2014 - Not Quite A Space Odyssey
- Interstellar review by Count Otto Black
This movie should mark the point when we all realized Christopher Nolan wasn't quite as smart as he thinks he is. Earth (but basically America, because in movies this simple-minded nowhere else matters) has been struck by The Blight, a totally unexplained vegetable virus that kills everything humans - well, American humans, anyway - raise as a food crop. The solution? Build top secret spaceships and dive into a mysterious intergalactic wormhole that's recently appeared in the vicinity of Saturn in order to find a new home for humanity among the stars! Because that's got to be easier and less risky than... oh, I dunno, pouring those same quadrillions of bucks into curing the plant plague? Oh, hang about, it's also turning the Earth's atmosphere into pure nitrogen because, hey, Science Factoid: 80% of the Earth's atmosphere is already nitrogen, so that's totally a thing that could happen!
This is basically "2001 - A Space Odyssey" for stupid people. Which might under certain circumstances be a good thing; I mean, nobody worried that "Star Wars" and "Guardians Of The Galaxy" weren't exactly deep. Unfortunately, where they delivered gleefully implausible thrills and spills, this leaden effort spends most of its excessive running-time trudging through predictable emotional conflicts and explaining scientific concepts in an amount of detail which is simultaneously tedious and so over-simplified as to be just plain wrong. I'm one of the tiny minority of viewers who knew what Christopher Nolan meant when he had one character casually refer to something called "bulk", therefore I know "bulk" is not a magic thing which makes anything at all happen because the script says so. I also understand Einstein's theories of relativity (I seriously doubt that Mr Nolan knew there was more than one) sufficiently well to know why rambling on about them wrongly for ages fails to make the story any more realistic.
This is a classic example of science being used to justify wooly happy-clappy nonsense the director happens to like, but misused to the point where it gets in the way of what drama there is, which has to sit around twiddling its thumbs for half an hour while Science is dragged in to explain why something vaguely interesting is about to happen for a few minutes, accompanied by loud noises to wake up those audience members who have understandably nodded off. The number of direct nods to "2001 - A Space Odyssey" make it absolutely blatant that Christopher Nolan thought he was making the same film all over again, only better, because everything is explained in excruciating detail for the benefit of dullards. Chris old chum, the upper limit of your intellect is making Batman movies in which Batman hits people for reasons that are more complex than usual, so stick to what you're good at. A few more films like this and you'll be the next Michael Cimino. Remember him? Yeah, exactly...
I gave it two stars because I think Christopher Nolan really was trying his best, and sometimes it looks good. For an infinitely better treatment of the topic of intergalactic boredom that's genuinely entertaining, see John Carpenter's "Dark Star", which must have cost about a thousandth as much. For the same thing all over again, see Christopher Nolan's next movie, because feeble echoes of motifs he's already used pop up throughout this one. And isn't it about time they passed a law stating that if treacly human (or indeed robot) emotions override the laws of physics in a sci-fi movie, you're not allowed to call it "science fiction" any more?
11 out of 13 members found this review helpful.
- Interstellar review by JG
I really expected better of this film. The script was dire, the plot line seemed to be made up as it went along. The introduction of the Matt Damon segment seemed to have been included simply to add a nemesis for Matthew McConaughey and was utterly unbelievable. Needed a new script, better plot and ruthless editing to turn it into anything like a decent film. The only impressive SFX was towards the end when Matthew was stuck in the time dimension. Felt I wasted nearly 3 hours of my life. I would retitle it as "The Emperor's New Clothes".
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful.
An elegant and distinguished piece of sci-fi with some shortcomings
- Interstellar review by WS
Delivers all the awe and visual splendour you'd expect in a big-budget space exploration movie, from the astounding extra-terrestrial landscapes to the haunting scenes of farmers struggling to defend themselves against dust storms amid the cornfields of the Mid West. I liked the ship's robot helper, TARS, and was pleased that they had designed something new and unexpected instead of resorting to an R2D2 knock-off or a man in a tin suit.
There were things, however, that detracted from my enjoyment of this film. Firstly, some aspects of the background to the story didn't make sense. We learn that America has reverted to an agrarian economy as a result of an ecological and economic catastrophe. I found it puzzling, then, that people in this post-apocalyptic environment still have mod cons like microwave ovens, dishwashers and laptops, wear quartz watches, drive combine harvesters, and so on.
Secondly, there could have been more explanation of the science. Some elements that seemed preposterous at the time - that a planet orbiting a black hole can experience daylight, or that someone could enter said black hole without being annihilated - are, I've since discovered, theoretically possible in some circumstances. Christopher Nolan engaged the services of a scientific consultant in the making of Interstellar so he must have been satisfied that the science was rigorous, but we, the viewer, are simply expected to take these things on trust.
As for the cast and performances . . . whilst Matthew McConaughey is superb, Anne Hathaway seemed stiff and awkward and had a disconcerting tendency to smile inappropriately while delivering her lines.
Some of the dialogue was a bit corny (and I don't mean when the characters were talking about corn!) - but you don't expect completely naturalistic speech in a Christopher Nolan film anyway, so I didn't find this too bothersome.
Altogether, an intelligent film of great beauty and distinctiveness, never dull despite its 3-hour running time, but not flawless.
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful.
Sandra Bullock take notes.
- Interstellar review by NC
Lot better than the Bullock/Clooney extravaganza to nowhere. Not sure why, but does hold interest for most of the film. Love the 2001 Space Odessey black-block-comes-to-life robots. Quite clever those.
Gave it 4 as 3 a bit mean. Should be 3.5 really.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.