Monday, December 8, 2014

Interstellar is (somewhat) stellar

With no shortage of quirky speed bumps, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar takes mankind (and audiences) on a trip that is literally out of this world.


ARTH VADER (AV): The big day arrives and interstellar opens to a $50 million (domestic) weekend. Christopher (Dark Knight) Nolan delivers an original but all-too-familiar plot of an Earth dying out and withering natural planetary resources, Interstellar offers a new twist on an old science fiction story, would you agree Pontificator? 
THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Interstellar is a human driven story about extraordinary circumstances Vader. It grounds us with situations we can understand and relate to…like family, but also bombards us with things we can’t quite wrap our heads around…like time paradoxes. That said, the continuity of the film is great, until you try to figure out the “how” of it all…then you’re just lost cause the film never finds this either. 


AV: With an oscar-worthy cast flitting across the screen like so many… (ahem) stars, I had higher hopes for this film’s story. The quality of the screenplay is middle-of-the-road, with enough holes in the plot to foment and entire year’s worth of swiss cheese. The cast is first rate (I will leave the casting call inhale very capable hands of my co-blogger) but the acting was–at best–dialed. The forced ‘your-line-is-read-here’ dialogue is mostly flat and predictable. The story pacing is good and Nolan’s now-famous cinematography does not disappoint. P-Man, tell us more about this (Inter)stellar cast. 

TP: The casting of this film was excellent as was the acting. There was a tremendous amount of talent in this film (Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, even a surprise appearance of Matt Damon) but don’t fool yourself for a moment into thinking this film wasn’t carried by Matthew McConaughey. He absolutely set the tone of the film and the directing gave it a pace that complimented his style and allowed everyone else to present their talent.


AV: If you’re going to journey to the stars, your movie has got to look good. This movie, looks good. What I struggled with was the old Star Wars-esque vision of worlds defined by one geographic feature (Jungle planets, Ice planets, etc,) At first, the explores touchdown on a gravity-dense world defined by 1000-foot tides that sweep across the planet. While that science is horribly flawed, the visual effect is astounding. But all this planet stuff pales next to this film’s biggest visual effect – the robots! Hot damn, if I could have a robot like CASE or TARS I dare say my life would be pretty darn sweet! Well-written and even better imagined, Nolan’s vision of super-funny, supper-enabled ‘bots is a definite film highlight. 

TP: Visually stunning is the only way to describe the effects of this film. From the scenes on a slowly dying Earth to the awesome sequences of deep space, seeing this film in IMAX was the only way to see it. We often talk about how the best CGI is the kind you never think about while watching it. Well, this film delivers that type of quality as everything looks very real giving you a sense of being wherever the film takes you.


AV: There is a lot not right with Interstellar. Too many plot holes, time gaps, implausible science and downright confusing character motivations. For one, I struggle with trying to determine some hard dot ignore points. First, Why would you send so many humans out when you had such sophisticated robots to do the hard stuff better and faster? How did Cooper to stumble across a secret NASA facility just down the road? Why was he then the single most important person for the mission? Do you mean to tell me that after spending nearly 80 (Earth) years struggling to get back in touch with each other that 98-year-old Murph and 124 year-old Coop spend just 3 minutes together before he decides to shoot off into space to find a stranded Anne Hathaway? 

Too many things that don’t come together (which we can expect in Nolan films, remember: Inception, Dark Knight Rises) but there does come a point when I can no longer gorge myself on a steady diet of unexplainable plot points and non-sensical science. I did truly enjoy the film but this one goes onto the shelf for me. Ponty? 

TP: Great points Vader! This was a long film topping out at almost three hours and given that it wasn’t constant action, it’s a testament to the quality of the script an the actors that it was so engrossing that it never felt like a three hour film. The film kept the pressure on as it constantly flowed with an “all is lost” feel even though McConaughey was the constant beacon of hope. The science of the film could have been much heavier than it was and I was glad when they decided to simplify some of it for the audience by simply telling us things like “every hour there is seven years here.” This made for some hefty heart dropping moments when they showed just how the effects of time relativity really works. The only gripe I had was that I really did not need to be treated to another time paradox plot. In the end you are left to question the “how” of it all and the only answer given leads you in a never-ending loop of impossible.


AV: Umm, no. This is a stand-alone film. One that will do particularly well at the box office but I don’t ever need to relive any part of this film or story again. Good film, one and done.

TP: A great film that could certainly stand alone…I can certainly see how a sequel could be made, given the unanswered (or should I say unsatisfactorily answer) of how it all came about and the leaving off of where it all goes from here. That said, given one of the main points of the film was to save humanity, I’d say accomplishing that closes the door on a sequel.


ARTH VADER rates Interstellar: Interstellar is truly an epic, big budget Hollywood juggernaut. Whats more, it will likely be on the lips of the Hollywood in-crowd when oscar season rolls around (Though I am doubtful of its chances). The film is fun, big and kinda dumb (as C Nolan films go). Still, there is solid entertainment and the very 2001: A Space Odessy-like ending is a bit tough to swallow. Still, it is a solid event (enhanced by IMAX) and one that entertains, in spite of its sited flaws. I will venture out into the stars with seven (7) Busted Blocks and move on to the next great sci-fi epic. 

THE PONTIFICATOR rates Interstellar: A fine film filled with heavy drama and great acting, then accented with killer special effects, there isn’t too that can be said about it that isn’t positive. It takes you on a journey not only into space, but into our own humanity as well…  and delivers eight (8) busted blocks just in time to save us all.  

Interstellar: 7.5 / 10 Busted Blocks

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