nolanoids) was forever gone.

  30. Isaac says:

    Excellent review, Scott.

    Loved the screening, breathtaking effects, one in particular was the shot showing the ship crossing the rings of Saturn I was literally mesmerized by it.
    With such a epic scope it was refreshing to see that the screenplay did not take a backseat to elaborate special effects and wondrous feats. Nolans efforts are there in service of McConaughey’s performance, and the resonant, It was a telling human with a lot of emotional weight to it… We’ll be seeing it again opening night. (thumbs up)

  31. Infidel 6 says:

    Done–its on the must watch list…………………….

  32. Maja says:

    Has this film been financed by companies that already exploit and frack this planet? To make believe that after earth has been destroyed, we can always hop on to another planet and go on with eternal growth and exploitation and capitalism forever? What asshole behavior.

  33. john kelso local 44 says:

    Dear Scott Foundas: Besides a great film, Nolan made most of the picture in Los Angeles !!! A forgotten ghost town of film making. Nolan is “THE MAN” … “Alright, Alright, Alright “

  34. Jim says:

    How much Matt Damon is making off this film?

  35. George Ebersole says:

    Hmm, plot holes about; a grain blight and no militaries? I got news for you, historically that’s kind of why militaries exist; fight over money, land and food. But, nevermind. If it looks good enough, and feels right enough, I’m sure audiences will go see it. I can make a better movie.

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