Sunday, December 07, 2014

Intersteller Review

Vidit Bhargava

You already know the movie is brilliant. It’s no surprise. It is a Christopher Nolan movie, one doesn’t simply expect anything less than brilliant from him. Here’s what’s great and not great (yep! not perfect) about Intersteller.

Intersteller is largely a movie to be experienced. It’s a movie that presents your space imaginations in an extremely beautiful way. It’s a visual treat to watch Intersteller.

There’s just a lot to admire about here, the way the ranger hooks into a wildly spinning Endurance is brilliantly shot. It’s beautiful, edge of the seat entertaining. Or take for instance the gigantic water waves at Miller’s Planet. They are scientifically accurate, breathtakingly beautiful and have the quality to strike panic. Then there’s the much talked about Gargantua, again scientifically accurate to the very last detail of it’s functioning. These and a lot more such instances make the movie a treat to watch, even if it’s too much to take in all the facts of relativity at once. 

The characters are well sketched out and well acted. Cooper as the ex-pilot father determined to keep the promise he made to his daughter is well played by Matthew McCaughey. Then there’s TARS, the robot. TARS is the most interesting robot I’ve come across after Marvin from Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy. There are moments when TARS feels almost human, he moves in and out of conversations with effortless ease, his occasional humour is well timed and overall he’s just as much a part of the crew as Brand or Romilly. Watch him rescue Brand from a giant tidal wave. The pace with which he moves is mechanical but the emotion behind it, purely human! TARS just owned that scene. 

If there’s one thing that’s wrong with the movie in terms of acting, its probably Michael Caine’s acting, which feels slightly off colour. At one point in the movie, it’s almost as if he’s wanting to finish off his work. We’ve certainly seen better from the Academy award winner. 

Nolan’s already a master of playing with time. He’s shown that skill several times now. Memento & Inception pretty much relied on the director’s skill to work with varying time intervals. He takes a step forward with Intersteller. Here he’s dealing with Gravitational and Relativistic Time Dilation. The movie’s pretty much a showcase of how Nolan’s controlling the 4th dimension. He also gives us a glimpse of the concept of Spherical Time in the movie. (It’s mighty confusing but loads of fun too!).

The plot’s fairly straight forward here. Earth’s a diminishing planet, large amounts of cultivable crops are die-ing away every season. At some point of time, Cooper (ex-NASA pilot) stumbles upon an undercover space-travel mission from NASA. The mission is about finding a planet suitable for human settlement and then transporting the people away from Earth to a newer home. The planets they’ve zeroed in on are in a different galaxy, one that’s to be reached by travelling through a worm-hole.

To be frank, this is a fairly straight forward story told in a way assuming that you know how Space travel works. There’s time dilation, moving through a spherical worm-hole, concepts about what tidal waves and time would behave like in a planet where Gravity behaves differently. And then there’s the challenge which is entirely based on the complexities of time dilation. All this may is pretty straight forward if you are aware of these theories, even the movie’s mind-bending climax is pretty much based on scientific calculations, again figure able if you’ve read about it. Intersteller’s about facts. It’s not confusing and it tries its best explaining these concepts, just watch Romilly explain Cooper why the wormhole is spherical and not circular. But the fact-heaviness of the movie may be a slight negative for some here. 

It’d be unfair to not mention about the care taken to make the Science Fiction as scientifically accurate as possible. The directors hired Kip Thorne for the work. There research and fact checking works wonders here. We’ve all visualised Black Holes differently, but thanks to some great scientific research, we see a beautiful and entirely different view on Black Holes. Not to forget some great use of Slingshot effect here. The added scientific accuracy, is not a necessity but definitely nice to have in the movie. 

In the end, Intersteller’s breathtaking visuals (almost an advertisement for space travel), a mind bending climax, a rousing soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, some awe-inspiring moments like the one about Hyperspace and a gripping screenplay make for an engaging watch. It’s different, It’s beautiful and the treat’s ten times more engaging for anyone interested in Science. If only it were more accessible.

Rating: 9/10 (You can't miss this one!)

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