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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » December 1, 2014
Film review
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December 1, 2014   
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Christopher Nolan, the director who breathed new life into the Batman franchise and made the hit movies Memento and Inception, is back with Interstellar, an almost three-hour dystopian epic set mostly in outer space. This sci-fi superproduction cost $1 million a minute to make, adding up to a total of $165 million. The movie comes with a stellar (pun intended) cast of five Academy Award winners and another three nominees. The film even hired Kip Thorne, a renowned theoretical physicist as a science adviser who intervened whenever screenwriter Jonathan Nolan (the director’s brother) let his imagination run too wild. Nolan’s most controversial idea was apparently to show that people could travel faster than the speed of light and Thorne reportedly needed almost two weeks to talk Nolan out of the idea.

In a nutshell, Interstellar is about saving Earth, or more precisely, human civilization. This time, people aren’t threatened by a huge celestial object like in Michael Bay’s Armageddon or by hostile aliens like in Steven Spielberg’s take on the sci-fi classic War of the Worlds. They are not even under attack from bloodthirsty xenomorphs as in Ridley Scott’s Alien and its sequels. The enemy this time is a mysterious crop disease that leaves mankind starving once corn becomes the last surviving cultivated plant. The only thing humans can do to stay alive is try to find a new home, a habitable planet for the last survivors from Earth. To this end, NASA is considering several options such as sending huge space stations out to potentially viable planets, or launching spacecraft with frozen embryos on board to ensure the survival of human genetic material. Each option is a big unknown, and the only certainty is that any trip in search of a human-friendly planet will take a very, very long time. So long that the only solution is to go through a wormhole—a shortcut through the space-time continuum. This may sound familiar if you’ve seen Contact (1997), directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jodie Foster. Incidentally, Foster’s co-star in Contact was Matthew McConaughey, who plays the main character in Interstellar. In the new movie, McConaughey is a brave, retired pilot turned corn farmer and a widowed father of two. He is not exactly keen to embark on a space voyage that could mean he will never see his children again. But in the end, he can’t say no to saving the entire human race.

Despite criticism from viewers tired of Hollywood clichés about parent-child relations—and there are many such clichés in Interstellar—Nolan’s latest flick has made its way straight to number 12 in the Internet Movie Database’s (IMDb) list of the top 250 movies of all time. More than 225,000 IMDb users have given it an average rating of 9 out of 10, but it’s hard to resist the impression that much of this success is due to the sheer scale of the technology employed, especially IMAX technology—which Nolan has embraced for the first time in his career.

Witold ¯ygulski
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