Interstellar (2014)

Imagine you were a car enthusiast and you heard there was going to be a car movie where an actual car expert like Bob Lutz was going to be on staff to explain what can and cannot be done with cars, what each car is supposed to sound like and drive, and how each one alters perceptions around it. This movie had Kip Thorne, world-renowned astrophysicist as an executive producer, so I was anticipating that the science could drive this movie. Specifically, I knew that a black hole was involved, and I wanted to see a Hollywood depiction of spaghettification.

The story is about Matthew McConaughey as a father, son, former experimental pilot, drone hacker, engineer, and part-time philosopher. He is dealing with a pending global apocalypse that has manifested itself with the "blight" that is some kind of organism that breathes nitrogen and eats crops. It is accompanied by the Midwest equivalent of the dust-bowl. He works as a farmer who also helps people automate their farming machines with reclaimed military hardware (as there are no more militaries for an unexplained reason).

The movie is intentionally character-focused as a directorial decision that Christopher Nolan made. The problem is that the characters really aren't that compelling. Add to that the reasoning behind them going off to find a new world and the interesting difficulties of gathering up all the people on the planet to ship them to a new planet, and you have a movie that is fighting with itself for purpose.

The science involved, and the stunning visual effects are the reason to watch this movie. The way it deals with wormholes and time dilation are very straight-forward for such complicated subjects. It might leave some scratching their heads, but that's because of the matter-of-fact way it approaches the issues without detailed explanations. While a friend had significant aesthetic issues with the robots, I tend to agree with Adam Savage with his applauding of the simple and effective design combined with a usefully customizable AI.

The movie is almost three hours long. It would have been much better if it was more like two hours. The compressed timetable would have forced Christopher to cut out the little bits of the movie that really didn't need to be there - as they didn't forward the plot. A good 20 minutes or so could have been safely cut from the beginning of the film without any significant loss of anything - including the family stories (yes, there is more than one).

Any discussion of this movie needs to include the Magic Library. I understand that it is hard to visualize a fourth dimension of space, and this is compounded by the idea of time occupying that space, but the tesseract world of reality behind a bookshelf where Matthew can interact with some stuff, not other stuff, and he can... manipulate the second hand of a watch, and start it on a perpetual loop, even as it is moving around in the other three dimensions? No. Just... no.

Direction was good
Effects were fantastic
Acting was very good
Story was okay
Dialogue was meh

Bottom Line: I enjoyed the movie on the whole, but I think making it more plot-driven (rather than character-driven) would have produced a better movie.



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