Interstellar

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I was cleaning up some of my posts here as before i found a process that worked for pasting my work on wordpress the macros or coding within the wordpress writer would sometimes brutalise my precious spacing.

This was the worst of the bunch, i tried to fix it using the updated writer but the review’s code was just too mangled to accept the change. so i had to repost it, and i took some time to clean up the spelling and diction as well.

 

While i can’t say i was really excited about going to this film (in fact i forgot it even released until a buddy told me it did), i can’t say that i wasn’t really really curious about it considering it had this trailer going for it:

So off i went, to a late night screening with a buddy of mine and quite enjoyed myself.

 

THE STORY

Mankind’s days are numbered on planet Earth, as drought and blight slowly destroy our food and eventually the air we breath. It is to the stars, that we must look for our salvation and a group of astronauts takes the first steps as time runs out.

 

THE GOOD

I will admit to not liking Matthew McConaughey, his career choices of appearing in romcom after romcom and playing insufferable douche bags who always manage to lose their shirts placed his marquee value for me right down there with Ben Affleck. In fact i was really waffling whether or not to go out and see this movie because i just didn’t want to watch him. Well count me a fan of the “McConissance” now he really won me over here.

He succeeds in giving the film its central emotional focus, and manages to display an incredible range from scene to scene, that honestly has me wondering what the hell he was doing all those years doing garbage like Failure to Launch, or Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. I find the character of Cooper himself to be a great example of a fully rounded on screen person, as he is conflicted and most importantly likable and is a highlight of the film.

The other performances by Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, and Jessica Chastain all add to a great cast, and certainly make the long running time of the film go by fairly quickly.

It’s also nice to see a film that is a genuine science fiction piece in the same vein as Moon or 2001 A Space Odyssey. As the concepts the film deals with represents some pretty heady material, and thankfully the ideas of the film aren’t used only as an excuse for laser beams and light speed. Here ideas like exploring the future of mankind, and the very real effects of traveling through the vast distances and anomalies of space support and strengthen the themes and setting of the film.

Much has been made about the flaws in the film science, and while yes it does indeed have flaws everything presented here is leagues ahead of the shockingly uneducated garbage J.J. Abrams and company manage to come up with in Star Trek and Into Darkness. Here in Interstellar it is apparent that in the very least the Nolan brothers actually read through A Brief History of Time and made an effort to understand it, instead of just using it as a coffee table decoration.

Hans Zimmer who frankly is ruining his name by producing the same thundering, simplistic, under developed garbage again and again manages a victory here. He ditches his trademark sounds of string and bass heavy ostinatos for an organ and other synthetic flourishes; as a result the switch in direction breathes a fair bit of fresh air into his material. While he still turns in a very simplistic score, i admit to thinking it had a very nice Philip Glass feel to it, and it more times than not added to the scenes where it needed to do so.

However i must say that due to its simplicity i have found it an insufferable listen when it is separated from its images.

 

THE BAD

Good god Nolan loves to have his characters babble on and on about exposition doesn’t he? While i’m all for exposition as it is indeed needed in some degree, many of the scenes suffer from the Batman Begins old guy telling us repeatedly that everything is going to explode when we already knew everything was going to explode syndrome.

As Nolan just isn’t comfortable with just letting the scene speak for itself. Particularly during the film’s final act and reveal, as Cooper and his robot buddy explain everything that has happened and everything that will happen as he is doing it, thus destroying all of the emotion that could be developed with a moment of quiet contemplation.

Also i had to stop myself from face palming the moment educated scientists (presumably) began spouting garbage like:

“love can conquer the boundaries of space time”

Or that we don’t fully understand what love is and where it comes from. Again this is a symptom of having to have the characters babble on and on about their motivations and their situation, and while i’m all for giving an otherwise cold and intellectual film some heart and irrational emotions; i think its safe to say that some things are better left unsaid.

The film also had me a little less than thrilled occasionally. While the overly loud score pounded and the cross cutting of the editing increased in volume and pace to raise the stakes, i was frankly just not along for the ride for whatever reason. I would attribute this to the film feeling a little long and bloated, and it recalls the problems i had with The Dark Knight in that there were just too many little climaxes that were treated like the big ones.

 

THE UGLY

In the end Interstellar is a bit of a flawed experience for me. While filled with great ideas and great performances it is ultimately ruined by just not being brave enough to let the ideas speak for themselves. A little more ambiguity would make the already high emotions and humanity of the characters break out for the stars, as a result what we have here is certainly worth a look but ultimately greatness escapes its reach.

 

3.5 stars

OUT OF FIVE

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