Critiques and comments

Interstellar (2014)

With Christopher Nolan it's always been a love-hate relationship for me. Whereas he's made some realistically excellent movies such as Memento, The Prestige and The Dark Knight (though he mostly has Heath Ledger to thank for the last one making the list) he's also disappointed me repeatedly with his dialogues teeming with forced grandeur, his penchant for uniformly positive endings that come with unrealistic conclusions and the identity between the different roles of Michael Caine, who has been reduced to the equivalent of Morgan Freeman. The movies I didn't like would be The Rest of the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception. To be fair, both the movies listed as "liked" and "didn't like" have the same failings I already mentioned, but I tend to notice them more vividly in the "didn't like" list.

Interstellar has the director's very distinctive touch too. However, the performance of Matthew McConaughey, whom I didn't really like until his recent streak of impressive acting really changes the dynamics of what might have been a rather typical Nolan movie. As I said, Interstellar is also "blessed" with his recital-style dialog as well as Michael Caine again appearing in the same capacity that Nolan frequently casts him in, but the sheer amount of the things he did right seems to outweigh a lot of what could have been better.

It's not easy to do sci-fi right, because writers and filmmakers frequently have to exaggerate the scientific process to make an interesting story. No one wants to see Murph spending her life making a relatively small contribution to some gravitational theory; instead there needs to be an "eureka!" moment that the technology they've been building all along was waiting for - and that's all right, but what we don't want to be told is that people on Earth are going to suffocate. Being told that offends a reasonable, intelligent viewer who is willing to suspend disbelief except for the dumbest possible scenarios. Oxygen is literally the most common element on the planet and the third most abundant in the universe, so no one can tell me that absolutely every human being would suffocate: perhaps the majority would, but I am completely assured that world leaders along with a significant portion of the population would continue breating oxygen extracted from the compound it would be most inexpensive to extract it from.

Apart from the inevitable paradox when you include influencing past events from the future as a part of your story, Interstellar graciously avoids what I thought would be a catastrophic moment in the black hole scene. Not only do they not transmit "quantum data" out through the event horizon (which would anger me) but by using the fact that they find a multidimensional space inside the black hole they avoid the scenario in which I'm asking myself how they ever reached the event horizon in any conceivable window of time.

In general, a sci-fi epic of this magnitude demands that you overlook certain illogical aspects, and with the sheer scale of this story I'm honestly amazed at how skillfully it was pulled off. It's no Space Odyssey, that's for sure, but with a thoughtful plot that, like science itself, stands on the shoulders of giants (refering to the countless homages and inspirations such as the aformentioned 2001: A Space Odyssey, Event Horizon, Sunshine, Signs and many more) and good actor performances it definitely stands out from the mediocrity of contemporary high-budget films. I found myself impressed, entertained and intrigued, which is exactly what a good movie should aim to do.

Rating: 4.0 / 5
Posted at: Nov 10, 2014 @ 17:50:34
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