My Rating: 4 stars
Wow. Everyone hated this movie so much that I was actually quite pleased with my experience watching it. I know, I always complain about being misled by movie critics or public opinion. But, it’s impossible to avoid all chatter completely. And, after watching this movie, I’m not really sure why people had such a strong negative reaction to it. Maybe it’s because it was really long (almost three hours). Or, maybe it’s because they already got their fill of space-dramas with that Sandra Bullock George Clooney vehicle—Gravity. But I really enjoyed this movie—even with Anne Hathaway stinking it up. The cinematography is beautiful. And, the ideas it tackles are really big and thought provoking.
The story is about a small team of astronauts searching the universe for a new planet for humans to colonize. Earth is becoming too harsh to sustain human life. The climate has changed, and food crops just won’t grow. So, the human race is faced with the prospect of slowly starving to death unless they can find a new world. Of course, the astronauts face the normal problems of only being able to carry a limited amount of fuel and supplies. But, this mission also has another constraint, and that is time. With time passing differently for the space travelers than the people left on Earth, the team faces the very real possibility that humanity might already be totally extinct by the time they return.
This was actually my favorite pare—the storyline that deals with time issues. Of course the movie has many fantastical elements—some of which are pretty cheesy—even though the film presents itself as relatively hard science fiction. But, I loved thinking about the implications of time passing differently for the space travelers than for people left on Earth. Or, even more interestingly, how time passed differently for people on the main space ship, and the astronauts shuttling down to the surface of a planet orbiting a very dense, collapsed star. The idea gives me chills. And, then there’s all the betrayal and lies! This really is a space epic.
I do recommend this movie, but make sure you approach it when you actually have three hours to dedicate to it. I don’t really recommend stopping and starting it a bunch. And, you really shouldn’t sit down with this story if your mind is preoccupied with concerns, or if you’re anxious about what you need to do after the movie. Because, this is a very thoughtful film. You’ll want enough space to consider the ideas it’s offering you. And, you need to be paying close attention because a lot of the dramatic turning points in the plot are reveled very quietly. So, don’t treat this movie like a frivolous, summer flick. But, get around to it eventually. It’s worth it.