Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thoughts on Interstellar

I felt like this nearly the entire film. Short version, I loved it.
I don't know why it took me three weekends to get to the theater to see Christopher Nolan's epic Interstellar, but it did. I finally went, suspending my disbelief and anxious to be entertained.

This film is 2 hours and 49 minutes long. Jeez, am I going into the wormhole myself? I thought on the way over to the theater. Also, how's the science? I've heard Neil deGrasse Tyson kind of say some things that led me to believe that it might not be as accurate as possible. And despite trying mightily to avoid spoilers on the Internet I've seen a few criticisms that could have lessened my enjoyment of the film.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a fan of Nolan's. I like the principal actors, all of them. I bought the soundtrack before I saw the film so I'm a fan of Hans Zimmer's too. I've been eagerly anticipating this film since the first teaser trailer too. I wanted to like this movie.

And I did.

Without giving away major spoilers I was satisfied by the story, the science and the visual aspects. As a piece of fiction, it made me laugh, cry and walk out of the theater pleased to have spent my time so enjoyably.

The music, as always in the collaborations between Zimmer and Nolan, is integral to the film. It adds weight when it needs to and increases my sense of wonder. There's a food crisis that has changed the world significantly. There are no armies or marines any more. Drones are flying around aimlessly and crops are dying of blight. The new dust bowl is terrifying too. The family dynamic is well played and interesting. Nolan trusts the viewer to put the pieces together as he reveals them. Everything is there as far as I can tell after one viewing.

There are time shifts that the viewer has to keep up with, and not every emotionally charged scene is effective. The recruitment scenes are perhaps a little clumsy and even Michael Caine can't quite sell them but they're important to moving the plot forward so I forgave them and just let myself be immersed in the story.

Let me go back to the world of the story. It's important and it's easy to forget it once they launch and head out of the solar system. There's A LOT THERE but it gets left behind. The things that are going on ground the story in a reality that may be hard for us to conceive of. Official texts have been changed, robots are managing the heavy work of the farms, colleges are taking fewer and fewer students. This stuff is important and it colors every decision Matthew McConaughey's character Cooper makes in the film. He's got a lot of weight in there when he's floating around in zero gravity.

Okay, enough digression. Is the science perfect? No. Is the story perfect? No. But it's entertaining as both a distraction and a social commentary. I enjoyed the film from the start. TARS and CASE are interesting as artifacts in the story and as characters for comic relief. All the characters are well drawn, or at least drawn well enough to believe in. If you're planning on seeing it - go. Suspend your disbelief and look at it as a piece of fiction created with love and attention to detail.

I could be a lot more critical, but it's not my baby. I didn't create it, didn't shepherd it into being.  I don't have a stake in it other than wanting to be entertained. What I had was a great time at the theater and I didn't feel like I'd been watching a movie for nearly three hours.

That's the reason to go.