So I went to Interstellar last night having read no reviews (and still haven’t, ‘cos that would be cheating), ready for a bit of an experience.
Here are some initial thoughts more or less in note form. Because if I don’t jot them down now, I’ll never actually get round to writing this or it will sit as a draft for a couple of years.
So while things are fresh…
Great film. I love science fiction and this wasn’t a disappointment. It was an experience, a real journey. Christopher Nolan has made another goodie.
Very impressive. Very very impressive. The space craft, space scenes, action scenes were virtually flawless (pun intended), fantastically executed and thoroughly engaging. Breathtaking vistas, totally convincing alien landscapes. It’s like we have truly entered the era where we can create any environment on the big screen with total realism. Not that everyone is doing it well, but these guys excelled in my humble opinion.
I loved the ‘robots’. Seems to me the audience was deliberately baited by the initial appearance – “what?! It’s all square-ish! How can that even, like, move?!” but as the film progressed their abilities were revealed in often humorous ways. Nice touch. And good on them for not going down the android route for a change.
I couldn’t help seeing a bit of 2001 in this and I think there were a few nods to this classic in the film. At one point – one early scene around the initial docking, I’m pretty sure the music was reminiscent of 2001.
And then of course, there were the similarities in the story arch.
And later I did wonder if the design of the cube robots were a bit of a play on the big black slab. The robots themselves turned out to be totally benign despite some initial hints that they may have played a role similar to Hal 9000.
A star-studded cast did well with what they were given. Matthew McConaughey is at the top of his game, but I don’t think this film was his best performance of late. Anne Hathaway did pretty good. Jessica Chastain was well cast, but Mackenzie Foy as her earlier self also did a nice job. Bit of a shame but I can’t help thinking of 3rd Rock from the Sun every time I see John Lithgow. Never mind. And good old Michael Caine, he’s never bad is he?
Some Weak Dialogue
OK, at times the script seemed to me a bit weak and at times, actually a bit weird and lost. Shame, I think it was one factor preventing this film from being ‘fantastic’ rather than just ‘really good’.
Plot & Conceptual Problems
Nice critique of monoculture as a major factor in the demise of human civilisation #boom. But if they could create like a whole total new environment in a massive spaceship, why not just create one on Earth? That would save time, be cheaper and save having to conquer the mystery of gravity.
No doubt the film will spur on a round of highly informed debate on the ins and outs of relativity, worm holes & temporal paradoxes etc. across the interwebs. Yippee. Overall, I thought it was clever and most problems got lost (at least at the time) behind impressive execution and directing.
A couple of things stood out to me though. Perhaps the biggest issue was the way in which the watch became a communication device for an extremely complex and presumably large amount of data from the black hole singularity – via Morse code. The leap was just too big and poorly conceptualised.
It’s not that the audience hasn’t been prepared for weird and unusual but this kind of broke things for me. Further, the way in which the deciphering of the watch data was portrayed – writing stuff down on a pad in Morse was oddly done, like they ran out of time and had to wrap things up quickly ‘cos the end of the movie was coming up. It was probably the only point in the film where I dis-engaged, sat back and thought ‘Yeah nah, come on mate, that’s just corny aye’.
No doubt on further reflection they’ll be a few more things that don’t quite mesh well, but don’t think too hard eh. That’s not the point. Be entertained.
But overall, and on a positive note, it wasn’t just an sci-fi/action flick, there were ideas to ponder and some interesting exploration of the human condition. Good stuff.
Quite possibly one of those films you want to see a couple of times. I’m told it’s a great watch in 3D IMAX.