Interstellar - rated - TEPID
In space, you really want to
One of the hottest actors around (Matthew McConaughey) stars with the
delightful Anne Hathaway and the talented Jessica Chastain in a film
directed by Christopher Nolan (wrote and directed Memento & Inception). Sounds good?
Half-right, actually. This is such a schizophrenic film: I liked about
half of it. I admired the technical side: the art direction, the
depiction of space travel, the robots, and some of the film's ideas. I
also liked some of the performances: McConaughey does his best to keep
a straight face and to seem noble in fairly ridiculous circumstances.
And Anne Hathaway is always luminous and seems to bring a bit of
dignity to whatever role she plays. One other positive was the verbal
performance by the super-talented Bill Irwin. He really animated that
robot, TARS! But there was so much that irritated me about this film,
and combining that with its very long run-time, I was really close to
walking out at times.
The film tries so hard to be clever, scientifically accurate (or at
least plausible) but there are aspects to it that are just risible!
When a space mission is designed to check out various planets to see if
they are auitable for habitation by what's left of mankind after some
kind of apocalypse, you'd think they'd have all sorts of sensors and
probes to check out the plnet's atmosphere and surface before the
astronauts disembark. But no, they just (literally) put their toes in
the water of the first planet, and they are forced to run for their
loves when a big wave comes! Ridiculous! But (schizophrenically) the
wave is a magbificent creation, and it is genuinely scary! But why do
people have to go out to find the "black box" of a previous mission to
the planet when they have a robot that's perfectly capable.
That's just dumb.
And why was it that as soon as I saw Matt Damon, I knew he (SPOILER
ALERT) would be a villain. Christmas is coming and I've already had my
share of ham after seeing his performance. But even worse, why on earth
would astronauts have a fist fight? Wouldn't they both be in mortal
danger of death if any part of their suit tore or cracked? I did like
the cracking of the helmet visor though. Similarly, when the astronauts
come back suddenly into the capsule in a violent entrance, and they
bounce all over the capsule, why don't they damage anything? Why don't
they damage their suits?
Even worse, how is it that Matthew McConaughey's pilot (fabulous though
he is) is able to pilot a brand new space ship through a workhole, even
though he has been retired for many years, after just a weekend of
training? These aren't just finnickity points. If a film wants to maker
us believe it is giving us true science, or at least possible science
based on proper theory, you need to get the small details right as well
as the big picture. The script is very ambitious, and I'm afraid it
doesn't get there.
Another problematic thing was the many many references to other famous
sci-fi films. Were they homages (the helmet shots with reflections in
the visor, and even the space suits themselves were straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, there were
many visual references to Gravity, and plenty to Alien and Blade Runner, and even to Silent Running. But I'm
uncomfortable, because I'm not sure they were homages. Could they be
I was willing to cut this film some slack, but I lost patience. After
we saw the film, my husband (a space nut) and I went to dinner and
enumerated all the errors we had noticed. We went on for a long time.
He said he wanted to scream at times. I asked him about the likelihood
of using the edge of a wormhole to slingshot yourself off it and
accelerate into space (just as you can do with a planet). He just shook
his head. Same with flying into a wormhole. Even I know that that would
make you a singularity. And
that's not good.
But first he asked a question that, having worked through the logic of
the film, we could not answer. (SPOILER ALERT) : who built the wormhole?