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Interstellar

tn_interstellarYou guys heard of this INTERSTELLAR? Came out recently. It’s Chris Nolan’s take on the wide-eyed space exploration epic. The type of sci-fi movie that keeps its feet partly on earth, has no lasers or star wars in it whatsoever and tries to seem relatively semi-quasi-plausible by modern scientifical-esque theories. It’s definitely supposed to be a spectacle, but not in the complicated-cgi-creations-loudly-smashing-things-into-a-million-cgi-particles way we generally get now, or even the how-did-they-even-do-that style of the INCEPTION hallway scene. More in the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA sense of gigantic landscapes. It’s the type of movie made by and for people who get awe struck staring up at the stars and weepy at the thought of specific astronauts. People whose imaginations get boners from the idea of a manned mission to Mars more than they would from a monster biting the head off a robot.

So the truth is I’m not the audience for this movie. I was better in monster biting head off a robot class than in science. When a guy sitting by me in the theater said he read that the black hole created for the movie was so “mathematically accurate” that scientists were now making discoveries based on it, I literally had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. On several different levels. So keep that in mind when I tell you I liked, didn’t love INTERSTELLAR. But I’m still gonna write about it, ’cause this is America.

Matthew McConaughey of THE PAPERBOY fame plays Cooper, an ex-test pilot, widower and father of two, forced to be a corn farmer in a bleak near future where crops are dying, food is scarce and kids aren’t allowed to go into engineering because TVs don’t work anymore or something. His teenage son Tom (Timothee Chalamet) is okay with taking over the farm some day, but his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy, THE CONJURING) loves the ol’ engineering, and he hates to see the school discourage her.

There’s a nice poetic touch near the beginning after Cooper and the kids recklessly chase down a low-flying drone to capture and steal its parts. Dad decides that it’s an Indian drone that’s been wandering the world with no mission since the collapse of its command center. Murph sympathizes with the machine and wants to let it go, like it’s a fish. This sort of foreshadows the NASA robots TARS and CASE, who later steal the movie whenever they go into action. They’re valuable members of the team, completely trustworthy, never used for creepiness like HAL 9000s waiting to happen. They’re even programmed to make jokes and talk shit. You gotta respect the rare movie about technology that comes down entirely on the pro side.

(QUICKIE SPOILER: My favorite thing in the whole movie is Cooper sitting on a porch having a beer and reminiscing with a rectangular robot.)

mp_interstellarCooper encourages Murph’s intellectual curiosity, which gets her in trouble at school. Also it  causes them to decode a message from what she believes is a ghost in her bedroom, which leads them to  trespass at a secret NASA hideout, where Cooper is recruited to join a team of astronauts on a mission to find out if some other guys on a previous mission figured out how to save the world. Meanwhile Michael Caine (ODG), Cooper’s former mentor and father of space teammate Anne Hathaway, will stay on earth and try to invent some kind of anti-gravity thing that would also save the world from the, uh… from too much corn and not enough wheat, or whatever.

The opening obviously makes you think a little bit of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and alot of SIGNS (maybe just because it’s sci-fi taking place at a farmhouse in the middle of a corn field where a widower and his kids try to decode mysterious signs). But of course any smartypants space movie like this is gonna get compared to 2001 (not the year, the space odyssey). That’s the unreachable benchmark. INTERSTELLAR doesn’t feel much like 2001 at all, except that the visuals get kinda trippy when they go through a black hole (though that part reminded me more of Space Mountain at Disneyland. I could almost hear the music playing). And maybe it’s an homage that the robot brothers look like monoliths with monitors for faces. The incomprehensible space technology of 2001 co-opted to serve man.

The thing 2001 gets criticized for when it gets criticized is being cold and distant, looking at the proceedings from more of a God’s eye view than a human one. INTERSTELLAR takes the other approach of aiming mainly for humanity. It says yeah, scientists traveling beyond the galaxy and space and time to save the human race and all that, blah blah blah, but really it’s about a father and his daughter. (You know, like CONTACT.) And it’s sweet and you can’t really fault a movie for being about what it’s about, but to me it demonstrates the wisdom of Kubrick’s approach. By making INTERSTELLAR really about the same thing that many a normal drama is about it sort of trivializes the awe inspiring epic part of the movie. It tries to make relatable a story that is more impactful if it’s unfathomable. Why you always gotta fathom everything, Nolan.

The main thing being examined here is a dad abandoning his kids. And because of all that “relativity” business (good call, Einstein) even if this mission is successful he’ll be gone for decades in earth time and they’ll age faster than him. In his mind it’s the right thing to do because he figures if he doesn’t go the whole planet will die, so seeing them briefly when they’re decrepit and old and he’s still in MAGIC MIKE shape is better than nothing. And his son agrees. He doesn’t give a shit. But women are emotional, am I right fellas? Go to the bathroom in groups, etc. So Murph refuses to forgive him for leaving her. She won’t even send him video messages until she’s grown into Jessica Chastain.

But then there’s sort of a reverse thing where daughter Hathaway left father Caine behind, and he mentors grown up Murphy, becoming a surrogate father. Meanwhile, in space, Hathaway is emotional too. With the future of the human race hanging in the balance she makes a decision based on following a boy she likes (homage to that one TV show Felicity I believe). Then she makes a speech about how it’s a sound scientific basis for a decision because “love is the one thing that transcends time and space.” The fifth element is love.

(By the way, it’s kind of unusual that the male and female leads never have a thing for each other. He only cares about his kids and she only cares about a doctor we never see. That’s pretty cool.)

But the thing is: the ladies are right. Most of the men in this movie fuck up every damn thing, often because of their emotional distance. One goes to his death bed having lied to and betrayed his loved ones for the supposed greater good and not even achieving his goal. Another one chooses to doom the human race rather than sacrifice himself for it. Dr. Michael Caine fails and surrenders, but Murph is the one who refuses to give up. After we hang with Mr. Cooper for a while and see him transcend space and time (yes, with love) he gets back home to find that his daughter still eclipsed him.

Another movie it’s been compared to is SUNSHINE, it being the other most recent non-laser sci-fi movie about scientists on a last ditch mission to most likely fail to save the human race from imminent extinction. I believe the current consensus is that INTERSTELLAR is way better, but I don’t agree. To me the characters in SUNSHINE are more interesting and more believable as experts in their fields. I would be the last man on earth to criticize INTERSTELLAR for fakey science, but even I gotta chuckle when on the mission to save the world by traveling through a black hole one of the astronauts has to get out a piece of paper and make a sketch to explain the concept of traveling through a black hole to our hero. Like, maybe this sort of thing should’ve been covered before take off? In my layman’s opinion.

You know what would be interesting would be if at that point he says “Ah, nah guys, Coop don’t do black holes. I don’t believe in it. You gotta bring me back.”

The pro-science theme is handled a little goofy I think. The dystopian world of the opening feels more like heavy-handed preachiness than “it figures it would be something like this” verissimiliwhatever. In a movie like, say, CHILDREN OF MEN, the world unfolds in front of us, we see all the chaos and piece together what has gone so wrong with the world. In INTERSTELLAR we get more explaining because we gotta understand that a world where everyone is starving is not bad just because everyone is starving, but because WHO WILL FUND NASA?

Cooper constantly annoys his kids with nostalgia about how great it was when we used to invent all the time and explore and shit, but now we just farm. The hardest part to swallow is when we learn that the school system has revised all textbooks to claim that the Apollo missions were faked.  It doesn’t seem like that’s supposed to be the truth, it’s just what The Man wants you to believe. I’m not sure I really understand why. So kids will be want to be farmers instead of astronauts? I’m just surprised that this “my kid wants to be an astronaut and refuses to learn how to drive the tractor” problem is widespread enough to inspire such a conspiracy. But maybe they’re also teaching ’em that rappers, movie stars, basketball players and celebrity heiresses were a hoax.

I mean this with all due respect because I love a Nolan movie: this part comes off almost Ayn Randian in its “I want to be educated and do sciencey shit but SOCIETY is forcing me to be a mere farmer!” paranoia. And it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when movies preach the gospel about science, then go on to be a bunch of bullshit. All this talk about the power of love really works with the movie and is a cool idea, but it’s right up there with intelligent design and The Secret as far as scientific theories go. So it rubs me the wrong way a little bit. But not as bad as the cartoon FRANKENWEENIE, in which a teacher accurately chastises his town for their ignorant disregard for science, then teaches them that electricity brings dead bodies back to life.

But of course we do live in a country where superstitious idiots can get high up in the government and try their damndest to fuck up our future (for example we have a guy who wrote a book denying the existence of climate change in charge of the committee that deals with climate change). So I agree with the sentiment, if not the execution. And I love the idea that in the future NASA is a scrappy underground organization working in the shadows like Batman.

Batman was also a hoax, kids. Don’t be Batman.

I’m not trying to nitpick the movie. It’s definitely worth seeing. I just would have it low in my rankings of Chris Nolan pictures. Most of his movies are puzzles, carefully designed machines. I believe he talks about it as “the geometry of storytelling.” The ultimate example of that – and in my opinion his best batless movie – is INCEPTION, a meticulously constructed contraption of a story, an elaborate magic trick. You can picture alot of charts and diagrams going into the creation of that story. INTERSTELLAR is, in comparison, almost loose and unstructured. Mostly just a series of shit that happens until the end, it’s not as much of a mousetrap. Which is fine, but I prefer the more narratively show-offy Nolan, I think that plays to his strengths better.

Or maybe I’m just unimpressed by the trick at the end because I coincidentally watched INSIDIOUS CHAPTER TWO earlier in the day, and weirdly they have kind of the same twist. SPOILER FOR BOTH MOVIES: First of all, they both start with the letters IN, so they are alphabetically similar. Case closed. But secondly they both have an earlier time period where a kid is dealing with an apparent ghost in the house and something unexplainable happens and then many years later the protagonist watches the event from another dimension just outside the room and manages to intervene and becomes the cause of the odd thing seen the first time around.

Oh my god you guys, it’s THE SIXTH SENSE too. He was a ghost the whole time.

Okay, I’m arguing that we don’t get the full power of a Nolan narrative, but we do get most of the rest of his arsenal. Another Christopher Nolan movie, another building, portentous Hans Zimmer score. I love ’em. Always a big part of that Nolan mood. This one’s recognizable as the kind of churning, droning, driving sounds Zimmer’s been messing with since DARK KNIGHT, but this time with some good old fashioned church organ added to the mix. Reminded me a little bit of CANDYMAN and maybe INFERNO. I kinda wish he’d added KOYAANISQATSI style throat singers chanting “interrrrrr… stellarrrrrrrrr” over and over again, see how that would go over with everybody.

Nolan also insisted on using alot of analog effects techniques. Apparently alot of the spaceship shots are done with models (not computers), the robots with puppets and all of the footage inside the ships was done with projections outside of the windows, not green screens. That was a great idea to prevent the actors from having to answer that question about what it’s like to act against a green screen and have to imagine stuff. But – and I am fully aware that I’m not supposed to think or say this – it does look a little not-up-to-modern-standards at times. Hardly a dealbreaker, but in my opinion a decent defense of digitaling shit up.

Still, it’s an impressive production, definitely designed to be seen big, and the majority of it is shot in Imax, even more of it than DARK KNIGHT RISES. I love that it was a genuine movie-going event. I saw it on the biggest screen in Seattle, at a sold out 3 pm weekday show. It also felt like kind of a wake for projected film, because I had heard this would be the last thing showing in actual Imax, who are apparently going to start using new laser projectors instead of their 70mm film. I guess it’s not really the last one, but they are planning to transition. I hope that works out because this has been a special place for me for many years and it will be a shame if it gets replaced with something not as good. I should mention that this theater is at the Pacific Science Center, so our ticket and concessions purchases support science education for kids and help prevent a future of corn farming.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 2:16 pm and is filed under Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

95 Responses to “Interstellar”

  1. Really good review, Vern.

    I really disliked this movie and thought it was dumb, but a lot of it came from my feeling really strong about something you said very well: “And it’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when movies preach the gospel about science, then go on to be a bunch of bullshit. All this talk about the power of love really works with the movie and is a cool idea, but it’s right up there with intelligent design and The Secret as far as scientific theories go.”

    I agree, and that ruined the movie for me. I’d rather watch CONTACT and GRAVITY back to back than INTERSTELLAR.

    I’m hard on Nolan, but I went hoping for big spectacle. I thought the spectacle was near nonexistent and really annoyed me. Too many shots, from both the space craft and the truck, of a camera attached looking backwards. All the time.

    Why was this movie 3 hours?

  2. I enjoyed it. So glad I saw this in IMAX, even if it was 10-15 feet away from the screen. For me the cons are considerably outweighed by the pros. Nolan exceeded his grasp to an extent, but I find that admirable. You hit it on the head about what Kubrick did with 2001, but it’s not impossible to try and bridge a gap between what was achieved there and trying to bring in a a more dramatic personal narrative to it. Soderbergh’s SOLARIS is a very good example of that, and I’d almost say that it bridges that gap much closer than what was done here.

    Two random things I quite enjoyed that I like bringing up. John Lithgow’s character lamenting a hot dog at a Yankees game, a nice nod to the wonderful scene in 2010 with him and Roy Scheider. And Hans Zimmer’s reference to the music of 2001 itself, the sustained organ chord of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” a consistent theme throughout his brilliant score. I’ve listened to it a few times now and it really doesn’t sound anything like his previous collaborations with Nolan. It sounds much more like his work on THE THIN RED LINE, with the added dimension of the church organ huffing and puffing away.

  3. It was okay. Nolan’s super serious, uberliteral style makes his plot holes more glaring than in normal movies, but I can forgive all that for some cool space adventuring. It just kind of bums me that that space (you know, that near infinitely large and mysterious and dangerous void we’re all floating in) just doesn’t seem to be enough of a hook for audiences anymore. In both this and GRAVITY, two movies that should have been about the merciless nuts and bolts of human space travel, thought they needed to get people interested by making them about recent Oscar winners getting weepy about their daughters. I don’t need to relate to astronauts on a human level. They’re not normal folks like you and me. They’re fucking astronauts. They go into space with only science between them and instant death. Leave love back home where it belongs and do your fuckkng jobs.

    Anyway, it was alright, but probably my least favorite non-Bat Nolan movie, and not as good as even RISES, which I’ve grown to sort of really dig. (Remind me to do a MAJESTYK MAKES AMENDS about my evolving feelings towards the Nolan Batmen.) There was a lot of good stuf, but it was just too water-brained to really invest in.

    I liked the frozen clouds, though. Reminded me of that Herzog movie where he repurposed underwater footage of a glacier as an alien planet with a frozen sky.

  4. SPOILER

    This movie basically ends with Cooper zooming off into STAR WARS – he’s hopping into an X-Wing with his trusty R2 unit to go explore the galaxy. Nolan wants to have it every way… is it bad that we’re neglecting NASA today because in the future we won’t have as many options to deal with global warming? Or is it bad because it means we’ll never get to be Luke Skywalker? It makes me wonder if he doesn’t trust his audience to be jazzed about countering the effects of blobal warming OR if the STAR WARS part is what he’s actually interested in but he felt like he needed 150 minutes of movie to justify getting there.

    I enjoyed the film though. I really only wanted 3 things from it, and I got all of them and then some: getting to see awkward model spaceship docking scenes in 70mm, a nice and juicy Matt Damon performance (my favorite character in the film – I keep thinking about some of his line deliveries and how much I enjoyed them), and a GUNBUSTER-style ending involving relativity. It’s pure pofaced/hamfisted corn in the way that only Nolan does, but I enjoy that stuff especially when he applies his trademark level of intensity and gravity. And as a nice surprise there were wisecracking robots that were clearly just big shitty props being manipulated by offscreen crew guys. And a cool churchy score that as you say reminds one of KOYAANISQATSI and a little bit of AKIRA. So it’s got a ton of things I like.

    I appreciated the relative lack of bombast (relative compared to INCEPTION or THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). The action is always appropriate, no ill-fitting gun battles or excessive contrivances. There’s an interesting tension between Nolan’s desire to inculcate wonder and awe and his ingrained filmmaking instinct to always keep moving – he doesn’t really trust audiences enough to leave them alone with their own thoughts, so he can only hold a quiet and beautiful shot of outer space for so long before he anticipates the crowd’s antsiness and cuts away. I appreciated how thoroughly he constructed the film around the throughline of Murph and Cooper’s relationship, even if that created some problems of its own. There were some resonant moments that really landed for me. It’s a mixed bag overall and clearly not as good as if Spielberg would’ve made it, but I’m glad to have it out there.

  5. Majestyk – Yeah but ALL IS LOST left the sentiment at home and no one went to see it (and to be honest it was an ‘all process’ movie that was a little boring). So maybe GRAVITY & INTERSTELLAR had the right assumption. I never really got that line on GRAVITY. Are human connections fat that need to be trimmed? Would DIE HARD have been better without John worrying about Holly and Mr. Takagi? Getting out of a high tech skyscraper infested with terrorists is enough of a hook!

  6. I’m gonna say it: I thought this was straight up terrible, an absolutely embarrassing flailing of someone who’s been told they’re a genius to try and say something deep without really having the imagination to back it up. Yes, it looks pretty a few times but not really in any way we haven’t seen in other films which aren’t such self-important ponderous bores. It’s a narrative disaster, a mess of half-sketched out characters with embarrassing one-note motivations or simply no motivation at all except what the plot requires for there to be drama. It’s just so tortuously scripted, so desperate to be big and sweeping and emotional and be EPIC with all caps that it tangles itself up and never even remotely accomplishes any of those goals. Not a fucking second of this thing rings true on an emotional level, despite all the best efforts of the ridiculously talented cast. And of course it doesn’t, because none of these plot points thinly disguised as characters have enough actual development for any of this to mean anything that Nolan doesn’t explicitly tell us it means. And that’s even before we talk about the profoundly idiotic 5-dimensional “twist” which is frankly too shameless to even require addressing.

    And I’ll say again, for the record: Anne Hathaway’s rambling monologue about how love transcends dimensions may be the single most embarrassing thing Ive ever heard an actor in a major movie attempt to make work.

    To sum up: this is a movie so desperately fearful you won’t take it seriously that it’s willing to do something as hilariously cumbersome as NAME one of its female characters “Murphy’s Law”, just so that there won’t ever be a single second of the movie where you’re not achingly aware of how THEMES ARE THERE.

    Jesus. I mean, this one is about THE VILLAGE level of talent disappearing up its own ass as far as I’m concerned.

  7. That was some cool, refreshing Haterade, Mr. S. Nicely done.

  8. And I’ll say again, for the record: Anne Hathaway’s rambling monologue about how love transcends dimensions may be the single most embarrassing thing Ive ever heard an actor in a major movie attempt to make work.

    Yeah that might be the single worst piece of writing in Nolan’s career, and I don’t believe I’m being melodramatic. I couldn’t have cringed harder, and I even felt bad for Hathaway (who I’m no special fan of) having to try and sell it.

  9. Yeah, somewhere in the middle of that monologue, I felt the distinct sensation of a cap being put on how good the movie could be. It had A potential up to that point, but as soon as that crap about love being the only thing that transcends space and time (not neutrinos?) came out of her mouth, it could only top out at a B-.

  10. I also don’t really believe Nolan believes that. He’s your classic cold fish, a Kubrikian puzzle maker more interested in the precision of the telling than the human cost of the tale. Soppy humanism just doesn’t sit well on him.

  11. The opening scenes also reminded me of Signs because the music was ripped off of Signs.

  12. I find the range of opinions on this movie fascinating. Personally I think it’s Nolan’s best movie (except for arguably The Prestige), way better than Inception, but I have to also acknowledge that as a space and science geek, it’s almost custom-designed for me, and I get how people not into astrophysics might not dig it as much.

    I really disagree about the lack of spectacle though. I was floored from the opening chase through the cornfield, through all the cool space stuff, and I appreciated that the planets themselves were very realistically stripped down and not exotic. Look at any footage from our probe landers, and you realize that that’s what most planet surfaces look like.

    The thing is, the movie really loses a lot if you’re not seeing it in 70mm Imax, something about the way it opens up vertically is just visually overpowering, like a roller-coaster ride, and watching it on even an ordinary theater screen, it loses a lot of that visceral rush.

  13. I also think people are really mis-understanding the ending, and not realizing that the love thing is just a metaphor for gravity, a physical phenomena that in this case is used as a method of communication (which is fairly plausible given the rules setup in the movie). People think it’s saying some bullshit “love conquers all” crap, when that’s not what’s actually going on. The movie stays committed to the hard sci-fi tone throughout in my opinion.

  14. He’s your classic cold fish, a Kubrikian puzzle maker more interested in the precision of the telling than the human cost of the tale.

    I believe he once was, but these days he’s more interested in convincing people that he’s a Kubrickian puzzle-maker than he actually is in being one IMHO.

    Nolan is a superb craftsman with an excellent production team and a laudable style (for some kinds of things). He’s even good with actors, plus for whatever reason he can apparently summon all the world’s best actors for any role he wants at any time.

    But when people started comparing him to Kubrick, they ruined him. Because now he thinks he needs to BE Kubrick, instead of a talented entertainer making fun little twisty thrillers. And he just not does have anywhere near the IMAGINATION of Kubrick.

    “There are no two words more harmful in the English language than ‘good job.” says J. Jonah Jameson in WHIPLASH. Well, if there are, they’ve got to be “you’re a genius.” No three words ever poisoned a career quite as much as that. Once people start throwing those words around, you’re finished: if you just make fun, entertaining and well-made art they’ll be forever disappointed. But if you were going to make huge, epic, culture-defining works of art, you would have done it already. This is the hell that poor Nolan finds himself in.

  15. “The movie stays committed to the hard sci-fi tone throughout in my opinion.”
    SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
    Matthew McConaughey falls into a black hole and lives and goes back out again. And it was because people from future chose him(self?) and made him do it to save the human race except they didn’t want him to go back in time and change anything except they’re in the future and time is meanginless to them anyway so he just had to re-do the same stuff to make the movie make sense. No. Not buying it. That’s idiotic. The stuff about relativity was relatively cool* but that’s really the only science hook in this whole thing. And I don’t see why its a good thing that ” the planets themselves were very realistically stripped down and not exotic.” Yep, thank god they didn’t put any imaginative, crazy visuals into this 3 hour sci fi epic.

    *ha

  16. I didn’t hate it as much as Mr. S, but yeah, it’s pretty bad. I’d actually call it Nolan’s Lady in the Water instead of The Village, since no matter what you say about The Village’s story or twist (I loved it, I can see why people would hate it), the filmatism, music, and acting in that one is pretty high. There’s nothing really redeeming in Lady in the Water except a strong lead performance, which is about all Interstellar has going for it. (Oh and they both have a beyond-corny story with a built-in “you don’t GET IT, man!” defense built in)

    It’s Prometheus-level incompetence on a story-telling and character development level, and even worse, there’s no spectacle to be had! People all over the web have been hating on Nolan/TDK Trilogy recently, trendily spouting that Nolan made comic book movies that were “embarrassed by the source material”. And I hate to say it, but after years of defending him, I finally get it. He seems so uninterested in giving us anything resembling adventure or excitement, that the big rocket launch we waited the first hour for just looks like it used stock footage from the 60s. He BARELY shows us the ships actually flying, just going back to that EXACT SAME ANGLE of the camera mounted to the wing or whatever, aka the most unexciting angle possible. (When we finally saw a ship in full, landing on the water planet, I almost couldn’t believe he was gracing us with something so pulpy). I know people hated when the last Godzilla movie cut away from the first big monster fight right when it started, like an Andy Kaufman-esque joke. I personally thought it was hilarious, but now I know what they feel like. This is a film where the future consists of what appears to be the same “small town” set from Thor, and doesn’t even bother to show us the layout (or even the outside!) of a giant space station, but just re-uses the exact same farm set from earlier! I’m all for looking cheap and lo-fi if you’re Shane Carruth, but this movie costs $175 million and IMAX tickets go for $15, sorry, I’m not going to stand for it.

    Granted, there’s a few cool shots sprinkled in this (3 hour) movie, but let’s be honest: Tron Legacy and Oblivion actually had a higher ratio of jaw-dropping images than this, and people seem to be ok calling Joseph Kosinski an idiot while singing Nolan’s praises. Again, I wouldn’t care about any of this if the film worked on a storytelling/character level, but every single thing reads false. *SPOILER* Hathaway’s speech. The guy sitting around for 26 years and not seeming to give a shit. Damon turning into the poor man’s Michael Biehn from The Abyss. Affleck turning into a bad guy I guess. The entire son character in general. Chastain holding a grudge against Cooper for like 30 years. The eventual reunion between her and Cooper that we WAITED THE WHOLE MOVIE FOR, ends up being so brief and anticlimactic I almost started laughing. I would say it’s like Nolan giving us the finger but i doubt he has that much of a sense of humor. Speaking of which – Caine reading the most overused poem in history like 5 times. Man, maybe I do hate this movie as much as Mr. S.

  17. Well I loved this movie, but maybe I’m just being a Nolan mark? Entirely possible. Time will tell. But for now I thought it was the dopeness.

    On the whole IMAX film vs digital thing, I was pretty disappointed to find out that the one legit IMAX theater in my town, which I saw The Dark Knight, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises in previously, had recently swapped out their film projectors for whatever new digital thing they are doing. So lame. Of course the movie still looked great and the screen is still over 60 feet tall, but still, like, you know, film, man. Amiright?

    Anyway, great review, definitely enjoyed the read.

  18. Good review, good discussion, good but questionable movie.

    For now I’d just like to say, if you laughed at Aronofsky’s THE FOUNTAIN and you like INTERSTELLAR, then fuck you, jack.

    And if you shat on the rock monster angels in NOAH but give TARSbot a pass, then fuck you again.

  19. Man, it feels good not to be the resident hater this time. I don’t disagree with anything you guys are saying, but I just don’t feel strongly enough about it to care. That’s a good feeling.

  20. The scene where Coop watched some video tapes that were a little late in arriving absolutely slayed me to my core. I am actually struggling to type because that sequence affected more than anything else in cinema has for years. I don’t have a daughter but I have a son exactly the same age, and to think of going through that really made me evaluate what is valuable to me. I don’t care about the plot holes or the problems with the scientific theory. That scene alone meant more to me thematically and conceptually than ten dozen other films ever could. Any suggestions that Nolan is cold or emotionless after seeing that are frankly moot in my humble opinion. I would honestly go to the end of the universe to save my boy, but if it meant I lost him, could I really do it?

  21. Is it weird that I think Jessica Chastain is a subpar, occasionally often horrible actress, yet I think her best performance resides in a movie I despise with the void-sucking, time-transcending darkness of a trillion 5th dimensions?

  22. I also saw this on a weekday matinee session in it’s opening week, but there were like maybe a dozen people in the theatre. Which really suited me cause I nodded off for about an hour and I always worry that I might start snoring and embarass myself. Or accidentally fart. Or wake up with a line of drool between my mouth and the armrest. I fuckin hate when that happens.

    Yeah, this bored the shit out of me. I find sci-fi in general pretty uninteresting, unless Bruce Willis is driving a taxi through 23rd century New York and chasing redheads. Or if Tom is standing on the edge of tomorrow blasting aliens to oblivion. Interstellar was not great enough to really comment on, or bad enough to hate. More like a black-hole, just void.

  23. Paul Whose Computer Is No Longer Fried

    November 21st, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Yeah… I think I’m skipping this. Which may be a pity because honestly what Dirk’s said has struck a chord with me. I had a similar moment in INCEPTION when Leo finally lets go of his wife, which I found to be very moving. And Dirk’s the one regular here who I probably agree with more than anybody else.

    But all of that said, I’m really, really not up for another three-hour film, especially one that’s gathered some of the criticisms that I’ve read, both here and elsewhere. The things that Mr S highlight sound like the kind of things that would really bother me. Nolan’s one of those filmmakers where I absolutely love his good work, but the rest just does nothing for me. I will catch it on DVD most likely in a few months’ time.

    Neal – I also really liked THE VILLAGE. To me it’s easily Shyamalan’s third-best movie after THE SIXTH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE (yeah, put me on the “SIGNS was tripe” bandwagon), with only two problems. Unfortunately they’re massive ones: the scoring (scenes that are clearly meant to be humorous are scored with ponderous solemnity, and vice versa, so that the tone of the movie completely gets lost) and the dialogue (who even speaks like that?) Honestly I think that if it hadn’t been for these two things, people would much more readily have accepted the premise and the “twist” and everything else.

  24. Paul (whose computer is no longer kentucky fried chicken) – I would put UNBREAKABLE as no.1, SIGNS as no.2, SIXTH SENSE no.3 and THE VILLAGE on the 4th of July bonfire. This was Shymalan’s Interstellar, where, to paraphrase Mr Subtlety, he disappeared up the anus of his own perceived genius as Mr Twist. It was all a bit self-conscious/satisfied/important/pleasuring. I honestly found LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING much more interesting, as fucking ridiculous as they both are, because at least Shyamalan was trying for the fantastical (LADY), and the nature-turning-on-us thriller (HAPPENING).

  25. Mouth’s Nolanography, ranked :

    1. THE PRESTIGE (the sun amidst Nolan’s several candles)

    2. MEMENTO (but don’t watch it more than thrice)

    3. THE PRESTIGE when you watch it again with a friend who hasn’t seen it

    4. THE DARK KNIGHT (but only watch the Joker scenes more than thrice)

    5. Holy shit have you seen THE PRESTIGE yet?

    6. INSOMNIA

    7. INTERCEPTION

    8. INSTELLAR

    9. FOLLOWING

    10. BATMAN BEGINS

    11. THE ROBIN RISES

  26. I loved Interstellar. The water planet scene may be my favourite scene from anything this year, particularly the way Zimmer’s score becomes a ticking clock as McConaughey realises the landscape in the distance might be cause for concern, as well as showing us that TARS is capable of more than being a walking vending machine.

    The love monologue wasn’t a dealbreaker for me at all, especially since Cooper’s reaction is essentially, “yeah, fuck that. We’ll go to the other planet, the one without loverboy on it.”

    Worth noting, as has been pointed out before, the pen through the paper analogy for the wormhole is identical to the scene in Event Horizon where Sam Neill does it with a porno mag. Not a lot of categories where Paul W Anderson can rub shoulders with Kubrick, but Interstellar’s influences is one.

  27. dirkd13: Man, that scene. I had tears rolling. Great work.

  28. 1. INCEPTION

    2. OTHER STUFF

  29. I tried to put like 30 lines between 1. and 2. but the sight wisely vetoed my lame formatting joke.

  30. But what if the sight realized that the distance between your #1 and your #2 was explained by LOVE, and thus there is no space

    and other stoner-Nolan-scientific ramblings

  31. Mouth comment

    Mr. Majestyk comment

  32. But the sight wisely vetoed my lame formatting joke.

  33. Well I guess it’s finally time for me to throw in my two cents, long story short, good but not great, it’s got some flaws but the fact that it’s so insanely ambitious in a time when Hollywood is degrading into nothing but reheated leftovers completely devoid of imagination and creativity is worthy of praise, even if it falls short of it’s ambitions.

    Short story long the biggest problem I have with the movie is it feels overstuffed, it feels like two or three movies rolled into one, despite a bladder busting near three hour running time very few scenes are given room to breath, the movie jumps from scene to scene at sometimes a so rapid-fire pace it’s hard to keep up with what exactly is going on, at times it feels like a movie that worked better in script form, where all the dialogue is crystal clear due to being the written word and you can take breaks while reading, than in filmed form, because of this I can’t help but wish it stayed a Steven Spielberg joint as it originally was (fun fact: I’ve been waiting 8 years for this movie ever since I first read about it on imdb) because as much as I do like Nolan a lot, he’s no Spielberg and I can’t help but feel that Spielberg would have been able to shape it into a tighter, more coherent, more overall entertaining movie, plus it would have been just plain cool to see Spielberg tackle an astronauts in space movie.

    However all that aside the emotions in this movie really got to me, there were several scenes in which I cried quite a bit (and it’s pretty friggin’ rare that a movie makes me cry), in fairness I’ve been going through some shit in my life recently, nothing too major but it has made me a little emotionally raw and INTERSTELLAR’s message of hope that science will prevail was very inspiring to me, this movie is basically to science lovers what THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST is to Christians, it has an almost mythical or Religious awe at the idea of space travel, we live in very cynical, fearful times where hope about the future seems to die away a little more every day and this movie’s message that even if things get bad for a while, we will prevail, I love that, I love the warm, idyllic space station at the end of the movie where the struggles of tomorrow became just another history lesson instead of the end of human history, I think it’s both an important message and I love that the movie has the gall to have such an optimistic message in the modern day.

    INCEPTION proves that Nolan can make a complicated movie that is nevertheless focused and easily understandable, so here’s hoping he manages to completely knock it out of the park next time.

    @Dikembe Mutombo – I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of GUNBUSTER while watching this.

  34. By the way, the optimistic tone of the movie also made it seem like something out of the 90’s, growing up as a kid in the 90’s I remember how, to quote Bill Nye, science ruled, science could (fictionally) resurrect the dinosaurs, science could take a little RC car to Mars, science could clone a sheep, there was pretty much no telling what sort of wonders awaited us in the new millennium that was just around the corner.

    Sure, there were Religious weirdos who thought the year 2000 meant the end of the world, there were conspiracy nuts worried about Y2K or Clinton enacting the New World Order, but there was also a deep strain of optimism in 90’s culture that died off in the post 9/11 world, I miss it dearly and INTERSTELLAR felt like a throwback to that attitude.

  35. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the score is really, really fucking good, probably the best I’ve heard in a movie for all of the 2010s so far, in fact just the score itself can make me tear up, so hopeful and yet sad at the same time, it makes you feel the weight of what humanity has been through and yet inspire you with what we can accomplish.

  36. INCEPTION and MEMENTO are pretty much some of my favorites. I do think the narrative of MEMENTO is more extraordinary and memorable than INCEPTIONs. And every other movie since…

  37. this movie was OK… yet no specticle… music out of place… too much earth… hope for better next time…

  38. Vern: Nolan is a huge fan of Koyaanisqatsi (he cited it as one of his ten favorite Criterion Collection DVDs), and it’s influence is everywhere in Interstellar–I suspect it was heavily temp-tracked with Philip Glass’ famous score. (Zimmer’s organ is right straight out of the opening credits of Koyaanisqatsi and the “Prophecies” finale.)

  39. I actually felt the (admittedly excellent) church organ-esque score reminded me more of Ennio Morricone’s score to Mission to Mars. A movie that’s not very good, but I’d totally watch it again before this one. There’s more playfulness, energy, and good ole fashioned “gee whiz how did they do that?” wonder in the “Van Halen” sequence than there is in all of Interstellar, and I’m not kidding.

    Am I the one who actually feels this was a little anti-science? I mean, the minute Anne Hathaway gives her infamous speech (which I thought was bad not so much based on what she was saying, but on the fact that it seemed jarringly out of character and was about another character I had literally never heard of until Cooper blurts out “she’s in love with him!” and i was like, “Who?”) – the audience knows her planet will be the right one and the Damon planet will be the wrong one. The movie LITERALLY argues that even if all scientific evidence in the world points to one thing, please disregard all that jibber-jabber and believe the rantings of someone who is in love because, what? Oh yeah, love is quantifiable and overrides shit like facts. As someone who has done plenty of dumb shit because I thought I was in love with awful people, and have watched plenty a friend (guy and girl) do the same, this is a pretty terrible message to send to people.

  40. It seems a bit odd to me that a supposedly pro-science “space exploration will save us” kind of movie features a plan that relies entirely upon the repeated intervention of mysterious fifth dimensional benefactors for even the remotest chance of success. Rather than “YAY SCIENCE!” I came away thinking, shit, we are absolutely royally fucked unless we first evolve into beings unbound by time. Our space ships are useless toys otherwise. Unless we can power them with love, I suppose.

    But anyway, I’m with Mr Subtlety and co: what a mess! I love epic , philosophical, mindblowing-majesty-of-space kind of movies. I love “Tom-Cruise-saves-the-universe” Flash Gordon type shit, too. But apparently I don’t love them both at the same time, in a movie that you can choose to view either as a boring and pretentious space adventure, or a loud and dumb parody of 2001.

    I guess the bit where we see Coop driving away from the farm and then BOOM we’re in space is an homage to the famous bone/satellite cut in 2001. Okay, fair enough. But did Kubrick keep cutting back to show us what the apes were up to? Hell no! We’re in space now! We went through a goddamn wormhole! Why the hell am I looking at Casey Affleck’s fucking corn? None of the Earth stuff post-Coop’s launch into space needs to be in the movie at all.

    Shyamalan (without the laughs) is the right comparison here, sad to say.

  41. neal2zod:

    ” The movie LITERALLY argues that even if all scientific evidence in the world points to one thing, please disregard all that jibber-jabber and believe the rantings of someone who is in love because, what? Oh yeah, love is quantifiable and overrides shit like facts.”

    But she also has a scientific justification for why she wants to go to that planet: it’s farther from the black hole and will have a richer history of probability and more chance to not be a one-note planet like iceland or waterworld. So I’m not sure if your comment is justified.

    I dunno guys, it’s not like any of the film’s critical plot machinations relied on the Love Element. The character IN THE FILM rolls his eyes at the love speech, just like Hatheway rolls her eyes at her dad’s umpteenth “do not go quietly”. It’s the first Nolan film to take the piss out of its own pompousness. Ignore the love hypothesis as one guy’s opinion, and take your pick from the other possibilities the film provides: was this a 5D machine created by future humans, or benevolent aliens, and put inside a black hole, was it even actually a black hole or just some crazy feat of future engineering that looks to our primitive eyes like a black hole, etc etc.

    And meanwhile, it has the scene where the guy is freaking out about floating around in a soda can in the void, Cooper he gives him the headphones with nature sounds. That scene absolutely slayed me and was the moment I realized that I was going to love the film no matter how much silly shit went down. That was for me a totally unexpected Shit Just Got Real moment, the moment when you realize holy fuck, look at this adventure we’re on right now and how awesome it is.

    Between that and the scene where he gets the communications backlog from his grown up kids, I’m rather appalled that you guys are accusing the movie of not working at all emotionally. Yes, I think there’s some buffoonery in some places, but there is also some extremely strong material. It’s also a movie where an action sequence with mountainous tidal waves can cause a character floating in a spaceship nearby to age 26 years. It’s not ever movie that exists in a space where that sort of shit can go down.

  42. But there were equally promising scientific reasons to choose Man’s planet, too. Hathaway’s characters was proposing that love should be the deciding factor. And the movie seems to agree: she did choose the right planet, and Coop seemed pretty convinced that love was the secret, and his plan worked, too. So if the movie isn’t an endorsement of love as a fundamental force in the physical universe then it has a funny way of showing it.

  43. Yeah, I’m going to go with “pretty damn good” actually. There are flaws, definitely. But complaints that there’s too much family drama? That’s crazy–the Coop/Murph relationship is the emotional throughline of the entire movie, it works, and, yeah, you need something like that. Kubrick can get away with it because he’s Kubrick, and besides, 2001 is a film more admired than loved. (No one ever accused Peter Hyams of raping their childhoods.)

    There’s some bullshit. I cringe at Dylan Thomas, the time paradox is annoying, and what bothered me the most is that we’re still driving the same exact cars in fifty years. But doesn’t a movie get some credit for good visuals, acting, scoring, and ambitious (if not 100% successful) writing? No one else has made a movie like this in a while. (I bet Alfonso Cuaron is kicking himself for not dreaming a little bigger.) It might just be that I’m a thirsty man in a sci-fi desert but I liked this movie a lot.

  44. I thought it was really good, but because it’s such a task(I don’t mean chore) to watch it, I don’t really see myself purchasing it on home video like I have with a lot of Nolan’s work. I don’t know what Vern means about us getting more explaining this movie than in CHILDREN OF MEN, because there’s a lot of stuff in the back story to this world we have to infer from stray comments made like
    -how there used to be six billion people in the world
    -how NASA was asked to drop bombs on the American people
    -how when Coop was a kid people were fighting over food
    -the stuff about the moon landings

    I mean, they don’t even give us an actual YEAR this movie takes place in.

    I did think it was sort of tragically hilarious how much Cooper favours his daughter over his first born son though, down to him even asking only about HER when he wakes up at the end. And the son’s whole keeping his family prisoner subplot never really got resolved. Murphy just hugs him after setting fire to his crops and it cuts to her back at NASA.

  45. “-how NASA was asked to drop bombs on the American people”

    I thought it was drop bombs on people in the third world? presumably people were marching en masse from south of the border to retrieve whatever food they could get their hands on and that’s why the Government wanted to bomb them as a way to save resources for America, that’s how I interpreted it anyway.

  46. Hmm.. dunno. I thought it was really good. Maybe cause I didn’t see it in IMAX?

    I liked the water planet.

  47. “there were equally promising scientific reasons to choose Man’s planet, too”

    Such as? I thought the only reason they chose it is because it was closer.

    I think the movie tries to use the concept of love as a poetic device, trying to underscore the events with a humanistic element. It doesn’t actually impact the action of the film. There’s no event that only works if love is an actual physics phenomenon.

  48. Mann’s planet sounded more promising because he was lying about it in hopes that he would get rescued. Also, he was still broadcasting his data, while Edmunds had stopped years ago, so there was no way of knowing if his planet was still stable or if something unforeseen had killed him (which it had, apparently). As presented in the movie, the only reason to choose Hathaway’s planet was that she wanted to see her boyfriend. It was, to use a technical term, some bullshit.

    And I’m not saying none of the emotional stuff worked. Some of it was okay, as far as these things go. I just resented it taking up so much time and apparently being the thing that saves the human race. That’s just not where my head is at when I see a space movie. My favorite sci-fi story is the one where a spaceship pilot needs to jettison a little girl stowaway because her weight threw off the calculations of his flight plan and would kill them all if he didn’t get rid of her. Space ain’t got no time for your feelings.

  49. “As presented in the movie, the only reason to choose Hathaway’s planet was that she wanted to see her boyfriend. It was, to use a technical term, some bullshit.”

    But she does give another reason. Black holes sucks up all the meteors, less collisions = less chance for the planet to evolve into something worthwhile.
    Edmund’s planet was farther from the hole, and therefore has a better chance of not sucking. When she gets to the planet and it’s legit, THIS is the theory it confirmed for me. To focus exclusively on the love theory is yall’s choice, the film didn’t force you to do it.

  50. Also:
    “Mann’s planet sounded more promising because he was lying about it in hopes that he would get rescued. Also, he was still broadcasting his data”

    It can only be the fact that he was still broadcasting the data, because the data consists of a single binary digit (1 = come, 0 = don’t). He had no ability to convey any details about the planet until they arrived.

  51. As Majestyk says, they were still receiving current and positive transmissions from Dr Mann, a highly regarded scientist and leader of the mission. Which was the whole point of the mission, to follow up on the signals from the advance team. They had no such information about the other planet. Hathaway may introduce some arguments for the other planet, but if you are going to choose the planet based on proximity to the black hole, why send Dr Mann’s team out in the first place? Her theories are unverified by the first mission, and furthermore highly suspect given her subsequent admission of ulterior motives.

    Why put this speech in the movie at all if it is nothing to do with anything? It seems pretty obvious to me that the point of this scene is at the very least that sometimes you have to follow your heart, not your head.

    But the movie then doubles down on this idea that love is a force that can transcend time when Coop is in the black hole, where – at least according to him – love is the reason he is able to follow Murph through the fifth dimensional realm. His emotional connection is the reason why his presence in the black hole is essential to the fifth dimensional beings’ plan, and the reason why they couldn’t communicate the information back in time themselves.

    You could argue that this is just Coop’s interpretation of events, but it is backed up by Hathaway’s story, and fits with the movie’s general approach of explaining everything verbally in great detail.

    I personally don’t have an issue with love being the fifth element or whatever, although it sort of scuppers the movie’s heavily hyped scientific credentials, and worse than that, it’s handled very clumsily, as neal2zod points out. It just comes out of nowhere.

  52. I thought it was pretty good, at times very good, but but not the truly “great” thing I was hoping for out of a top secret Christopher Nolan project.

    Here’s a quick and easy thing to call out as being very good: the performances by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. They make it look pretty easy, but it’s really not easy to summon tears and heartbreak like that when you’re PRETENDING to watch a video message from another actor who’s PRETENDING to be your daughter/father. For that reason alone, people who are calling this movie “terrible” are full of shit.

    Also, I guess the basic engine of the movie resonated with me more than the other folks around here. When all is said and done, this movie is about the cold, unforgiving nature of time. There’s not enough of it. Our kids grow up too fast. When I’m stuck at the office on a Sunday afternoon, it hurts me to think of my three young kids off doing something I could/should be doing with them. So for me, when McCoughnahey learns that his two kids have just aged 23 years in the blink of an eye, that’s not just a nightmare, it’s a familiar, funhouse-mirror reflection of something I feel quite often about my own kids (I think all parents do). It just hit home for me personally in a pretty heavy way, and it may sound lame but maybe you have to be a parent to get drawn into the main event of this movie.

    But even though there’s a lot of great stuff in this movie, I agree there are some flaws. Hard to believe you could communicate the “solution to gravity” via morse code through the twitches of a wristwatch. And, Vern’s right, I cracked up when they explained the relativity of time to Cooper with a little sketch drawing 2 years into the voyage. Also, the movie could have been 30 minutes shorter.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Good movie, arguably very good. The people who are calling it terrible aren’t really giving it a fair shake. You go make a better movie Mr. Funny Sunglasses.

  53. Here’s a quick and easy thing to call out as being very good: the performances by Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway… For that reason alone, people who are calling this movie “terrible” are full of shit.

    You mean it’s not possible to have good performances in a bad movie?

    it may sound lame but maybe you have to be a parent to get drawn into the main event of this movie

    I’m a parent, and I watched it with two other parents. The scene where Coop watches 23 years of video messages had some power, no doubt, but nowhere near enough to sell us on the whole movie. And my suspicion is that most of the power in that scene came from the idea rather than the execution. It felt really rushed – he watched 23 years of messages in 2-3 minutes, most of them from the underdeveloped (and probably unnecessary) son character that he left behind without much of a second thought. The punchline to the scene is becomes the message from Jessica Chastain, which, because it was her first, would have had the same impact whether he had lived those 23 years in a few hours or in real time. Also, if the movie is really about that father/daughter relationship over time, then they really flubbed that reunion scene with Murph at the end. “Hey what’s up, good to see you, alright, bye.” Plus, you shouldn’t have to be a parent to get this – the movie should communicate this idea adequately to non-parents, too.

  54. The problem with that scene is that it’s hard to feel sympathy for Murph. You hold a grudge against your dad for 30 years, leaving him out there thinking his daughter hates him, all the while knowing full well he’s out there trying to save the human race, and I’m supposed to see you as anything but a petulant child? Get over yourself, lady. It’s not about you.

    Also I spent most of the scene trying to figure out how we’re supposed to believe Murph and Coop are the same age when she’s clearly at least ten years younger.

  55. Ha, yeah, that casting didn’t help. Plus it was very distracting every time they introduced another big name actor. You’re just getting into that scene and then it’s “ooh, look, Casey Affleck!” It didn’t help that almost all the actors had big dramatic reveals: Hathaway, Caine, Affleck, Chastain, Damon. Michael Caine might as well have twirled around in a chair with a cat in his lap.

  56. By the way, am I wrong or didn’t Coop mention that there are rogue World War 3 era TARS-like robots wandering around still terminating anybody with extreme prejudice? That’s a pretty interesting world building detail.

    And I like that World War 3 was a thing in the future world of INTERSTELLAR because in today’s political climate that seems all too plausible.

  57. The love the analog look of this film. Spaceship models will always look better than CG spaceships, and green screen looks like shit 99% of the time.

    The two best things about this movie: Awesome robots and Hans Zimmer being brilliant yet again. This was his best score since ANGELS AND DEMONS.

  58. “and green screen looks like shit 99% of the time”

    Actually these days they are 99% of the time completely invisible. If I would get a Euro every time I see a making of and learn that something was actually shot in front of a green screen, even on normal TV shows (apparently MONK and UGLY BETTY were big special effect shows, according to an effect reel that I will post here as soon as I can find it), I would be able to film a 1:1 Interstellar remake on my own! This ain’t the 80s anymore, where every blue screen shot had think black lines around the actors.

  59. I work with green screen at least every week or so, and it still looks like shit to me, no matter who does it or how they approach it. I guess most folks don’t notice, but it still annoys me. It’s not so much the superimposition clashing with the edges of the foreground. That can be avoided. It’s the uneven lighting and focal discrepancies that catch my eye every time.

    A green screen shot always stands out like a gaudy coloured beacon when shown right before or after any shot with a real background.

  60. SPOILERS AHOY THERE!

    I just find every one of these characters to be so ridiculously one-dimensional that the idea of ever actually being emotionally invested never even enters into it. Every character has exactly one motivation that they relentlessly harp on and explicitly explain over and over and over, but it’s nothing that seems to arise naturally from their character or situation, it’s just the thing that Nolan needs them to do for there to be drama. I kinda thought this about Nolan’s BATDACTED films but here it’s just so painfully glaring there’s no way to not see it: outside of action scenes, Nolan is utterly unable to SHOW a story instead of TELL it. None of this drama comes from anywhere except for the actors announcing they feel this way. If they didn’t say it, you’d have no fucking idea why everyone was crying all the time because in a vacuum their emotions are so childish and ridiculous compared to the current situation.

    Plus, the fucking whining. Everyone in this movie is whining all the time. When he’s on Earth, Coop can’t fucking stop whining about how he never got to go to space. As soon as he’s in space, he’s whining that this is taking too long and he wants to go home. Murph has exactly one emotion in the movie, and it’s petulantly whining that daddy left to save humanity FOR THE NEXT 30+ YEARS UNTIL SHE REALIZED HE WAS GHOST DAD AT THE BEGINNING (which actually doesn’t even make sense because shouldn’t she be MORE mad at him now that she knows he actually had a five-dimension opportunity to change things and didn’t take it?). Hathaway whines they can’t take her of a booty run, one robot is always whining about the other one, Matt Damon delivers his whole role like a 6-year old who’s missed nap time. Oh, and Casey Affleck becomes a bad guy for some reason and then whines that his sister is trying to save earth, but who knows why that was because it happens off camera and all we know about him is that his dad didn’t really give a shit about him anyway. I have no way of knowing if that is intended to explain his deal or not, because the character is just too vaguely constructed and inconsequential to really draw any meaningful conclusions about.

    The only person who doesn’t constantly whine is Topher Grace, who seems as surprised to be here as we all are to see him. Is he Murph’s boyfriend or something? At first it seems like he’s just some doctor at the hospital, but then later he’s ready to beat up her brother for her, so… I don’t even really know what to make of that. Anyway, good job, Topher Grace, you manage to be less irritating than everyone else here by virtue of having even less character.

  61. I dunno, Sub. It sounds like if this was the exact same film but directed by someone other than Nolan you’d have liked it more. I didn’t see one quarter of the whining you did, but I get the way you are being with Wes Anderson movies so I can’t argue too much.

    Anyway, has anyone else been listening to the soundtrack? I really enjoy Stay so far but the whole thing seems pretty good.

  62. It’s probably Zimmer’s best work since THE THIN RED LINE. I like the pounding drums and the other signatures of his sound, but I like it even better when he goes for something more organic-sounding. There’s some electronics here and there, but that seems more standard for the space stuff than even his own forays into electronica. The pipe organ helps convey that epic scale and yet brings out more of the emotion of the story too.

    And in a way, it’s been a good companion to the new Pink Floyd album as well. Not the same kinds of music obviously, but a similar atmosphere. “Space Rock” is pretty much their invention anyway, and THE ENDLESS RIVER has lots of moments akin to that (it even features a pipe organ on one track, too). I could be off on this one but I’m going to try and get as much mileage and glee as I can by even saying there is a new Floyd album out now.

  63. Casey — I promise I’d hate it exactly the same whoever directed it; I just think only Nolan would have directed it, at least this way, from this script. I have appreciated some of his work in the past, but to me this one’s flaws are pure Nolan, and they’re the least offset by anything entertaining out of his whole filmography.

    In fairness to everyone who enjoyed this one, I’ll try to say a few nice things about it:

    1) The acting is good in places. Coop reacting to the videos of his kids is a pretty impressive display of acting, unfortunately their relationship was so gloopy and loosely defined that it did absolutely nothing for me anyway. Even Hathaway really, really tries hard on her sub-moronic love speech. I think that’s about the best job anyone could do with that, so you know, hats off to her.

    2) Some parts look pretty, though almost nothing really looks interesting or like something we haven’t seen a bunch of times before. I guess the wave planet is kinda a fun idea, worth about the 10 minutes they spend on it. The relativity stuff is a legitimately good idea, although again, it fails to really connect with me since it seems so labored.

    3) I like the robots. They’re fun and legitimately funny (IMHO one of Nolan’s few charms that people don’t seem to give enough credit to). They’re a fun design and I like the most unique and iconic thing in the movie. I don’t mind that they’re kinda obvious puppets in places, not one bit, although its hard to reckon with a movie that cost 175 mil.

    4) There are occasional bits of dialogue here and there I guess. I think the Nolanses are actually decent writers on a scene-by-scene basis when they’re trying to actually have people act like humans. But mostly there’s no time for that, mostly no one has time to say much except plot points, and at that they are hilariously dismal failures.

    5) Uh…. I think I could have liked the Zimmer score in something else. It’s pretty. With this material it feels like it’s trying way too hard to jam down our throats how EPIC AND EMOTIONAL this all is, and since I didn’t buy either of those two things for a single second, it actually kind of annoyed me while watching by pushing way too hard. But listening to bits now it sounds nice. Maybe Tarantino will use it again in something better someday.

    6) It’s nice to not be the one guy trying to defend a movie everyone else hates for once. And this one is too dull to really inspire a PROMETHEUS-level fight about it, so it seems like as good a chance as I’m likely to have to make a stand on hater hill. So in that sense, go team INTERSTELLAR!

  64. Overall it’s a very satisfying movie, even if flippant robots aren’t real.

  65. The negative opinions posted here are simply insane. What movie did they watched and mistook for Interstellar?
    And the complains about the film’s science are just… if you do not know much about science, then don’t talk about it like you know. Really, it only shows the detractors ignorance, not the movie flaws.

    To put this in perspective,the only truly scientific weird and probably inacurate thing inthe movie are the ice clouds in the ice planet, and not because ice clounds don’t exist, they do, in such planets like Neptune, which are called Ice Giants, and they have ice clouds due to their local conditions, but i find it doubtful there could be ice clouds as depicted in the movie in a planet with that characteristics, unless the movie hide a plausible circunstance for it being so.

    But other then that, everything in the movie is utterly scientific accurate, no matter how “weird” it might look like. But the universe doesn’t exist to match up what is one’s definition of “normal”, it’s we that have to keep up and understand the universe, not it come to us.

    Oh, and Mr Vern, the space travellers don’t go into a black hole, hey go to a wormhole. The movie even take care to differenciate the two. The wormhole is the thing that is orbiting Saturn and the travelers go through, the black hole is that big celestial objet that they call Gargantua and which the planets they visit orbit around and then when Cooper falls into. The two things are very different, matter of fact. Black holes we do know they exist for real and have indirect but beyond a doubt proof oftheir existence. Wormholes are speculative, there is maths that can predict their existence and how they could come to be, but they seem to be out of any practical reality as they dmand exxotic matter, which so far nobody knows how it could even exist in nature much less manufactured.

    And Cooper is rescued and put into a tesseract. They even call it by name. A tesseract is an object that eists in more then just the 3 dimentions we live in. Imagine a cube but in which it also exists in time as well as in our more commonly expenrieced 3 dimentions of lenght, width and height. A teseractic cube would be one which would also exists in the whole time it was first made, existed as a cube and then destroyed or erased, and it could experience any of those points in time at any time. But the tesseract in Insterstellar exists in 5 dimentions, the 5th being gravity, gravity turned into another dimention it can be experienced like any other. This makes possible for Cooper to experience time which for his perspective was the past and also affect gravity because as a 5th dimention is also manipulatable. The movie even hints at string theory with the way Cooper manipulates gravity through time by pulling some sort of light string as represented in the film.

    For despite the ttile of the movie,in the end the story is actually about a time travel story, in a closed time loop variety. The time loop might look paradoxal to us who live in 3 dimentions and experience time only with it moving forward into the future, the thing that scientists call the Arrow Of Time. But if you are living in a 5 dimention reality, if you are a living tesseract, as the future humans that help Cooper are, for them there is not one direction of time, time for them is as easily experiencd as just walking for a any lenght or width of your living room. Time is not experienced going forward but going in every direction. The idea of past, present and future makes no sense in such a reality. And weird as it might be, this is far clser to how the universe actually is then our idea of something which just goes in time in only one direction. We experienced it that way, but the universe is not reduced to just how we perceive it. The limitations are ours.

    For people who care about science and do like to know about astronomy and advanced astrophysics, even if we are only on an enthusiastic curious level, this movie is a boon. It goes beyond merely being accurate about newtonian physics, it goes way beyond into ensteinean physics into a level never before done in a space film.

    If an of you guys think that it’s irrealistic that an organized government could try to rewrite the past and pass something as the moon landing as a hoax, then you have not beein paying attention to what happened during the Bush administrationa nd their atempts to discourage the teachings of evolution and replace it with bible studies. How quick are people to forget.

    I just don’t understand how people can find so many excuses to enjoy dimb down movies and then when a truly intelligent movie cames, they go out of their way to find phantom flaws for them to be able to dismiss it. It’s as if people resent movies that might be smarter then them. I hope i’m wrong in this analisis, but it’s hard to not come to this conclusion, given the weird and befuddling negative opinions found on this movie. When a rare smat movie like Insterstellar is made, we should be singing it’s praises from the rooftops and be thankful it exists.

    I’m going to say, maybe part of the blame for some of the criticism of the movie is that the marketing department should had been a bit more careful to what they called the scientific accuracy of the film. Most people’s idea of scientific accuracy is limite to just the proved material stuff. In fact, this movie is accurate to both that and to speculative science. Speculative science is legit science, not to be confused with pseudo-science. Speculative science is proved science by means of mathematics and advanced statistics. All we know of black holes is mostly due to speculative sciience, which is a necssity as it’s impossible to travel to a black hole with our current level of space travel technology. But that doesn’t meean that speculative sience is lesser, it still needs to pass rigourous peer scrutiny. And Interstellar is accurate to numerous speculative science of today regarding black holes, wormholes and 4 dimentional objects. For example, the thing about that planet where time is dilated and they exxperience only hours while outside years have passed is actual science. It’s a phenonemum which is found in what is called the Ergophere of a rotating massive black hole, which is what the black hole called Gangantua in the movie is. It’s a real phenomenum, no matter how weird it might look or hard to believe. But again, s said before, the universe doesn’t eist to conform to what we like to believe or not, it’s us who have to conform to how the universe is. The sense of weirdness is only ours alone because we have limited scope in our senses. And that’s what scence is so speciall it can help us see beyond our limitations. And INTERSTELLAR is one of the few movies made which uses such advanced speculative science for drama and create a cinematic experience never seen before. How can’t this be a matter of rejoice instead of knee-jerking criticism? I’m certain this movie can’t just be enjoyable for those who happen to have both an interest in cinema, science fiction, space and science, but to a more broad audience. The theater i watched this movie was packed and people came out of it enthralled and amazed and satisfied. Again i say, we shouldbe happy as film lovers this movie even exists, instead of just finding nonsense flaws that are not there.

  66. Asmimov — I think we all know that most of the science stuff is pretty sound (sans a guy falling into a black hole and surviving and also time not dialating to essentially zero as he moves closer to the actual center) but the problem is that no one cares. Great sci-fi should be more than just a checklist of mildly trippy physics trivia we’ve all known for years. INTERSTELLAR fails on a narrative level, not on a scientific one, but that’s the only one that’s really important for a movie. I’ll take bad science in service of a good story; I won’t accept a tepid, clumsy story in service of some middling science which is pretty old hat to people who care about this sort of thing anyway.

  67. And he didn’t mention JJ Abrams or his Star Trek movies once. It’s christmas, y’all!

  68. Apparently Ice-T is on Asimov’s side, btw. He just tweeted this. (And I hope it works)

    FLTG Movie Review: 'Interstellar' Very deep… Very dope… Approved!— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) November 29, 2014

  69. I loved that movie despite its flaws.

    A lot of the criticism that is voiced here feels very unfunded to me. Calling it bland or saying its missing spectacle. I mean there are 1000s of science fiction movies about space battles and aliens and all that stuff and i can enjoy that as well as the next. But this fills a special gap because this shows space travel how i envision it for the most part of the movie. Since i am an engineer who worked years for our aerospace agency this is stuff i have thought about quite a lot. I love it that someone has the balls to make a blockbuster movie about relativity and not giant insects attacking earth. Its thrills come from trying to ground in reality.

    That said i agree there are definitly problems with it. The infamous love speech i can forgive because Coop brushs it away immediatly. For me it felt more like a last straw for her to try to convince the other two, because she knew even though there were good arguments for her planet, that the other choice was more practical and obvious. So i did felt let down when that motive returned as the solution. The whole sience part fell apart for me the moment he flew into the black hole and wasn’t ripped apart by gravity immediatly. Then i am no physicist and have no great deal of knowledge about black holes and wormholes and that stuff. Just “they” put me in some tesseract felt like movie mumbojumbo at that point.

    I liked the whole idea of the Damon Character. The thought of sitting on that ice cube and knowing if you do not press that button, no one will ever come for you is very interessting. I can see him giving in to the temptation. What i do not understand is why he tries to kill everyone instead of coming clean. I mean the crew was already one man down, so supplys were probably not the problem. If his intention were still to safe humanity while saving himself i think he should have just said : “sorry guys, i was weak. Lets get out of here.” Given that this would be embarassing it would still be his best chance of survival.

    And then the end kinda let me down too. I think there were a lot of good moments in him waking up on cooper station, reviving his robot and the initial moment he is reunited with his daughter. But that he sees her for a total of 2 minutes and then leaves again just felt stupid. I get that there was a whole lifetime for her inbetween their meetings, but for him this was probably only month or a few years. Dont they have more to say to each other? What about his son? What about her kids and the rest of his family? I even get the notion that he feels his mission i not over and he needs to get back to the woman scientist character, but how is stealing a ranger and flying there alone getting him there any sooner. Doesn’t make much sense science-wise.

  70. Mr. Subtlety, nobody cares? Speak for yourself, brother!

    The time stoping to zero thing is a bit misunderstood by the public at large, and even the scientists themselves are dividee about it. Contrary to populist science programs who treat speculative science as if there is only one idea about it and everybodty agrees and take for granted, the fact is that there is not yet a one definitive notion of what happens when one hits the event horizont, because simply because it’s impossible to see what is happening. Kip Thorn, the very scientist who is in fact the real creator of this film (and not Nolan), he disagrees with the Sparghetiffication hypothesis, for example, so they don’t show that happening in the movie.

    “Great sci-fi should be more than just a checklist of mildly trippy physics trivia we’ve all known for years.”

    No, you have not known for years, for reasons i said above. You might think you know about all those physics, but in fact ther eis more then one hypothesis about black holes and how it might happens near a black hole. To the point that the Ergophere event depicted in the movie is something that only reently could be depicted in the film because it’s a recent discovery about spinning black holes. Even very recently nobody knew that there could be such a thing as spinning black holes. And the movie also helped visualize how a black hole might actually look like if we get to be close to one. This mvoie even helded science!!

    INSTERSTELLAR has accurate science and a great story, a great story which is born from the good science. Any half-arsed movie can create a reasonably good story if you forget the inconviniences of proper realistic science. But the real talent and effort is to create a SF story that would be accurate to science. Now that’s something to admire, and this is why still to this day 2001 is so admired. But back in the day, 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY had people ike you complaining about it because it wasn’t the fun of some Buck Rogers adventure sod-the-science movie.

    Yes, there is a place for all kinds of SF, be they realsitic or fantasist, but it’s not for nothing that the better the more realists. Contrary to popular belkief, the operating word in Science Fiction is SCIENCE. It’s what differenciates. The science doesn’t need to always be psychics and astronomy, but for a space movie, yeah, being accurate on that is a boon. Yeah!

  71. atzfratz, Copper doesn’t fall into the black hole, he’s rescued by the 5 dimention future humans and put in a tesseract. The movie states that, it doesn’t necessarily goes subtle about it.

    I don’t see any flaws that people keep trying to insist the movie has. What thorns me is that people go to such extremes to justify and accept dumbness in other (dumber) movies but suddently they become super-critical for this one in particular? It borders on hypocritical. It’s offensive!

    I can understand if some thinks that this is not their kind of movie, that’s fine. But to invent imaginary “plot holes” where none such they invoke are i the movie is just dishonest. It seems that it’s “tehz fashionablez” to be critical of this movie. Nonsense! Hell, most people even use the expression “plot hole” incorrectly, as an alternative to “things i don’t like in the story”, instead of it’s correct definition of lack of narrative transition between scenes or sequences.

    In the end scene, Cooper realises that his daighter lived a whole live without him. He was only in a small part of his life. For him the last time he saw her was two years ago, but for her it was 100 years! He was man enough to accept that other people in her life have a better claim to be at her deadbed then him. It is a sacrifice, yes, but this protagonist is not some nancyboy manchild, he accepts the situation, evne if it hurts him. It’s remarkable mature of him. So how can i complain about a character showing such maturity of though and behavior? Going back to Brand make sense, she is literally the only other person from his time, not his aged daighter. This sequence reminds me of a similiar situation as depicted in the book THE FOREVER WAR, which is also another Sf story that deals with time dillation caused by einsteinean relativity for drama.

  72. CJ Holden, it’s close to christmas.

  73. AsimovLives, i agree with most of what you have said. I think it is great that they put real world obstacles in there for the heroes to overcome, because space travel sure is an adventure on its own. But the that makes the break from plausible science to “they” put me here just so much more abprubt. This is still entertaining but i wish they could have found a way to make the story work without “them”.

    Maybe the robot could have send the data to earth before being destroyed, as was the original plan. Sure that would have not been very cinematic or as emotional as the scenes you get with Cooper on the Station. I can see why they wanted that in there.

    You kind of loose me with your paragraph about time not only going in one direction. I always understood it like Brand describes it. That time is relative to where you oberserve something from, but still only moves forward. Timetravel introduces so many paradox that they stayed away from it so far as to only allowing gravity transcending time and space. Is there any theoretical basis to this or is this simply movie magic as well?

    Like i said, i loved the movie. Especially because it makes you think about stuff like that.

  74. ‘I did think it was sort of tragically hilarious how much Cooper favours his daughter over his first born son though, down to him even asking only about HER when he wakes up at the end. And the son’s whole keeping his family prisoner subplot never really got resolved. Murphy just hugs him after setting fire to his crops and it cuts to her back at NASA.”

    I was laughing about this after leaving the movie theater. The way that Cooper pretty much ignores his son, who is the one that actually sends video messages all those years, is so extreme it becomes kind of funny.

    I had some real mixed feelings about this movie. There are some really great moments throughout the film, and you could pick out a handful of ten or fifteen minute sections that are expertly executed, but as a whole I think it falls apart. I won’t rehash these, because they’ve been covered by others (the “love” speech, any time we cut back to Earth after Cooper has left, etc.)

    I also think the movie mishandles its pro-science message, but in a way that people haven’t yet touched upon. For much of the early part of the film, the movie sounds like it’s creating a strong defense of pure science, knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Cooper has that speech about how we don’t dream anymore. The entire planet is merely concerned with only surviving, which is no way to live. NASA has been shut down, in part because it seems like a waste of money. Why look at the stars when we need that money for things here on Earth. (This has obvious real world parallels). And then when the teacher suggests that Cooper’s son become a farmer, he freaks out. He wants his son to be an engineer. But I don’t see how being a farmer and being an engineer can’t overlap, since even Cooper uses his engineering skills to run his farm. If the film were really going to mount a justification for pure science, then he would have been defending his daughter’s decision to become a theoretical physicist. But they don’t, because the filmmakers know that in the real world politicians are calling for more engineers, not theoretical physicists. So they throw in a debate about farmer versus engineer. In the end, this exchange actually reinforces the attitude that science should be practical, that we shouldn’t worry about knowledge for the sake of knowledge. So even this argument about pure science is bungled by the filmmakers.

    Still, there are some wonderful moments in the movie. I liked the robots. And I thought the special effects were excellent (I don’t know what Vern was talking about). And of course the score was really affecting. I just wish that all of these elements had come together in a better film.

  75. Raskolnikov's Conscience

    November 30th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Hey Asi, still fighting the good fight I see. I loved Interstellar klike you did, my favourite of the year no contest. Just aas you I find it bizarre that some people (not the majority thankfully) are trashing it. It does seem that this is a Nolan issue, just like TDKR it is fashionable to bash him, find some phantom flaws in his films, call them a plothole and then sing praises to the new dumb as nails Marvel/Bay/JJ blockbuster which has not plotholes, but virtually no interesting plot at all to have holes in, simple good guys win over bad guys with the help of wacky quippy characters and a truckload of CGI.

    Interstellar had an interesting plot, showed the audience literally things which they have not seen before (the center of the blackhole) and more importanly did it in realistic and scientifically accurate fashion. No shitty green screen sets of CGI, pure film bliss. Add to that a very relatable emotional story and journey for the main character. I was invested in Cooper’s journey just as much as in Wayne’s or Cobb’s. I just don’t understand the “Nolan is heartless” argument. Interstellar is probably his most emotional movie yet. No wonder the likes of Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson are singing praises to it. Real filmmakers recognize quality.

    Anyway, glad to see you are alright after your surgery. I don’t visit AICN anymore so I rarely see your posts. That place became a nightmare to read, let alone have a conversation in a talkback. Please continue fighting the good fight. Unfortunately I lack the polemic skills which you often demonstrate, so I don’t often join your ranks. But yeah, Interstellar is completely awesome and reinforces my view of Nolan as on of the most talented film directors out there now.

  76. AsimovLives – He does actually fall into the black hole, and even passes through one of the two “gentle” singularities inside (which allows TARS to get the “quantum data” they need so Murph can figure out the right theory of quantum gravity), but then he gets rescued by the 5-dimensional beings before he hits the non-gentle singularity at the center of the black hole. This wasn’t all that clear in the movie, but it was explained in “The Science of Interstellar” which I read because I’m a big physics geek.

  77. @Mr. Subtlety:
    “Matthew McConaughey falls into a black hole and lives and goes back out again. And it was because people from future chose him(self?) and made him do it to save the human race except they didn’t want him to go back in time and change anything except they’re in the future and time is meanginless to them anyway so he just had to re-do the same stuff to make the movie make sense. No. Not buying it. That’s idiotic.”

    Do you dislike this kind of “fated time loop” story in general, or do you think you could have been fine with a movie whose ending had the same outline you describe above, but with a different execution than Nolan’s? 12 Monkeys is another example of a movie where the past couldn’t be changed and the time traveler just ends up fulfilling events that were shown from a different perspective earlier in the movie, did you think that one was idiotic too?

  78. hypnosifl — Well, the fated time loop thing is pretty lazy, unmotivated and derivative, but whatever, I can deal with that. But a movie which is so persnickety about getting the science right is a weird place to suddenly get all magical at the end. A person falling through a black hole would be ripped apart and crushed, and moreover the nearer he got to the singularity the more time would retard for him, essentially to zero as he reached the center. (I guess Kip Throne doesn’t think so, but that’s what I had always read).

    Looking at your previous comment, I guess he doesn’t actually go into the central singularity itself, but that’s not made clear in the movie. To every appearance, he just falls straight in to no apparent ill effect, which I found rather shocking considering most of the rest of the science is pretty self-consciously solid.

    Asimov — I know better than to argue with you, I’ll grant that the science in INTERSTELLAR mostly seems pretty solid. But you seem to think that the problem I had with it has something to do with it being too grounded in reality. Actually, my biggest problem is just that the narrative itself is a mess, a bunch of poorly-defined and one-dimensional character tropes stuck in a muddled clusterfuck of dues ex machina and middling subplots and unmotivated action. Some sporadic good acting and a few crisply written phrases can’t do much to fix problems that fundamental, so there’s no way that merely incorporating some true science is gonna save it.

    One thing I do have to take issue with: “But the real talent and effort is to create a SF story that would be accurate to science. Now that’s something to admire, and this is why still to this day 2001 is so admired. But back in the day, 2001: A SPACE ODDYSSEY[sic] had people ike[sic] you complaining about it because it wasn’t the fun of some Buck Rogers adventure sod-the-science movie.”

    If you think that is the main reason 2001 has remained a gold standard not just for science fiction, but for cinema itself, you are nuts. 2001 does meticulously stick to hard science, but it’s a great movie because it’s so, so much more than just that. Keeping the science grounded is part of Kubrick’s particular vision, and part of what makes that vision a unique one, but it would be worth nothing if the rest of the movie wasn’t a masterpiece of meticulously crafted setpieces and mind-blowing philosophical ambition. INTERSTELLAR is certainly not that, and the people criticizing it –far from complaining it isn’t Buck Rogers– are actually complaining that it’s a goopy and poorly realized melodrama instead of a genuinely challenging sci-fi epic. It has the science, but it doesn’t have the imagination of 2011, and for a movie as ponderous and self-conscious, that’s a dire miscalculation.

    RBatty — I’m with you, I also think the movie, though clearly and even self-consciously pro-science, doesn’t necessarily make a very good case for science or a scientific worldview. Hathaway turns out to be correct that wanting to see your boyfriend again is actually the best reason to choose what planet to go to. Michael Caine turns out to be using the veneer of science as a stall tactic to kill everyone on Earth. And humans need (essentially) magical intervention from ultra-dimensional future humans to save the day. Plus, for all the awe the movie seems to have about space travel, literally everyone in the movie does nothing but whine from the second they’re in space to the very end of the movie. The camera and the score have a lot of awe; the story and characters allow for none.

  79. atzfratz, for us time travels in only one dimention. For an entity that is in all matters a living tesseract, time is just another dimention like for us is, say, width, which they can perceive in all it’s lenght. Say, for example, you can see or experience wdith, but not to infinity, but you can see very far if you are helped with an instrument like a binocles or a telescope. For a tesseract being, time would be like that. For a 5 dimention being who also experiences gravity as a dimention, meaning, for them gravity would be like another dimention they can “walk about”, then you can see that for them a black hole would probably be no big deal to transverse or at least avoid being sucked in. They could surf black holes and ride on it’s gravity waves! The ultimate surfing experience!

    Is this pretty mind trippy? Oh yeah! Is it based on actual science? Indeed it is. This all sounds very trippy and surreal, but scientists actually deal with even more dimentions then just the 5 of the tesseract people in the movie. Scientists have discovered that to understand some of the mysteries of the universe, they need to incluse calculations which take into account TWENTY DIMENTIONS! And they work, they make sense, they help make sense of the universe. This dimentions can’t even be understood without advanced mathematics, only mathematics can provide a description. The universe is a really strange thing. If anything INTERSTELLAR underrepresents the strangeness of the universe and how strange a black hole actually is. Remmeber, Black Holes are places where, after the event horizont, the laws of physics as we know exist in very exotic versions. they might even have inside unique laws of physics that do not exist elsewhere. This is why some scientists even call them pocket universes.

  80. RBatty024, i don’t think Cooper disfavours his son, He ralises that his son can surive in this world and he’s resourceful and strong and a survivor. His daughter, however, is more of a dreamer, and this people do need more nurturing. Also, it’s uite obvious he sees something of himself in her. She is very curious about the world besides her farm. The son is quite content with his lot in life, the daughter dreams of the stars above. And the movie also show that the son is in no way resentful at all about his father atentions to his sister. And remember, when Cooper leaves, he trust the farm to his son and you can tell that he has absolute trust in him.
    I think it’s reasonable to expect that parents notice that some of their children are more needy then others and take more time with them, specially if they feel they might be more fragille to face the world, while the childen who very early on show great survival skill do not need to be as papered. You know what i mean?

  81. Raskolnikov’s Conscience
    *thumbs up*

    I haven’t been on AICN much because i got banned… again! Well, the place has lost a bit of it’s luster. I have found other cool places to be at, like Pulp Epic, Nerdbong and Supernaughts. They all started as off-shots of AICN, as in, created by people who got fed up with AICN and create their own places for talkbackers to enjoy an oasis of geekdom that is closer to the spirit of AICN when it started, you know?

    I have been recouvering well from my 3rd surgery, thanks for asking. My advise, don’t ever get spinal hernias!

  82. hypnosifl, yes, i know he falls into the black hole, and then he’s rescue into the tesseract.
    The thing about faling into black holes is that scientists are not really in one mind of what would happen. Not anymore, anyway. It used to be though that something that would fall ito a black hole wuld get spargettified, but that raised a big problem, which is basically called the problem of information, meaning, where it would go? information can’t be destroyed in that nothing in the universe is destroyed, but transformed. Information in this case is all that makes you an observable entity. Which is carried by light. This means that nothing is actually destroyed when it falls intoa black hole, but transformed. But transformed into what? that’s the issue!

    Some have tried to reconcile the spargettification with desmaterialiation of the falling object with the notion that the information will get “recorded” in the event horizont. But this thesis is very problematic and raises too much problems and issues and is not satisfatory.

    Somke have come to the conclusion that it migth be possible to siurvive the corssing of an event horizont, but the information of that can’t be known to us outside because it’s can’t reach us, since light can’t escape once crossed the event horizont. Now, to what different “version”, if you will, of the object that is now inside the black hole has become, that is a mystery.
    This is starting to look like a part of the plot of THE BLACK HOLE, isn’t it?

  83. Mr. Subtlety, the closed time loop is just might be how the universe actualy is if tome travel will even be taken into consideration. The interesting thing is that it seems that the universe does it’s darnest to prevent time travel to the past to be a reality.
    Now, seeing or expriencing, aka, observing time with no constrains of time direction could be a reality if such things like wormholes or living tesseracts could exist. Mathematically they can, it’s just building them that’s the real bitch.
    And if this sounds mightly weird, welcome to the universe. It’s even weirder then this!

  84. And Mr. Subtlety, the reason why 2001 still survives and is loved yet and so amaing and poingnat to day as it was back in 1968 is, among other reasons, that it’s so realistic in regard to real science. The movie is still the most extreme and better example of hard-SF, it’s still the golden standard for al hard-SF movie made and yet to be made. That element of the movie is paramount to why it’s so good. It’s not a minor element, it’s a major, if not the most major element.
    You are talking abiut just one of my top beloved movies of all time here, man. 2001, dude, that movie is as important to me as the air i breath.

  85. Was holding out hope that once Coop was shat out the butt end of the black hole he’d bump into a Dr Reinhardt / Maximilian mash-up but alas that was not to be. Some unintentional laffs kept me from dozing off entirely but otherwise this was a a well intentioned albeit seriously misguided snore.

  86. I heard that the giant space fetus Kubrick made for 2001 was so realistic that scientists started using it to study actual giant space fetuses.

  87. Mr. Majestyk comment

    MIXALOT comment

  88. Raskolnikov's Conscience

    December 4th, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Asimov:

    Glad to hear you are doing ok. Thanks for your suggested places to visit. When I read the latest AICN reviews for Interstellar, I decided to forget that place. Manbat all over again

  89. I heard that the giant space fetus in 2001 was so scientifically accurate that it actually changed the very nature of reality to make it possible.

  90. The party may be mostly over here, but I just got to see this movie a couple days ago and read through everyone’s thoughts.
    For me, this is Nolan’s best film. I think that many of the criticisms here have to do with taking the point of view of a character as the argument of the film. The pro-love part, the pro-exploration part, the pro-survival instinct part: to me these were not important because they are good or bad at explaining the story the film. They matter because the film shows that while we can’t explain fully what it means to be human, all of our explanations do interact with reality as it exists for us. All of them are legitimate aspects of the human experience. This movie isn’t about proving one declarative statement by any one character as the most right. I think the logic of INTERSTELLAR is more along the lines of saying that if all these characters’ express true dimensions of humanity, then perhaps more dimensions are just as essential. Perhaps humanity then has most to do with being open to that complexity, whatever it comes to mean in our particular version of time and space. So yeah, it provoked some thoughts for me and I thought its technical approach supported those thoughts. I liked it very much.

  91. Jek Porkins:

    Fantastic.

    Raskolnikov’s Conscience:

    AICN is good to visit for a laugh.

    Mr. Majestyk and Mr. Subtlety:

    Smart-arses!

  92. Had to raise the bar for you, bud. Good to have you back.

  93. Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of films but I thought Interstellar was magnificently done, overall. Yeah, there were some cheesy parts, but for me they were cheesy in the way that Signs is cheesy. Apart from those scenes done in some low-key CGI in Interstellar (which I appreciated because CGI is overused these days), the animation and oopy-goopy lines (like Anne Hathaway’s little monologue about love) gave it a kitschy-ness that I’ve always liked from the older sci fi classics, like 2001. Yeah, it wasn’t the level of masterpiece as 2001, but then who can beat 2001? 2001 was a breakthrough for the sci fi genre in film in the sense that it was so superb a great many people who don’t even like sci fi genuinely can appreciate it what it is. I thought that what was so stunning about Interstellar was the scenes on Earth – the cinematography reminded me of Nestor Almendros. Those long scenes with saturated color recalled Days of Heaven to me. Furthermore, the dust that settled on everything on Earth was historically accurate, too. In the 1930s there was a period of severe dust storms that resulted from extreme drought and incorrect farming in the prairies of the US and Canada. Basically the same thing happened; it was impossible to get the dust out of the house and out of people’s lungs. There was generally no food, no water, and layers and layers of dust. So I was really pleased that Nolan tried to be ecologically as well as astronomically/scientifically accurate. I think that the movie’s greatness, therefore, ultimately lies with the fact of its generally being well done. There’s scientific accuracy, as well as well thought out cinematography, and also a more or less moving script (provided it wasn’t too cheesy).

  94. The time travel stuff in this movie really bothered me. It frustrates me when movies expect me to take time travel seriously. That’s a weird pet peeve to have, but whatever. I’m very skeptical that time travel is possible, even theoretically, and I’m certain that if it is possible, it’s not in any of the ways that any movie has ever handled it. The idea in this movie is that an evolved future being lives in five dimensions such that it experiences time the way we experience, for instance, length, and can thus travel through time the way we travel through space. But we can’t travel through space the way these beings allow Matthew McConaughey to travel through time. Anne Hathaway describes it like going forward in time would be analogous to climbing a mountain and going backward in time would be like descending into a canyon. But you can’t descend into a canyon except from above the canyon. If you’re never above the canyon, you can never descend into it. You might be in the canyon, but you didn’t descend into it. Similarly, you can’t use your fifth-dimensional powers to send someone back in time if you never had fifth-dimensional powers to begin with. And if sending someone back in time is supposed to be how you got the powers, well then you’re butt-up against a paradox. If you’re going to make your bones on how scientifically accurate your movie is, you shouldn’t give in to some BS time travel nonsense after two and a half hours.

    I liked the movie, though, overall. It’s very weird in that it has a lot of exceptional elements and also a lot of terrible ones. I guess I’m not as much of a pessimist as I think, because I saw the glass as half-full on this one.

  95. So Nolan’s new one is coming out next year, and this is the first look at it. There’s a rumor he crashed a real Nazi plane for the production, thus wiping out Quentin Tarantino (for letting Kurt Russell destroy that ancient guitar in HATEFUL EIGHT) and Paul Thomas Anderson (for likewise letting Joaquin Phoenix destroy the toilet in THE MASTER) in an imagined game of oneupsmanship they probably have.

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