These days when you watch a trailer you more or less see a mini version of the whole film. Indeed the trailer for this film makes the film look rather plain and I was in two minds whether to go and see it. (After all, you may have noticed that since fatherhood at the start of the year reviews have been few and scarce and there’s a good reason for that – ask any new parent, they’ll tell you. Needless to say, today I got to go to the cinema and so I had my pick of the films!) The running time, 2hrs and 50m, was nearly enough to put me off completely. But I was going to see it on IMAX – Sci-Fi looks great on that doesn’t it? Though my apprehension wasn’t helped by memories of my midnight trip to see Prometheus at the Southbank IMAX which, whilst enjoyable in the wee hours, was tainted by the protests of Scott fans who thought he had ruined the franchise big time like The Phantom Menace. But this is Christopher Nolan! OK – let’s give it a whirl. I’m glad I did.
So Earth appears to be dying. Crops are suffering severely with blight, dust storms are rampant and scientist reckon life for humankind is doomed after the current young generation. Ex-NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is called to fly a special space mission to seek a new habitat for humankind to emigrate to. The journey is epic and will require a small section in stasis and a jaunt through a wormhole just to the right of Saturn. But Cooper leaves behind his son Tom and his daughter Murph (kept sounding like Smurf – “that’s Murph!”) and the latter is proper pissed off about him leaving. Indeed, there are no spoilers here because I’ve more or less recounted the trailer. But thankfully, that is only the first hour of the film. The rest is superb, but you’ll probably be asking why?
The great thing about this film is that despite being set slightly in the future, everything seems plausible and well thought out. There is no dreadful ambiguity as there is in other films such as Contact (also starring McConaughey) or Kubrick’s 2001:A Space Odyssey. We follow the main character through absolutely every minute of his experience and get to share, feel and live it with him. The worlds have this plausibility too yet also contain a few surprises – like frozen clouds or mountains on the horizon that aren’t what they seem (proper “That’s no moon, it’s a Space Station” moment)
There are some interesting, yet successful casting choices in this film too including John Lithgow (who stayed on the 3rd Rock from the Sun) and, as you’d expect in a Nolan film, Batman veterans David Gyasi, Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway. The ubiquitous droids, in this case TARS, CASE and KIPP, were bizarre to say the least. They had amazingly natural voices and were highly intelligent including settings for wit and honesty! Yet I’ve never seen a clunkier droid since V.I.N.C.E.N.T. in cult flop The Black Hole. But this only added to the overall feasibility and therefore sense of realism. And it’s this realism which is key to bridging our imagination in any SciFi film, and many films fail at it. Great care appears to have been taken to address this factor and it is very much to the film’s credit!
I’m gonna stick my neck out here and categorise the review on this site under the BAFTA and Oscar category for 2015 – I’ll be very surprised if some aspect doesn’t get a nomination for one of them!