The weekend of November 7-9, 2014, was arguably one of the best weekends for movies in quite a long while. Both major films released that weekend were anticipated science-fiction/action-adventures--one, a live-action ambitious epic from director Christopher Nolan; the other, a CGI ride from Disney Animation.
A friend of mine insisted on not reading or watching anything about the former (well, mostly anything) before seeing it. And Nolan has been notorious for keeping his film projects under wraps--at least until they're finished and/or are close to their release dates. At the same time, it allows audiences to anticipate the kind of story and adventure they’ll discover on the big screen.
"To Boldly Go . . ."
It certainly is a different kind of film than anything the director has done. Memento was a detective story in reverse, while the Dark Knight trilogy gave a DC Comics character new life, grounded in reality; and Inception took place in the labyrinth minds of its deceptive characters. But while all of these films often contain cerebral, cold, and bleak elements, Interstellar tackles science-fiction and physics, as well as space-travel for the sake of a dying earth. This concept of discovering new worlds via a wormhole in the cosmos and searching for a hope for mankind is secular and humanistic as far as the film’s worldview is concerned. On the other hand, it does leave audiences with much to discuss and debate in terms of not only scientific perspectives, but spiritual as well. In fact, the slogan on the film's teaser poster states, "Mankind was born on earth. It was never meant to die here."
In addition, it’s suggested that it’s not technology that's the enemy (like HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey), but time itself. In other words, what may seem like an hour on one planet is twenty years on another.
|At it's heart, Interstellar is a father-daughter story.|
Perhaps McConaghey's Cooper not only echoes the everyman we can identify with, but also Nolan's role as a filmmaker, discovering new things, new places, and new possibilities for audiences to explore, to experience, to discuss, and to debate.
Indeed, Nolan breaks new ground with an out-of-this-world story. And the technology and tools he uses (from IMAX cameras to real locations and practical effects, and a mesmerizing score by Hans Zimmer) give us a whole new experience.
Set in the fictional San Fransokyo (a creative mending of San Franciscan and Japanese architecture), Hiro Hamada is a high-school kid and robotics prodigy who sees nothing better in life than battle-bot competitions and hustling. His older brother Tadashi challenges and encourages him to put his scientific and creative skills to good use by applying to the local tech college. The characters we meet there include the cautious though slightly neurotic Wasabi, tough-as-nails Gogo, chemistry enthusiast Honey Lemon, the mascot-dressed Fred, and the endearing plush robot Baymax.
|Clockwise from top: Tadashi, Wasabi, |
Honey Lemon, Hiro, GoGo, and Fred