Friday, December 12, 2014

Interstellar (a movie review post)

I'm going to go ahead and lead with the fact that Christopher Nolan is overrated. Way overrated. Prior to Interstellar, The Prestige was the last above good movie Nolan made. The Dark Knight was merely good owing largely to the fact that it's a total bore upon any re-watching. That said, Interstellar is easily the best movie of Nolan's career, which, actually, isn't saying much in comparison to his career, so I'll say, instead, Interstellar is a great movie. I will be very surprised if it doesn't pick up a best picture nomination. It deserves, at least, to be nominated.

The one positive thing you can pretty much always say about Nolan is that he knows how to make a visually appealing movie, and this one may be his best effort yet. It was amazing. It can be summed up in the scene with the frozen clouds.

The story is good, too, which is a place Nolan is often weak but not this time. Well, the only thing that's an issue is the blight that is evidently killing all plant life on the planet. That and the "science" behind how people don't belong on Earth because of the nitrogen atmosphere. That was a bit of logic that didn't make any sense, especially considering that if oxygen levels were higher than they are, the atmosphere itself would be flammable. However, if you just buy into the part where there aren't any plants left -- especially since all of that is just a metaphor for how humans are destroying the Earth -- everything else is fine. Mostly. I mean, it is, but I can't elaborate without spoilers, so you'll just have to take that as it is.

The most interesting point raised by the movie is the conflict within our society between ideas and the things those ideas produce. And the resulting desire for consumption driven by all the things. There is definitely an unstated answer to the unstated question: Ideas are good, but we have to learn how to control our drive to consume before we reduce the Earth to a giant dust bowl. Or some other equally inhospitable result.

Even with everything else being topnotch, probably, the greatest strength of the movie is the acting. There's not a single weak link. John Lithgow is wonderful. Michael Caine is... well, he's Michael Caine. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are both incredible. Mackenzie Foy and Timothee Chalamet are both great as the kids, especially Foy. There are too many to mention. I mean, I haven't even gotten to Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, or Jessica Chastain, yet. All of that said, TARS may have been my favorite character.
Coop: What's your trust setting, TARS?
TARS: Lower than yours, apparently.
He had all the best lines, and he was just a big box that walked and talked.

That said, the design of TARS was fascinating. Most unattractive robot I've ever seen, but completely cool and incredibly functional. I'll be surprised if we don't eventually see something like this.

Interstellar is definitely a movie worth seeing at the theater. It's a BIG movie and won't be the same on a normal TV screen. Or, maybe, people don't have normal TV screens anymore? I don't know. It's a movie that satisfies on pretty much every level, definitely worth seeing.

12 comments:

  1. It was incredibly ambitious.
    As a Nolan fan, I found it just below many of his other films, mostly due to some of the plot holes and the tone of the film. He's never made happy films, but this one was incredibly depressing and it will be a long time before I ever watch it again.
    That said, I hope it does get some critical acclaim.

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    1. Alex: I think he did a good job of covering the plot holes. Which I won't say because it involves spoilers. You have to accept that thing but, if you do, there really aren't any holes.
      Like I said, the only real issue is "the blight," which, scientifically, as far as we know, is completely impossible. And implausible.

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  2. There's almost always flaws in the logic of sci-fi movies. The movie just has to make it worth it, and Interstellar did that job at least.

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    1. Jeanne: Yeah, but there doesn't -have- to be flaws. It's just lazy thinking.

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  3. I LOVED Interstellar! I found it fascinating from the get-go.

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    1. Fundy: It was definitely interesting. I especially loved the conversation with the teacher and principal.

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  4. But then I don't want to see a depressing film.

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    1. Jo: It didn't strike me as depressing at all. Maybe a depressing beginning, but it ends with hope.

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  5. I have yet to see this, but my husband really enjoyed it.

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    1. Shannon: Well, you should get to it, then!

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  6. I want to see it... a little worried by the "depressing" comments, as those never sit well. I'm not a fan or hater of Nolan's work, but I do think he's a better director than a lot of the guys and gals (are there any gals right now?) out there at the moment.

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    1. Alex H: Honestly, I didn't find any of it depressing. I can see that it starts with a dark view of the future, but I didn't find any of the movie to be actually depressing. Maybe it's because during those parts I was too busy dismissing the dumb science of the disease that kills ALL plant life.

      And I am not sure about any female directors making waves, right now.

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