I love going to the movies with a big group of friends, and one movie experience that has become commonplace with students is the midnight premiere.
My first one was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Next was the first film unveiled by the most popular indie film studio, Marvel Studios, when they gave us Iron Man back in 2008. And last year was the second installment in The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire.
Last Tuesday night, a large group of friends and I made the long trek to Lockheed Martin in Washington D.C. to witness the midnight premiere of Christopher Nolan’s latest work, Interstellar in 70mm glory,
I was hyped for this movie the past year, as were many of us, to watch Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway launch out into space in search for a new hope as planet Earth is consumed by a new Dust Bowl era. And it did not disappoint!
Below I will not so much review, but more so react to my favorite things about the movie experience, things I didn’t like, and, finally, my overall feelings.
WHAT I LIKED
- IMAX. This was my first time experiencing a movie in this format (and at the Air & Space Museum, at that). The screen was amazing. I thought my Batman (1989) experience at MICA last spring was impressive; this was unforgettable, from the screen to the sound system.
- The visuals. I enjoy CGI just as much as the next person, but I like necessary, well-done CGI even more. The wormhole, dimension-hopping scenes were unreal, frightening, and inviting all at once, and the oily texture of the wormholes, not just the white hot light, was just as aesthetically pleasing to the imagination as I tried to wrap my mind around the physics of it all.
- The music. Hans Zimmer’s score, specifically his main theme for the movie, is so imaginative. The slow buildup of simple key strokes evokes feelings of childlike curiosity, that age-old sensation that never really leaves us about exploring the world around us. Without getting too sappy, I honestly fought a few tears because this music perfectly captures feelings of innocence, terror, curiosity, and aspiration all at once, and it is a perfect score to a space exploration movie.
- The story. I strongly connected with the premise that Earth is running out of time due to the growing violence of the intense dust storms sweeping the globe and killing our food. There is a gradual sense of loss as crop after crop dies, from wheat, to okra, and at last, corn. This made the need for answers that much more urgent. It is a slow build but done well that fully immersed me in this dire situation; there’s a quiet desperation that made me feel that at any moment, someone was afraid to just lose it out of fear and disparity. Surely the stars have answers, right?
- The performances. Matthew McConaughey , Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Caine are all very good here. Each one digs deep emotionally for this tale, each one driven by a need to solve a problem, obviously the question of a viable food source, and interstellar travel. But also, what this will all means for the ones they love, now that such extraordinary circumstances have spread them far and wide in the universe. Anger, love, hatred, fear, desperation are all explored here by a solid cast.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
- The dense dialogue. It most likely helps the story, one so deeply rooted in science fiction, but I felt I was being lectured at a lot of the time. Some conversations regarding interstellar travel and other related scientific things didn’t feel as natural to me. Some of it felt a little preachy to me too when ideas regarding the human condition came into play. Sometimes I just wanted certain characters to shut up and do something.
Again, these are just my feelings surrounding the movie. As an EMF major I could get into general to more specific praise and gripes about the movie from what I’ve studied thus far in the theory, but I’m more interested in general response to the movie versus serious critique.
I enjoyed the movie a lot technically and cinematically and recommend it to anyone really; just be ready for a long movie (169 minutes) rife with all of the things I’ve listed above. I’m glad I finally saw it and I would watch it again. Someone asked me which I liked better, Interstellar or Gravity. I think they’re two different movies that happen to take place in space and so I get different things out of both – but I do really like them both. And like Gravity, this movie will be up for plenty of technical nominations when the Oscars hit next spring.
With that, I leave you with an excerpt from a Dylan Thomas poem quoted by Michael Caine’s character, summing up the movie perfectly.
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Written by Josiah D. Bradley