This is part two of a two part review. Part one is here. The (after) goes to when I wrote it and, if you’re planning on seeing it, probably when you should read this. This is the spoiler warning.
16:57 < interstellios> interstellar++
16:57 -!- You’re now known as solios
17:02 < solios> just like gravity the big gaping derp is the thing that makes it all work
17:03 < solios> unlike gravity, interstellar was a sweet fusion of apocalyptic scifi, linearly non-linear storytelling, and elements of 2001.
17:55 < ejp> gravity isn’t scifi
18:02 < solios> right, neither is interstellar
18:02 < solios> it’s a logical continuation of Nolan Nolaning on from Inception
18:02 < solios> including the tectonically overloud organ dirge
18:03 < solios> (which even actually *fits* in a few places)
18:03 < solios> it has a basic structural similarity to 2001
18:03 < ejp> that fucking thing
18:03 < solios> Martin called it a chick flick :D
The VFX team did not fail to remove the UPMC logo from any exterior shots. The theater, however, dumped a big steaming load of UPMC propaganda in the filler reel that ran before the previews.
Weighing in at roughly three hours, Interstellar is a reasonably intelligent film that’s not without its issues. How these issues shape your viewing enjoyment depends a lot on how you watch movies – if you consider movies to be for entertainment purposes only you’ll be fine. If you remove the most glaring issue the whole thing falls apart, or becomes unreasonably complicated, or both – a willingness to let hollywood be hollywood is key to enjoyment here. Like last year’s blockbuster Gravity this is science fiction in name only. Physics has been reformatted to fit your screen. Scientists don’t like it when hollywood takes liberties with their work; I’m sure cops and lawyers and soldiers and politicians don’t care for it very much either. When handled reasonably “reformatting” can be shrugged off in the interests of narrative efficiency and I’m fine with it as long as a movie gets the basics right. That doesn’t stop me from taking points off for sloppy or insufficiently handwaved work, though. There are some fairly colossal visual continuity issues buried in the background of a key scene, and at one point a thing seems to blow up for no immediately apparent reason other than aforementioned narrative efficiency. That explosion’s brother shows up a few minutes later for similar reasons so I suppose it’s okay – Interstellar isn’t a bloody movie but it is occasionally violent and without fail every violent act serves to reduce the cast, efficiently ejecting their narrative baggage. I have no idea why the launch vehicle needs two stages of rocket to get out of earth’s atmosphere but later pulls out of two different planets that are Danger Close to a black hole using internal thrust, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the average rocketry enthusiast doesn’t either. Ultimately the liberties the film takes with science – a lot of it forgivable on the presumption that in hollywood facts are for entertainment purposes only – dilute what is a fundamentally emotional message. A message the people that won’t notice the niggly little science issues will receive, loud and clear.
Read as an homage to 2001 or as a reworking of thematic elements of Sunshine, Interstellar is a solid film and a natural continuation of Nolan’s established themes. The difference in effects work between Inception and the climax of Interstellar feels like a step forward, feels like he’s getting closer to visually realizing what these worlds look like in his head, and that bodes well for future work. I just hope that wherever he goes next he leaves the organ behind – it worked with Inception but in Interstellar it feels heavy, leaden, obtrusive and intrusive. Not that a heavy score isn’t in order here… I feel the desired effect could have been achieved without the use of the instrument that practically carried Inception.
Interstellar is long, more fiction than science, and offers a chilling glimpse into an all-too-likely end of the world scenario – global death by starvation and how that shapes the priorities of the state. That’s ultimately background to an investigation of both sides of a blinged out time travel story. It’s very nearly Mad Max: A Space Odyssey – a film that manages to blend together a realistic collapse of civilization with a Hail Mary that works because physics has been reformatted to fit your screen. Hints at posthumanity – altogether more interesting than the execrably dull post-human Johnny Depp Nolan EPed between Batman 3: UPMC and Interstellar – could be interpreted as A Wizard Did It, or, in my opinion, as a modern take on the intelligence behind the Monolith in 2001 and 2010. Future pan-dimensional humans enabling the guy from Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation to fulfill a species-saving pre-destination paradox? It’s better than you’d think.
I enjoyed it enough to recommend it to anyone who’s enjoyed Nolan’s non-Batman films – it’s entertaining, and while I’d shy away from calling it deep it’s certainly deeper than anything else on the silver screen at the moment.