16 November 2014


One of the most hush-hush sci-fi movies kept under wraps for so long, this recently released movie built up too much hype and I don't always think that is a good move. Directed by Christopher Nolan of "The Dark Knight" series of movies fame, I had high expectations when I caught it at the movies.

Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley with a cameo by Matt Damon and Topher Grace, the movie almost put me to sleep at times. Set in the future on a dying Earth, the space travel did not happen until at least an hour into the 2 hrs 50 mins long movie. The movie makers took their time to explore the special relationship between Cooper, Matthew's character who was a former NASA test pilot turned farmer, and his 10 years old daughter Murphy, played by MacKenzie Foy, before they whisked him off on a spacecraft Endurance with Dr Amelia Brand, played by Anne Hathaway, daughter of Professor Brand, Michael Caine's character, and some others into outer space through a wormhole to explore the livability of 3 potentially habitable planets Miller, Edmunds and Mann named after the astronauts who went on the initial mission to seek out these planets, in another galaxy in a bid to relocate mankind. The young Murphy was so heartbroken that although she pined for her father and unlike her elder brother, she refused to record messages for her dad, for the many years to come, which were sent to those on the mission.

Of course, the space travel wasn't as simple or straightforward and was fraught with lots of potential dangers and challenges. Planet Miller was too close to a black hole Gargantua which exerted a strong gravitational pull on the planet that it resulted in time dilation and one hour spent on the planet was the equivalent of seven earth years. Naturally, disaster happened to the team who explored this planet first. By the time the survivors returned to the Endurance, 23 earth years passed. That was also when Murphy, who was now a NASA scientist, sent her first recorded message to her dad on her birthday to remind him of his promise that he would be back before she reached the same age as him when he left her behind. This was the part that Matthew McConaughey broke down with grief when he finally saw his daughter after two decades apart.

They next went to Planet Mann, where Dr Mann was awakened from his space slumber, which showed a lot of potential for humans to inhabit. However, it turned out that Dr Mann falsified all the data for his own selfish reasons because he couldn't stand the loneliness in outer space and plotted to get a spacecraft to get there to rescue him from his plight. Another astronaut was killed as Dr Mann tried to take control of the spacecraft but didn't succeed, leaving behind Cooper and Amelias as the two remaining survivors of the voyage. This commotion caused significant damage to the spacecraft and barely left behind enough resources to sustain both of them for the final mission to the third planet.

Cooper sacrificed himself and instead of being destroyed upon entry into the atmosphere of the third planet, he was thrust into a 5th dimension across a time continuum behind a series of bookshelves where Murphy's bedroom was. He had to find the one that the adult Murphy was in at the specific moment to communicate with her the data that would enable her to solve the mystery of sending mankind to outer space. He eventually lapsed into unconsciousness before waking up at a hospital, which he later learnt was part of a larger life sustaining facility on another planet and the place was founded and named after Murphy. By then, Murphy was already in her 80s and surrounded by her children and grandchildren and she sent him away looking for Amelia, who was still somewhere stranded in outer space.

The ending was very typical of Christopher Nolan's movies where there was a lot of narration to provide a closing chapter to the movie. Strangely, this is one movie that I caught of outer space where aliens were not involved.
Cooper broke down on watching Murphy's first recorded message.

Prof Amelia Brand

Cooper and his children Tom and Murphy

the adult Murphy