The movie shifts gear to space, where three fellow astronauts and a walking, talking computer with sarcastic tendencies accompany Cooper. They explore new worlds, encounter perilous situations, and discover hidden truths that could ultimately determine the fate of humanity's survival. The last twenty-minutes alone is a masterwork that feels like a contemporary version of Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey." For a first time viewer, the ending maybe a bit confusing or deep. Several people in the theater with me began uttering phrases like "What did I just watch?" or "I don't get it. What happened?" Like Nolan's "Inception," this is a film that warrants multiple viewings. This reason may not necessarily be for audiences to help understand the events of the plot better, but rather to find concealed levels of sophistication in this multi-layered film. "Interstellar" is a movie you can watch once and be entertained. It is also one that can be viewed many times as a method to catch all the little details that Nolan has thrown into his film. Like a good, thought-provoking film, every shot and every bit of dialog is important and has a reason.
However, unlike a great intricate movie, there are moments in the plot where elements do not make much sense. Others feel forced and rushed. This may sound odd since it is almost three hours long. There are some moments that deliver as incredibly fast, such as Cooper saying good-bye to his family in one scene and then suddenly appearing in space with three characters that the audience had not been fully introduced. In this way, the movie feels almost like two films in one, the first with his family and the other as an epic space adventure. I can picture what Nolan wanted to achieve with his film—a sci-fi masterpiece with three-dimensional characters and a unique story. Sometimes it takes a long time to tell a story in its, entirety. "Interstellar" never feels long. As an audience member, I could care less if this movie was five hours. There were transitions and scenes that needed explaining.
The film has many great things going for it. McConaughey turns in a truly believable and outstanding performance as Cooper. We can feel the pain he emanates from missing his family and accept that he is a family man. He moved me in this almost as much as he had in "Dallas Buyer's Club." The supporting cast fades in the background compared to McConaughey, but they do all right. Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, and Matt Damon are among the A-list actors in this movie. They all fit their parts.
The visual effects, cinematography, and production design set a futuristic setting without it looking too much like a traditional sci-fi movie (ex: Star Wars, Star Trek, Aliens, Blade Runner). Rather the look is kind of gritty and it doesn't feel glossy, sharp, or overly polished. The technical attributes are convincing and look photo-realistic, especially the robot TARS. Never did I feel like I was watching a movie surrounded with green screens. The choice of using some practical effects helps in this regard. The musical composition by Hans Zimmer is hypnotizing. It put me in a trancelike state and mesmerized me beyond words. It's his best work since "Time" from "Inception."
"Interstellar" is overall a very good movie, perhaps even a great one. Yet I would not call it the best movie of 2014, nor would I hoist it up in the likes of other science-fiction movies. There is the issue of the sound mixing that is worth addressing. While I could hear the majority of the dialog, the mixer artists put the sound effects at top priority over the dialog in some instances. Though many people complain about this, it is really not a surprising technique that Nolan has chosen for his film. "Inception" and "The Dark Knight Rises" had the SFX and music mixed at a higher level than the dialog. This creates a realistic dynamic range. Just think, when you're flying a spaceship that is crashing and you're trying to yell over the malfunctioning controls and engines, your words would not be heard clearly. It is only bad during one pivotal scene where there is no SFX present. Whether by aesthetic, error, or the director's choice, it is very indiscernible and only frustrates the viewer.
This is a movie worth seeing in the theaters and I can picture myself seeing it several times. Buying it on Blu-ray though, that's debatable.