Movie Review: Interstellar

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The world used to be a great place. Full of life, vegetation, and advancement. Then the blight came, and wiped out everything. Except corn and the human race. With that devastating disease, technology became useless, internet and the like was cast to the wayside, and farming became the world’s main focus, for without food, everyone starves.

Most are content to live with the way things are, but some, refuse to accept life as it is. Cooper is one who dreams of something better. “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.” He declares to his father disappointedly, wishing that mankind would embrace that spirit of exploration once more.

Then, something happens that leads him to a place where they will be sending out one more expedition. An expedition through a wormhole to find a new planet and place where humans could again thrive. A new world full of opportunity and new life. He takes the offer, and begins a trip across galaxies to find something better for his family and for mankind.

Things I Liked

Cooper is the star of this film, and is an awesome dad. We see him interact with his kids in a loving, intelligent, caring ways. Before he lifts off into space, the moments he shared with his daughter and son are simple, yet powerful. Instantly you can tell that everything he does, he does for his kids. When he leaves them, he knows he is making the ultimate sacrifice in knowing he very well may never see them again. Something he is willing to do, because it is best for humanity, not considering himself.

There was no inappropriate sexual content. Thank you, Mr. Nolan, for sticking to the story and not superfluous sexual promiscuity.

Things I Didn’t Like

Flight members lie, and eventually kill, to ensure their survival or to do what they consider best. One crew member is swept away in a wave (we see him facedown in the water later), another dies in an explosion, another dies being sucked out to space. There are some fistfights where a crew guy gets his helmet cracked and begins to suffocate.

Profanity makes its appearance a few times. The f-word is dropped once. Other words such as a–, b—–, and d— are used maybe once or twice. God’s and Jesus’ name is taken in vain three times.

Closing Thoughts

And now these three remain. Faith. Hope. Love. The greatest of these… is Love.

Interstellar touches on virtually every aspect of humanity. The good, the bad, the truth, the deceit, the love, the fear… Everything. It is fascinating to watch how some men justify decisions, how some heroes we find are not that heroic, and how the power of love drives a man to do anything for his kids. It is an exploration of man just as much and exploration of the universe. Probably moreso, because the exploring of the universe stopped off at “Wormhole” and got left in the station of “Theoretical (more like maybekindasorta) physics”.

This film tries to be brilliant in the world of science fiction, it really does, but using theoretical physics, which is quite honestly ridiculous, to explain key points in story progression distracted from the actual plot itself. That, and also tossing every known fact about black holes into the wastebasket made for a plot with great characters and messages, but a delivery that was illogical and almost laughable at times. While Nolan may be a master at mental thrillers and crafting puzzles, it is clear from this film, that science fiction is not his genre of strength when choosing a setting and context.

While some I have talked to about this film said the characters were absorbing, I found myself like a few others- detached and not truly feeling for those exploring the farest reaches of the galaxy. The shallowness of the characters was something which truly disappointed me, because there was so much potential for more. Everyone seems to be emotionally constipated with often clunky dialogue about love, past choices, and more. The only relationship truly engaging and convincing is with Cooper and his daughter Murph, they desire more than anything to see each other again, and we do feel that, and identify with it.

I consider myself to be a Nolan fan, or at least, have enjoyed immensely the work he did in the Prestige or the Dark Knight Trilogy. Here it seems though, he bit off a little more than he could chew. This film ultimately lifts off with grand and glorious aspirations of faith, hope, and love. It then sadly though, gets lost in the space of plot holes and black holes. It is like the movie could not decide what it wanted to focus on. At times it felt rushed, like Cooper leaving earth so suddenly, and other when it dragged on in the oh so forced monologues in space.

I’m not saying this is a terrible movie, nor am I saying it is engaging. Interstellar starts to show us a majestic, and beautiful approach to the universe and the humanity in it. Sadly though, winds up leading us nowhere in particular with the focus shifting in nebulous ways without ever settling on any one thing in particular. Or even settling in general.

Where God is lacking, humanity makes up for it in every way in this film. This truly boggles my mind, as the whole film has this reverent feel to it as soon as space it entered. It like the film knows that space is something to point to worship, they just wind up pointing at the wrong thing- human intellect, rather than give credit to a Divine Supernatural entity. This approach of trying to explain everything through flawed scientific principles is perhaps what deflates the work more than anything.

Interstellar is truly an ambitious work, while not entirely original. It may contain astounding cinematography, quite a few “stars”, and some sound messages on faith, hope, and love… I found this film to be more about how amazingly brilliant man is, can evolve to be, and is a mockery to the genre of science fiction in general. Those two main devices, like a black hole, sucked the remaining light from the film to where the only thing surviving was a remembrance that man doesn’t need anyone but man, and that given enough gravity, anything can and will happen.

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Why Conviction Isn’t Enough

Walking in the Spirit Conviction

I’m finding more and more people living “According to their Conviction” these days. It seems to be the new phrase that has replaced “I’m free in Christ” or at least, become a matching phrase meaning the essentially same thing. Many people live according to conviction.  This is good, as we are free in Christ to live apart from sin. We are to be free from this sin, not to desire things which are unlawful, and yet also not live with a spirit of legalism. The one extreme “I can do anything I want” to the other extreme “I must still keep the Torah to be clean” are flawed mindsets which must be overcome if we are to properly live walking in the Spirit.

Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  ~Galatians 4&5~

So often in our lives though we mix up, or at least do not properly reconcile, what it means to live according to the “Conviction of the Spirit” Paul speaks of in Romans and Galatians. There are clear evidences of what living according to your heart’s desires looks like. There are also clear evidences of what Spirit given Conviction looks like. What we must not do, is be deceived into thinking our sinful heart’s desires are biblical convictions given by the Holy Spirit.

For if we mix the Spirit’s conviction with our heart’s desire, then we will stray into sin over and over. Because we all know, the heart is incredibly deceitful. 

What are the evidences then? How can we be sure that we are walking that straight and narrow path of honoring Christ with our whole being? Well, one reason I love Paul, is he was a list guy. Like me. In the book of Galatians he outlines in detail, what evidences of the spirit and heart (flesh) look like.

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions,factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 

Honestly, the evidences are quite clear. One I think is the most prevalent or at least, see most often, is selfish ambitions. Selfishness can be contrived and drawn up in many different ways to look like it is in fact, not so. Which takes us back to the core of ourselves- what does the heart look like? Is it meek and submissive? Is it selfless and honoring to others? We can only truly know our hearts when we line up our actions and true desires with scripture’s standards.

Which brings me to the last bit of this post… What are our standards? What does it mean to live according to conviction by the spirit practically? Remember that passage when the Priests came and questioned Jesus? (paraphrasing here) They asked Him incredibly insincerely  “Great teacher, what is the greatest commandment?” to which Christ replied brilliantly, per usual, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength. The second is like it- love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these rest the rest of the Law.” There, in plain black and white, is our standard. Is what we are doing in Love of the Lord, AND in Love of all others. It is such a simple, yet quite challenging truth. If what we are doing is out of a genuine Love for the Lord first, then others. You will be following the commandments the Lord has set in place.

Finally, here’s the bottom line I’ve concluded about this topic- If a conviction does not align with greatest commandments, you’re doing it wrong. And that wrongness should be changed- not based on what feels right, but what is known to be true. Then, and only then, will one be able to live according to the convictions Paul speaks of over and over. Convictions serving not the flesh, but the Spirit, glorifying Christ.