Friday, March 4, 2016

Favorite Scene Friday! Interstellar: "It's necessary."

"I think I'm not so much a fan of science fiction as I am a fan of cinema that creates worlds, that creates an entire alternate universe that you could escape into for a couple of hours."

-Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan's choice of projects is one of the most interesting aspects to the director. His filmography as it stands now is sort of a sandwich, where the bread is composed of dramatic films - one slice being the upcoming war movie, Dunkirk - and the meat or filling is made up of 10 years worth of science fiction and genre flicks. One of those films is Interstellar, a movie I feel is destined to be one of his underrated projects. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this sandwich metaphor, so let's just get into the scene, shall we?

In Interstellar, a team of astronauts has been tasked with exploring the galaxy via a wormhole. They're looking for a habitable planet for humanity to relocate to (because Earth has turned to caca). The team is led by Cooper (Matthew McConaughey, in a roll I never thought he could pull off before the McConaissance) an astronaut/pilot turned farmer. A previous mission sent other astronauts through the wormhole to investigate candidate planets. On one of those planets, Cooper and his team discover Dr. Mann (Matt Damon). It’s revealed that Mann is insane and faked his planet's positive data in order to get rescued.

Our scene begins after Mann has attacked Cooper and left him for dead. Luckily he survives and escapes Mann's planet along with Brand (Anne Hathaway) and CASE AND TARS, their robot crew. When they catch up with Mann, he’s trying to dock with the Endurance - essentially the mission's mother ship - to escape. The delusional doctor doesn’t know how to work the docking equipment, however, and he blows himself out into space, causing catastrophic damage to the ship.

Chris B. Murray

The explosion is sudden and brutal, shocking Cooper, Brand, and the audience. We’re shown an exterior shot of the resulting damage to give us a sense of scale. Despite the destruction, Cooper hardly hesitates. If they're to continue their mission, he has to dock with the Endurance, despite the fact that it's spinning at close to 70 RPM. Cooper confirms to Brand that he's going to try the unthinkable, and then that crazy organ music kicks in, highlighting her fear. CASE informs Cooper that what he's about to attempt is impossible. “No," he replies. "It’s necessary.”

As if their situation isn't bad enough, the Endurance has no heat shield and the crew needs to dock before the ship dips too far into the planet's atmosphere. CASE pushes Cooper to get on with it, and I love the bot's switch from warning Cooper against docking. This film's portrayal of robots was unique and every frame they're on screen is awesome.

Cooper initiates the spin, and it's an intense and demented carousel, a sequence I can't help but feel in my gut. I love that mad scientist music, which is especially vital when you consider the filmmakers (accurately) chose not to include sound in their space scenes. Brand passes out from the spin, but Cooper and the bots manage to dock. They ease out of the whirlwind as an amazed Brand regains consciousness. Cooper breaks orbit and shuts off the engines. McConaughey expertly conveys Cooper's relief, and Brand can’t contain an emotional chuckle.



What's your favorite scene from Interstellar?

Do you prefer Nolan's dramatic films or his genre films? 

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