Interstellar: Long, Winded, & Flawed
Christopher Nolan loves two things.
Dead wives, and convoluted plots wrapped in long movies that provide more questions than answers.
If you’re a fan of either of these, then you’ll probably enjoy Interstellar.
I’m going to start this review with the admission that I’m not a scientist. I’ve read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and enjoy reading Wikipedia articles on deep space when I should be doing work. Even with my negligible background in science, there were plenty of times during Interstellar where I wanted to stand up in seat and scream, “This makes no sense! Even for a Christopher Nolan film!”
I don’t want to go too deeply into the plot because, like I said, it’s overly complicated and also features several surprising twists. Suffice it to say, Earth is dying, Matthew McConaughey has a dead wife, there’s an apparent poltergeist in his daughter’s room, and Michael Caine wants to ship him off into space to find a new world for mankind to colonize. Three hours later, the ridiculousness of the entire plot and the numerous overly convenient plot points and assumptions will only result in you and your friends arguing over just what the hell happened.
Once Matthew McConaughey actually blasted off into space, the film became more gripping. The visuals are awesome, dizzying, and genuinely terrifying at times. The score is beautiful and grand. But what else can you expect from Hans Zimmer? While it’s not as epic as Inception or as gets-under-your-skin as the Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar is another home run.
As soon as the film moves from outer space, however, the weaknesses become all too apparent. The dialogue is not strong and Christopher Nolan’s speeches about love (delivered by a melodramatic Anne Hathaway) are laughable. In fact, the best friends and I laughed out loud several times during the film at scenes that were distinctly not supposed to be comedic.
Nothing made us laugh as hard, however, as the design of the sarcastic robot, TARS. First of all, a sarcastic robot is the cliché to end all scifi clichés, but the gargantuan, Gumby-looking robot was the stupidest looking robot I have ever seen in my many years of watching science fiction films. Aside from being an incredibly flawed design (one word: WHEELS), it was also awkwardly huge and just plain ridiculous looking. The first time TARS appeared on the screen, the best friends and I turned to stare at one another in shock, thinking surely, there has been some mistake. Nope, it was made to look that way, and only the production design team and Christopher Nolan know why.
Overall, Interstellar is a bloated, winded mix of Inception, Sunshine, and Prometheus; another in a long line of scifi movies that take themselves way too seriously. There was nothing terribly original about this movie and the lack of answers only illustrates the flaws of the entire plot. Visually, like I said, it was cool and if you’re the sort of person who can withstand three hours of weak dialogue and nonsensical plot twists for some beautiful effects, then check it out.
For the rest of us, just watch 2001: A Space Odyssey and call it a day.
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3 thoughts on “Interstellar: Long, Winded, & Flawed”
The movie lost me when it aired the trailer with the monumentally stupid voice over:
“The world doesn’t need engineers, we didn’t run out of television sets, we ran out of food.”
Someone absolutely, positively doesn’t understand engineering and the impact it has on pretty much every aspect of their lives including, you know, farming whether it’s Big Agra or family farms because my god the stupidity.
I’m still very excited to see it and will be giving it the benefit if the doubt if only because I remember The Fountain receiving similar reviews: negative, mocking, and often downright mean statements born of viewers’ inability to expand their frames of mind.
Yet I consider that film a genuine work of incomprable art and beauty that leaves me breathless no matter how many times I see it.
An aspect from The Fountain that I expect to see a similar form of in Interstellar: I LOVE when a story requires the viewer to engage their imagination to the point of ignoring what may be true for us right now, it’s a creativity and imagination threshold that has sadly died off in most people.
In a time of unoriginal, poorly acted, mostly remake films…I eagerly applaud any filmmaker brave enough to break the mold, even if it’s not an Acadamy Award winner, or fumbles a little, I’ll take effort over junk every time.
I will add this, though: seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey, among others, should be required viewing for all humans. It should be part of school curriculum. But for certain, nobody should ever ever be allowed to watch any space film before seeing 2001….that’s just shameful.
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