‘Interstellar’ Film Review: What ‘2001’ wanted to be and a superior sequal/answer to ‘Koyaanisqatsi’

I was already a fan of Kip Thorne’s work in the book Black Holes and Time Warps so I had a very strong feeling that I would love the new film Christopher Nolan called Interstellar. It was a safe bet to be a great movie originally developed by Steven Spielberg and Nolan’s brother Jonathan beginning nearly a decade ago. So there was considerable thought put into the project which undoubtedly would show up on screen.   I read the reviews that had managed to come out prior to viewing a premier of the film myself, most praising Interstellar in some way or another just for sheer scope, but not giving high marks in other aspects like dialogue or in some cases sound quality as the music sometimes overwhelmed what the characters were saying. Now that I’ve seen it I am convinced that even some of those technical issues were on purpose—deliberately placed into the story to convey the vastness of space and mankind’s role within it. Interstellar is a painting of many impressions splashed upon the screen intending to advance nothing less than the human race to another level of conscious development. It is everything that the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey should have been—or wanted to be—and even then, much, much, more. It is a triumph and likely the reason that cinema was invented to entertain human minds to begin with. It is as if the entire history of cinema was created to place this one film onto the silver screen.

To get an idea of what the screenwriter was thinking during the development process of Interstellar—before diving too deeply into the contents of the story—read what he said to /Film.com which is a kind of industry insider blog site. Jonathan Nolan spoke openly about his motivations while writing Interstellar. He has brought his writing talents to the Dark Knight series which I have praised heavily because of the content and angle he chooses to provide in those films. In Interstellar his motivations were clear, persuasive, and as bold as anything that has ever been done before in a movie.

/Film question: So that was always the pitch that like it was set in the future where resources are, were our future’s looking bleak?

Nolan: Absolutely. I mean, look the reality is we stopped going to space because we’re too fucking wrapped up in whatever narcissistic bullshit, you know, as a sort of a collective. I mean, look, there’s an awful lot of things that still need to be fixed here on Earth, right? You know, problems that never seem to go away. Poverty, disease and a lot of stuff that we turned our attention to that is a good thing. We’re also just kind of sucked in the bullshit. I was talking downstairs, I grew up in Apollo space travel, we were promised jetpacks and fucking teleportation and instead we got fucking Facebook and Instagram. That’s a bummer.

But we don’t think of it in those terms. We think of ourselves as being the most magnificent, amazing universe ever and if we wanna go back to the Moon, sure, we could. It’s like no, those guys are all dead or retired. We’re not going back to the Moon. And if we wanted to, we’d have to spend billions of dollars and it would take years and years and years. We’re just done. We’re not doing that. We’re out of that business. And so people don’t think in those terms. We had to set the movie in the future in which that was abundantly clear.


Readers of this site will instantly recognize the angle Jonathan Nolan took in setting up the movie Interstellar. At the start he challenges the notion of public education when the government schools are caught lying to students about the Apollo missions—stating that they were only intended as propaganda against Russia. Public education in Interstellar is on Common Core overload as test assessments determine what kind of careers students can pursue as adults in the collective society.

Meanwhile, innovation is down, people are barely able to make food for themselves as a blight fungus similar to the current Ug99 strains that are currently moving across Africa into the Middle East-specifically target wheat and okra. Because the developed world has micromanaged the world’s resources—specifically the minds of their youth—there isn’t anybody anywhere who can stop the fungus as it thrusts the world into hunger slowly killing earth.


It was amazing how many reviewers on their first viewing of the film missed so many of the most important messages—many confused the fungus in the film to environmental recklessness supporting their global warming conspiracies when it is exactly that kind of stupidity which has lunched the world into regression. Interstellar is such an amazing film that people wanted to come away with something they liked in it, even if the premise of the film attacks many of the core beliefs that most of our current civilization holds. So there is some revisionist memory going on in almost every review I read. But it’s not fair to Interstellar because as a movie it is going to places that nobody ever has attempted before. It tackles 5th dimensional space; inter galactic travel, the nature of love, the transitory aspects of time, the foundations of religion, the deep human yearning for adventure, the magnificence of invention and the corrupt nature of politics most epically displayed in forcing NASA underground because public support could not fathom spending money on spaceships when the world needed food. The movie even tackles the premise and existence of poltergeists. There are so many big ideas harnessed in the movie that it really belongs in its own category. It seeks openly to advance the human mind—which is certainly no small feat and it succeeds on every level.

The best parts of the movie were the space sequences which reminded me so much of 2001: A Space Odyssey filmed in complete silence—just as they would have been. The catastrophes in space were just mind bogglingly beautiful. As I have also reported at this site I am a tremendous Koyaanisqatsi fan—even to the extent that I designed a line of t-shirts years ago as a tribute to the 1983 experimental film. imageBut the problem with it was that it pointed to progress as a vile and evil thing ultimately and concluded with a rocket exploding on its way to space falling back to earth in complete silence to the score of a magnificent work by Philip Glass. Well—there was a lot of Koyaanisqatsi in this movie and the music by Hans Zimmer without being disrespectful to Philip Glass tackles the original Koyaanisqatsi score with a new level of boldness. The pipe organs from Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack gave narration to the silence of space in such a grand fashion that it will become the new standard for all filmmakers over the next century. If The Wizard of Oz brought color to film, Interstellar has brought music to space—and that is not an insult to the contributions of John Williams to Star Wars—but Interstellar is in a new category of its own that will become the new standard—it is that good. The flight sequences were so wonderfully done—they were like a concert set in space to silently floating images struggling to break the boundaries of not just earth—but previous human limitation. There were times when the thrusters to the ships kicked on and the music literally was blowing me into the back of the seat—it was jaw-dropping incredible.

I think most people seeing Interstellar will like something from it—but the movie was intended to be enjoyed by smart people—or at a minimum, those who strive to be. It is a thinker’s movie to say the least and deliberately reaches out into the audience to declare, “We feel your pain.” It is literally bigger than anything on earth, there is no mountain too tall, no ocean so great—by the time Interstellar is watched once, everything on earth seems small and silly—including the civilization we have so far built. This is easily the grandest production of ideas ever gathered for the silver screen and even challenges some of the greatest literary work put to print. Interstellar is a magnificent masterpiece assembled to please the mind—to see life beyond death, and to touch the true face of God.

When the main character Cooper finds himself in the fifth dimension it’s not aliens, or a “they” out there in space trying to help the silly ants of humanity with carefully placed worm holes next to Saturn or the rapture inside a singularity—it is us who have mastered multi-dimensional travel, who have left the door open to our former incantations so to achieve the task in a linier time—to tell the story of humanity as a struggling race beating an invisible clock against stupidity only to weave the universe into a canvas of our own creation. It is the mind of man who spills over outside of their bodies into the infinite and become the utterances of immortality. What is most unusual of all within Interstellar was the carefully constructed request from Christopher Nolan to Hans Zimmer to create music which would live up to such a lofty intention—and uniquely, the legendary composer did it in a fashion that is literally blowing minds too restricted to behold all the images with the must see movie not just of this year, decade, or era—but in the history of film both past and future. Interstellar is out of this world in every category that counts—especially in the swagger category of bolding going to places only contemplated by physics equations and warped imaginations. Now such places are available to anybody who can pay the price of a movie ticket and desire to peak beyond the shroud of impossibility manifested into the bold reality of a destiny that is there within reach, now.

Interstellar is simply a new standard of excellence and will be copied hundreds of different ways from now on. History has just been made with this masterpiece of modern cinema—it is everything that many films have tried to be. The difference is that Interstellar pulled it off.

Rich Hoffman


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