Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
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Interstellar
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Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Release Date:November 5, 2014
Runtime:
MPAA Rating:PG-13
Genres:Drama, Science Fiction
Production Company:Paramount Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Syncopy, Lynda Obst Productions
Production Countries:Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom
Director:Christopher Nolan
Writers:,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:saving the world, artificial intelligence, father-son relationship, single parent, nasa, fight, expedition, giant wave, pilot, wormhole, space travel, hope, saturn, famine, black hole, race against time, rocket, epic, quantum mechanics, love, alternate dimension, spaceship, rescue, family relationships, ambiguous ending, drone, moral courage, farmhouse, planet, robot, astronaut, written by director, scientist, sabotage, father daughter relationship, widower, single father, near future, corn, farmer, dust, space station, astrophysics, zero gravity, dust storm, top secret, baseball game, set in future, farming, lens flare, courage, deathbed, alien world, morse code, future dystopia, flashback, dystopia, time paradox, earth viewed from space, relativity, space time, event horizon, crop failure, reference to moonlanding conspiracy, video message, water planet, american midwest
  • That's not shinola you see thru that black hole, Grasshopper.
    November 9, 2014

    A good friend of mine, the writer Mark Shulman, once pointed out that our standards are being gradually eroded, so that sadly, we are left with less and less in lieu of a threshold of acceptability, finding ourselves not unlike frogs in a pan being brought to a slow, imperceptible boil.

    Christopher Nolan and some of his cast are telling the press that Interstellar is a love story. I will take them at their word and assume that whatever else I picked up on was left there unwittingly, for the rest of us to parse through.

    Considering how much pain is involved in traveling to and from a crowded movie theater on a Saturday night, I feel like it's my prerogative, when I have paid good money, to take a film apart if I am still hungry for substance at the end of it; and I WILL get my nourishment from something or other, if not from the movie's plot itself.

    The first thing that strikes me, when I think back to the experience of Interstellar, is that it leaves me with nothing, emotionally - no takeaway. I did not care about any of its characters, or believe they were real, and I did not really worry about the fate of humanity (any more than the film itself actually does, beyond paying it casual lip-service).

    I wasn't awed like I may have been by other wondrous space movies that Interstellar measures itself against (or steals from), and I am not compelled to go back and see any part of it ever again. (I suspect most viewers won't either, once the collective neophile contact high has passed.)

    For starters, I do not like the moral core of the story: Interstellar is a film about "saving humanity" but it is unclear who will pay for humanity's failures. The film offers a great debate over where to repopulate, but none about what we have learned from having to leave our home in the first place. There is no therapy, no penance, no sacrifice. In a way, this represents a subconscious confession about our culture's moral failures: when we run out of spaces to consume, and out of fertile ground to slash an burn, we will have to look for new worlds to expand out into, since we cannot show self control and learn to care for what we have...

    But enough psychobabble. A dysfunctional moral compass is not the worst thing about Interstellar.

    The worst thing about the film is that, to quote my girlfriend, "It's OK to for characters to talk in pseudo-scientific gobbledygook when the show is Star Trek, because in Star Trek, they all have pointy ears."

    Interstellar may be worth a glance, certainly for the photography and exciting visuals, but it is a buffet of messy ideas that fire in all directions. Clearly the script is not written by career screenwriters, but by a director who has freed himself from gravity and has achieved his own artificial self-sufficiency amid the vast nothingness.

    The result is an often far-fetched and unintelligible, outlandish tale which takes an awfully long time to suspend the viewer's disbelief (and cringing), to finally arrive at a tepid plot after about an hour or so.

    In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that Nolan's 'tightest' film is Memento, a dis-cognitive story told from the point of view of a man who is unable to string two events together, or to remember where he started.

    Interstellar is not an intelligent picture, but a pseudo-intelligent one. It seems designed to appeal to the sort of audience who loves to be flattered with cheap shots - a sort of space odyssey version of "who wants to be a millionaire?" Its success resting entirely on the fact that every member of the audience gets to feel superior. To whom? No one knows. This technique seems to be trending within the Nolan's filmography.

    For the rest, the picture is a narrative mess that trivializes space travel on a galactic scale, (black hole, wormhole, same difference,) and is often plagued by ridiculous star-studded cameos that shatter the viewer's concentration by landing in the middle of tense emotional scenes like a cockroach in your soup.

    The film is oddly timed with elliptical cuts that compress the action into some often confusing edits, and only leave in lieu of dialog some awful scenes of trite, contrived exposition, filled with emetic pseudo physics, sure to give an immature modern audience raised on Batman a sense that they are building their cultural ego by agreeing with this farce. Worst of all, it feels long and never ending.

    Sadly, good science fiction is hard to come by, harder than a good ordinary film even, and although this picture is somewhat entertaining, it fades away from the heart and mind, like the flickering green of the traffic light we just passed, as we head home from the cinema, once more.