I totally, 100% unequivocally loved Interstellar. So here goes my attempt to review it in depth without any spoilers. I think it can be done, because I’m just going to be discussing the film’s themes anyway. So thematic spoilers.

I knew we were off to a good start when I loved the Earth stuff. Christopher and Jonah Nolan create a subtle portrait of the apocalypse via dirt as a pervasive element, hunting for abandoned drones and revised textbooks. I’m surprised the Nolans were so irreverent with that. They’re usually so stoic. I like the new Nolans. And just the way we gather the date from John Lithgow’s age and memories of modern day earth is elegant.

But we know this movie is called Interstellar and the reveal of space stuff is wondrous, with technology subtly integrated into this world. The space mission creates some fascinating questions which the plot somewhat takes out of the characters hands, leaving us to answer them. The ethics introduced by the manifestation of relativity are profound. The human qualities that can corrupt the perfect science experiment, it’s heartbreaking yet life affirming. We will ultimately triumph over cold science precisely because of, not in spite of, our humanity.

For 56 years, 2001: A Space Odyssey has rightfully been the benchmark for space movies. It will remain so, but it’s now going to share that bench with Interstellar. It’s the same principles of creating suspense with MV5BMTc0MjI0NzI0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIyODgxMzE@._V1__SX1874_SY859_the physics of spacecraft, yet it’s not disaster porn. It’s all the progressive story of this mission at its most extreme, but Nolan has taken it to the next level, all the way through his own “Beyond the Infinite” section. The musical score sounds like classical concertos, but this is Hans Zimmer’s original music. The silent shots of space are even more effective.

The properties of the planets they visit are incredible. The Nolans’ imagination have manipulated Earth elements just so to create brand new worlds. See, it’s not all about a planet of spitting volcanos or flying cars. The slightest manipulation of natural elements conveys otherworldly science fiction. If that water landing was CGI, it’s seamless.

What most impressed me was the inclusion of an unknown, an X factor in the science. That is bold and the science core may resist it, but it’s real. I know it my own life and I’m proud to see such respectfully scientific filmmakers like the Nolans incorporate it. It’s still intricately explained so it totally makes sense like Inception, but felt much more universal with the slight hint of ambiguity. Ambiguity that all serves the puzzle, but these are Nolan’s rules and he plays by the ones he establishes.

True, half of the dialogue was muffled. Maybe those were the bad parts of the movie, but I know they’re not. I mean, what can you do? There’s thrusters and debris and score and breathing in Dolby Atmos or whatever your theater uses. I’ll watch the Blu-ray with English subtitles and confirm the dialogue is still profound and beautiful.

Nit picks? I really don’t see why you can’t set up a tripod to film Cooper and his father sitting on the porch. There are two perfect spots for an “All right, all right, all right” but they didn’t go there. I can understand that. It wouldn’t have taken ME out of the movie, but in my Interstellar he says it.

At nearly three hours (with probably only a minute of credits. They really crammed all the movie they could onto those IMAX reels), I didn’t feel any part of Interstellar was unnecessary. Each phase of the story means something. I’d even watch an extended cut, but for now, I’m giving it the highest rating, which conveniently is the optimal format in which to see Interstellar.

Rating: IMAX