Nolan’s latest space epic is out of this world

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Nolan’s latest space epic is out of this world

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Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated space epic “Interstellar” opens in local theaters on Thursday. Provided by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” is six days away from opening in Korea but is already causing a stir. The much-anticipated space epic has taken more than 40 percent of the domestic box office in presales this week, according to the Korea Film Council yesterday.

“Interstellar” differs from galactic sci-fi flicks of the past, not only because of its stunning visuals and the scientific and philosophical threads that run through the plot, but also because at its core is the heart-wrenching story of a family.

Nolan is eminent for crafting wondrous imagery in his movies, which are infused with in-depth and intellectual stories - as proven in his brain-hopping thriller “Inception” (2010).

However, what grips the audience in his latest $165 million opus is its old-fashioned, emotive narrative. Unlike the masculine and CGI-heavy characteristics of most space films, “Interstellar” has an underlying story about filial love, which acts as the ultimate driving force of its nearly three-hour running time.

The movie starts somewhere in the near future, in the U.S. Midwest. Ways of making ends meet have descended into farming corn and okra due to a continuous blights of insects and dust. People are starving and they need a new shelter - another planet in another galaxy.

Cooper, played by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, sets off into space to save earth. But in order to do that, he has to say goodbye to his two children. The farewell scene between him and his youngest daughter Murphy, who has a special bond with her dad, is impossible to watch without shedding tears.

Later, when Cooper ventures into the universe with his peers, including the scientist Amelia (Anne Hathaway), it is the power of the love towards family that motivates him and others on board the space shuttle Endurance to deal with the dilemmas that arise.

Nolan admitted that although the film’s larger theme is outer space, the concept of family is what initially grabbed his attention in the script. He said during a press conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday that, as a father, he wanted to make this film.

As expected from Nolan, the visual effects are impeccable. The most notable scene in terms of aesthetics is when Endurance passes Saturn’s rings and the sedate beauty of the gigantic planet - with use of muted sound effects - makes viewers feel like they have truly been transported into space.

The movie’s depiction of galactic phenomena such as black holes is being widely lauded as the most accurate for a movie in sci-fi history, thanks to advice given by U.S. physicist Kip Thorne.

“Interstellar” brings up multiple grandiose questions about mankind’s position in the universe, unsolved mysteries regarding the existence of organisms in outer space and whether Earth is bound for future doom.

But the answers to these ambitious questions are not that important, as Nolan always emphasizes that entertainment is the fundamental purpose of his films.

Anyone who wants to witness an incredibly realistic illustration of space travel and is ready to experience some emotional family moments is welcome aboard.

The film opens in local theaters on Thursday.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jes@joongang.co.kr]
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