Friday, November 7, 2014

Interstellar - Review

Interstellar - Review

Director Christopher Nolan makes a huge cinematic leap as he moves away from the fictional earth bound canvas of the tales of Gotham City and the Batman Trilogy to the mysteriously deep galactic travels of outer space in the highly anticipated mix of science fiction and science reality based film entitled “Interstellar”.

Starring Academy Award winners, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine and one actor I won’t mention, the story of “Interstellar” starts out in the not so distant future in the agricultural bread basic region of the United States. We see a former test pilot turned corn farmer named Cooper working hard to earn a living with his two children and his father. What is apparent to him and other farmers in that area around him is that the land is rapidly devolving into a modern day “dust bowl” and the globe as a whole is moving towards total agricultural collapse. Also Murphy, Cooper’ adolescent precocious redhead daughter, keeps insisting there are mysterious ghosts in her room to make the family matters daily lives even more complex. 

What in deed they do soon discover is that it is not ghosts in her room but a mysterious code signal effecting their home – her room that later reveals itself in the form of a GPS coordinate to a Top Secret compound headed by a brilliant scientist named Dr. Brand played by Michael Caine and his equally brilliant daughter Dr. Brand also played by Anne Hathaway. Together they essentially sell Cooper on the idea that the earth is dying and that they have discovered a possible passage way through a worm whole that appeared outside the orbit of Saturn which by their calculations will catapult them to a galaxy far away to the real possibility of 12 sustainable planets for human to leave earth to repopulate itself and save humanity.  Cooper knows that it is a real chance he might not survive and if he should survive he may not make it back to his daughter who tearfully pleads with him to “stay”.  But Cooper is drawn to the risk as something worth taking to save humanity. And with that Cooper and his Chuck Yeager persona in tow, along with Dr. Brands daughter and two other scientist, collectively they saddle up to their rotating space ship “to boldly go where no one has gone before”. And it is what that decision the “Interstellar” space adventure begins.

Actually it does not begin and that is the problem. What does in deed begin at almost 3 hours running time is an endless dialogue involving quantum theories, string theories, worm holes and black holes, space-time continuum, transcending dimensions, rotational spins, Newton’s ideas on gravity, talkative plodding  concepts and finally endless passages that try to explain some connection of human’s innate love for one another with modern physics.  The result is a film extremely over burdened with a story line that should of had a prerequisite requirement for all viewers before spending $18 to see it in IMAX, they should all have to go to Oxford England to attend an entry level physics theory class headed by noted Professor Stephen Hawking’s on the “The Theory of Everything” just to understand what Nolan is trying to say here, which by the way is in fact the title of a movie coming out in the next few weeks that actually may be a better film to watch.  

Nolan’s Interstellar is so tightly undergirded with science talk that it is to the point of being something equivalent to intellectual strangulation on your ability to both breath and comprehend at the same time in such short order with its clunky screenplay. Sometimes, I felt my head was going to explode from just trying to follow along conversations that simply made no sense. Why? Because Director Nolan (in my estimation) invested way too much of his time and effort to tell you all of the science aspects of this story in the film, not realizing it would almost torture the life out of the film with this obsessiveness to provide every single theoretic detail, without giving as much a vestige of real weight to the human component of this story. Meaning? Specifically, what was missing from its plot was how does this story reassure me in as human my rightful place in an expansive endless universe to live – survive as a species. And unfortunately Interstellar does not do this at all.  And while Nolan has some moments that were to the naked eye visually fascinating, majestic and even awe inspiring the overall story of the film especially in the second half felt like science interstellar “hoo - haa” that simply made no connection to me at all.

Nolan was clearly inspired by “2001: A Space Odyssey”, but he should of learned from that effort and other science fiction greats like Alien, that sometimes moments of silence and not saying anything can make a film more intriguing. Here we are saddled with abundance of too much everything including too much loud music that at times overlapped the story to the point the music was more nuisance than pleasurable to my ear. Compounded all of this with scenes that over and over and over again try to explain every single thing the actors were thinking, that it far too often provoked a response from me that was "huh?" rather than “yeah”.

Ultimately, Interstellar has the scale of a blockbuster-sized film, but it simply does not have the written story to match this strong cast’s ability to deliver an emotional story and one that connects with its audience emotional needs intact to the real science that was put in play. 

So, you ask after all of that should you see “Interstellar?” My answer is an absolute resounding yes you should see it, just as long as the next two words behind its title say the words “Red Box”.
2 - 3/4 Stars

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