Interstellar

Interstellar

Prepare your minds to be blown.

True to every movie he directs, Christopher Nolan made a film that is not only extraordinarily picturesque, but also striking, thrilling and mind-boggling. With Interstellar, he impressively created a futuristic world where Earth is not sustainable anymore for humans to survive for a very long time. Tackling issues that we are already facing today, the film opened the possibilities of how things would be in the future. Nolan created that world via Interstellar, and he made the audience part of that world. Relatability and relevance are two words that define the film even if it’s a futuristic one.

Fresh from winning the Oscars for Best Actor for his great performance in Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey once again tugs the audience’s heart with his role in Interstellar. A former test pilot and engineer for NASA who became a farmer in their hometown due to the eventual deterioration and degradation of the Earth, Cooper (McConaughey) accepts the challenge to man a space ship called Endurance to confirm viability of the three potentially habitable planets that were surveyed out by a previous space mission called Lazarus Mission. Leaving behind Donald, his father-in-law, Tom, his son and Murph, his 10-year-old stubborn yet brilliant daughter, he heads on to space with the scientist daughter of a leading NASA figure Amelia (Anne Hathaway), physicist Romilly (David Gyasi), geographer Doyle (Wes Bentley) and the super robot named TARS. His team’s struggles with the unknown universe out there and his thoughts about his family back on Earth represents the brain and the heart of the film respectively. Will they ever find a potential Earth replacement for humans to live in? Will they still be able to go back to Earth and see their family once again?

The rest of the cast played great support to McConaughey and the notable ones include Mackenzie Foy, who played his teenage daughter, Jessica Chastain, who played the grown-up daughter, Ellen Burstyn, as the 100-year-old version of the daughter, and Matt Damon as Dr. Mann, one of the astronauts who ventured into space via Lazarus Mission. The willful and bright daughter of Cooper was remarkably played by Foy, Chastain and Burstyn. You could see curiosity in their eyes and the assertion of love and brilliance through their actions. Even though they were not seen together most of the time (Chastain and McConaughey actually didn’t have a scene where they were physically together), they provided much better chemistry than McConaughey’s team-up with Hathaway. Meanwhile, Damon provided such a good surprise with his small role in the film. This actor’s really impressive whatever role he’s in.

Hans Zimmer booms with his masterwork sound in the film. When his score kicks in, the suspense, the drama and the jubilation rise up to complement Nolan’s remarkable scenes that were edited by no less than Lee Smith (also the editor of Inception, The Dark Knight and X-Men: First Class).

As expected, the cinematography (Hoyte van Hoyterna) of the film is outstanding. Most of the visuals used in the film would leave you breathless. From the blight Earth up to the Icelandic scopes of one of the potential Earth replacements, the film has chosen and used such great shooting locations. While I find Gravity’s space visuals more impressive (probably because it was filmed in 3D IMAX compared to Interstellar’s combination of anamorphic 35 mm an IMAX 70 mm film photography), Interstellar’s visuals are astonishingly beautiful, too.

The movie’s going to challenge you about the Earth’s natural state right now. It lets you glimpse into a world where humankind has regressed into an agrarian society because of problems with sustainability. And this idea isn’t farfetched. With billions of people currently living on the planet and having very limited resources, adding to that the dangerous effects of global warming, Earth is into a quicksand of destruction lest humans do something about it.

Moreover, the film did not hesitate to mince highfalutin words with complex scientific concepts. Interstellar showed and dealt with worm holes and black holes and their potentials, space travel and interstellar communication, potential earths from other parts of the galaxy, and extra-dimensional presence. Even though it is a science-fiction film, it presented what seemed to be potentially accurate possibilities about all these venturing into space activities. It may have stretched out those possibilities especially with the potentials of bending time and space, but who knows if they will be a reality in the near future?

Interstellar’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 5 out of 5

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The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy is the # 1 movie in the Philippines and the United States today. This isn’t a wonder since it proved to be a good continuation of the Bourne story that many people loved.

The movie had the feel of uncertainty and confusion at the start. The scenes here flash one after another, showing various locations with different characters. However, once you get to connect what you’ve known from the first Bourne movies to what it being shown, you’re going to give it your full attention. That is, if you don’t want to get lost in the story. The movie’s going to work up your mind at the first hour when the characters did a lot of discussing about what is happening. It eventually goes from mind working to eye catching after that, as scene after scene of octane action would be blaring up on the screen.

The movie was one large mesh of interconnecting storylines because there were a lot of flashbacks in between the scenes that show the present storyline. This may get one confused at times, but it ultimately made the themes of the original Bourne movies more.

Super soldiers. Intelligence units. Black operations. Media expose. Collateral damage. These were just some of the themes presented by the movie. Harnessing super soldiers to enhance chances of winning in battles was the main get go. The CIA surely does it to prevent anti-terrorist acts. However, because of the impending threat of exposure because of the program’s questionable means and ways, the kind of patriotism the agency was showing suddenly becomes the face of terror. Doing collateral damage by killing everyone involved to shut down their exposed programs is plain and simply evil. The clout of justice is not proven here, as one does not rightfully decide the fate of others just to save their own faces.

Jeremy Renner turned out to be a great replacement for the super soldier hero role that Matt Damon left behind. He certainly made his character, Aaron Cross, as someone you would root for to win and achieve. Rachel Weisz was fine as the doctor-in-distress who tried to help Aaron Cross. And even though the two didn’t have scenes that would suggest romance in its strict sense, they sure had a good chemistry. The character of Edward Norton was a letdown for me as he was mainly seen inside the CIA commanding and giving orders. He has certainly beefed up his role with the kind of acting that he made, but I surely want to see him do other things aside from the ones given him here.

If you’ve already watched the movie, I guess you would agree with me that the scenes filmed in Manila were simply unbelievable. The directing and the editing sure had a hand for the success of those action scenes, but one has got to wonder how they were able to pull off very difficult stunts with use of vehicles here and there. I also liked the night scenes of Manila because the city’s more beautiful at night than at day.

The Bourne Legacy was far from perfect. Even though it succeeded with the stellar cast, great action and a good continuation of the Bourne story, it somehow lacked cohesiveness. Not to mention the abrupt ending, which definitely disappointed a lot in the audience. Nevertheless, the movie just had the right combination of action and suspense to be a credible Bourne film. It may not be better than the original Bourne trilogy but what it has shown is enough to jumpstart the franchise.

***

THE BOURNE LEGACY movie score by the pondering movie fan: 3.5 out of 5