“In space, no one can hear you scream.”
This memorably chilling tagline accompanied 1979’s Alien, whose two-minute trailer is hailed as one of the best ever made.
Unlike blockbusters today, the movie didn’t rely on massive explosions or breathtaking spectacles to get its point across. It was the mystery of the alien monster that drew people in – what would it look like, and what was it capable of? All Ridley Scott needed to use was a disorienting montage of frightened astronauts locked in a battle against an unknown terror.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which premiered in Abilene Nov. 6, capitalizes on Scott’s brand of genius. The story is similar to Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey.
After discovering an anomaly from across the reaches of space, explorers must defy the limits of human science in order to confront the universe’s greatest mysteries. To capture the imagination of his audience, Nolan offers us some of the most difficult mysteries that modern science fiction can offer.
Physicist Kip Thorne was recruited to help the film team create breathtaking depictions of space-time anomalies such as a wormhole and a spinning black hole. The result is a nearly unprecedented cinematic dive into scientific subjects that even the brightest minds have trouble grasping making astrophysics accessible to anyone with an imagination.
As with Nolan’s work in Inception, the visual tour-de-force is one of the biggest attractions for an audience that’s increasingly hard to impress, but there is no shortage of emotional impact.
With a soundtrack to match the sights, the space saga becomes increasingly epic as it winds onward accompanied by an abundance of talented actors. Matthew McConaughey stars as the prodigal pilot, Cooper, driven by survival instincts and the need to see his children again. Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain deliver formidable performances as his daughter, Murph, who grows up waiting for a father who might never return home. Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and Matt Damon are just a few other big names rounding out the excellent cast.
Even at a run-time of nearly three hours, Interstellar keeps the action moving at an excellent pace. After a slow but necessary introduction, the film doesn’t stop raising the stakes throughout the mission.
The characters are faced with nearly impossible choices and forces that threaten unbelievable carnage, keeping the audience just as involved as the explorers.
Where a film like Gravity packed a few emotional punches and a lot of computer-generated imagery, Interstellar rolls out a buffet of potent feelings and powerful imagery. Michael Caine’s character repeats a stirring admonition from poet Dylan Thomas:
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Until the last light leaves the screen, we’re left raging, raging for our heroes to prevail.