Before you throw your marbles and shout at me, hear me out. Interstellar is a fantastic ride of a movie, with Christopher Nolan at one of his showiest moment, that should please a wide range of audiences. Yes it’s slightly overbloated with 160 minutes running time, and yes there are too many space-travel and quantum physics mambo-jambo. But what it gets right is the human factor. Nolan, in past, has been known to focus too much on the craft and a little less on emotional aspect of the script. Here he ties the concepts that have bewildered humanity since it’s birth: Longevity (Ladies & Gents: 124 YEARS old DILF!), Life beyond our planet, and the ultimate question; what’s the purpose of this all. Does the film answer all of those questions? No, it doesn’t. And here is the thing. It doesn’t need to do that. Interstellar shouldn’t be confused for a thought-provoking attempt to answer these bigger-than-life-itself questions. Never, I believe, at any point Nolan & co. claimed to have gotten all the physics and the science right, to get the nerds and geeks onboard a la Gravity. No. It is, at it’s heart, a big sci-fi space blockbuster, that will make waves on ticket sales across the world. If I’ve not made it clear let me put it straight: I enjoyed, almost, every minute of those $20. Now, about that scandalous title: Interstellar Is The New Inception. Fans of Nolan’s Batman, trust. It is. Take a walk with me and let me show you how.
Let’s begin with getting ONE thing out of the way. This is not a remake of Inception. It is not Nolan brothers being lazy and giving the audience what they know has worked for them in the past. Anyone is the business of design and creation, worth their salt, will tell you that if you get lucky and stumble upon a novel idea, use it and use it again and make a template out of it. Yes, a template or a pattern. The best of the best programmers and fashion designers work their entire life in search of that signature Pattern that would go on to become their legacy. Inception is that pattern for the Nolans. The beauty, and the difference, of Interstellar is that it builds on a successful idea, take a completely different setting, apply it without being too obvious or cute about it. And bam! You’ve an exciting, nail biting, so-many-explanations-oh-my-head-hurts of a movie that will make you talk and think about it hours after the credits have rolled.
In quick bullet points what similarities, at least in my mind, exist between Interstellar and Inception:
- Travel concepts: Dream and Blackhole travel. Both movies work with the fantastic ideas of leaving yourself behind from the rest of the world. Inception’s dream travel had only one’s mind exploring new arenas, however your mortal self could die in your or someone else’s dreams. Interstellar takes that idea to the next level by taking away, most of, fantasy part and adding real mortal danger, yet again secluding the main protagonists.
- The factor of three: Incase the above comparison was a tough sell for you, let me demonstrate another aspect. Both movies present three levels of difficulties (very much like a video game) and the deeper and further you go the stakes are higher. In Inception the main dream sequences get a completely new world imagined by the person whose dream we all would inhabit. In Interstellar there are, surprise surprise, three planets where humanity can find it’s new home. All six worlds of Inception and Interstellar are fantastically imagined and executed. You go into the first dream, you find a huge dude-only-if-we-could-ride-this wall of a wave that literally feels like a scene left on the chopping floor of Inception. The cold planet was exquisite with it’s frozen clouds, but it’s hard to not link it to the ski-resort dream sequence of Inception. Need I go on?
- Characters & Casting: McConaughey is DiCaprio, Page is Hathaway, Chastain is Cotillard. On to the supporting players: Caine is a combination of characters, such as Alfred from Batman, DiCaprio’s father-in-law (both characters played by, unsurprisingly, Caine), from Nolan’s universe. Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s sarcastic one-liner dispensing sidekick machine is, literally, replaced by not one but two machines. The two robots are a great addition who get to utter one of the most funniest lines on screen.
There is so much more to compare and write but I wanted to keep this post short. Short is something I’m not good at doing. So I’ll try to wrap it up by saying this, there are more thematic similarities between the two stories such as letting go of past and lost love, separation from children and escaping responsibility, to name a few. Chime in the comments section and share your thoughts.
And Dark Knight fans, settle down. We all are very glad to see Nolan got that trilogy out of his system and can go back on making exciting cinematic mind bogglers like Memento. I feel like I’m going to be torched for saying this, but in a few decades film students and historians will look at Nolan‘s work in the same way Spielberg‘s work is studied from his early days. Nolan, undeniably, is one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation.