The Skinny (No spoilers)
Disappointing, especially since I wanted to like this film. Starring the founder of the “No shirt, no problem” campaign Matthew McConaughey and the universally beloved actress Anne Hathaway, Interstellar leaves the audience saying, “Well, I guess even Christopher Nolan can’t win them all.”
The middle 1 hour 45 minutes is a damn good piece of cinema: spectacular, exciting, strong twists, good pacing, and it’s just plain gorgeous. But the first and last 30 minutes will leave you cold and full of questions, like:
—If a movie is named Interstellar, then why the hell am I spending more time in the American dirt than a Georgia peanut farmer?
—Why does the plot’s conclusion feel so lazy? Like “drunk at noon” lazy?
—Wait, so this ISN’T the “I’m a singing French prostitute” Anne Hathaway movie?! Well shit.
Running a mind bending 2 hours and 45 minutes, Interstellar is far more SciFi than its trailer suggests. Now I’m nerdy as hell, so I was fine with it. But the SciFi nature of it will turn off a majority of general audiences.
If you like SciFi, see it on the biggest screen you can find. It’s worth it. If not, don’t see it at all. Wait for it on Netflix.
The Deep Dive (Spoilers galore!)
Remember that movie Signs? You know, the one where the wife dies and communicates from the dead to tell her family how to defeat aliens? Interstellar is Signs with space and a southern accent.
Earth is running out of food. The world, due to diseases that are killing off vegetables, is set to starve to death within a generation. Secretly, astronauts are being sent off into space to either 1) find a place where humans can relocate, or 2) find a place where our genetic material can be used to create humanity on another planet.
Too weird for you? Well hold the hell on!
Matthew plays a former pilot whose daughter is having weird occurrences happen in her room. Books are falling off of her bookshelf; dust is falling in patterns and formations. Matthew follows these patterns (read: coordinates) and finds himself at NORAD. Once there, he is recruited for one of these space missions.
While very necessary, this is the weakest part of the film. It was slow, dull, and reminds the audience of the piss poor nature of the writing. It makes you want to scream in your loudest Arnold Schwarzenegger voice “GET TO THE SPACE!!!”
Finally, we get to the space. Matthew and the gang head to a wormhole that appears to be placed there by someone. The crew calls those placers “They”. After going through, the crew searches two planets in the area for signs of life. For reasons that I’m not going to get into chaos ensues, multiple members of the crew die, and Matthew and Anne only age a couple hours while everyone else alive ages multiple years (For example, Mathews daughter, who is back on earth, goes from being a child to being an adult). Matthew, obsessed with returning to his family, learns that returning to earth and helping humanity leave was never the real plan. Leaving our genetic material was the ultimate goal. With this realization, Matthew and Anne head off to the third and last planet to set up a colony.
This entire section falls right in the middle of the film, lasts almost two hours, and is the best part. Great use of special effects and time. I have never seen the theory of relativity used as a major plot device, but Nolan’s superb uses of it should serve as a blueprint for those attempting to do so in the future. The suspense is suffocating, except that you sometimes feel like you are watching the sequel to the movie Gravity. Marvelous job, but not enough to salvage the film
While on the way to the third planet, Matthews decides to make Anne’s flight easier by hurling himself and a robot into a black hole. He hopes to save humanity by sending the readings from the black hole back to earth. Once inside the black hole (I’m not even gonna start on how utterly ridiculous of a concept this is), Matthew ejects from the craft and finds himself in a massive labyrinth. At each stage in the labyrinth, Mathew finds himself behind his daughters’ bookshelf during a different segment of her life. At one she is a teenager, at one she is a child, at another she is an adult. There is no time here. He learns that the books falling and dust patterns were not a ghost, but actually himself trying to communicate from a black hole in the “future” to himself. He caused the dust to move and therefore gave the coordinates of NORAD to himself! Soon he sends the readings back to earth through “bookshelf magic” and, after the labyrinth collapses, is ejected out of the same wormhole he entered at the beginning of the movie. Oh, upon ejection, he is multiple decades into the future and comes away believing that the wormhole and labyrinth were created by some “future” humans in the name of species self-preservation.
WTF. No, really…WTF!!!! Listen, I have been watching Star Trek since I was five years old, Star Wars since I was 10, and have gone to multiple SciFi conventions and Comic-Con! This should be right up my alley. But this section ranks up there as one of the stupidest and laziest SciFi ploys I have ever seen. Instead of coming off as mysterious and mystical, it looks like they couldn’t 1) find a good way to get Matthew to space and 2) couldn’t find a happy way to return him safe and sound FROM SPACE. Creating a bullshit temporal loop where things happen because they were meant to happen has been done before and it screamed “lack of writing effort” even then. Second, zero explanation is given as to why the wormhole and labyrinth exist. Sure Matthew says future humans created all this for ourselves, but he says that without a shred of proof. Nothing in the whole damn movie points to this conclusion!!! Hell, I could make a good argument that drunk fairies made the wormhole. I dare you to prove me wrong!!!
I could continue this rant, but will stop. If you like SciFi, go see it instead of watching an Agents of SHIELD rerun. If not, save your money.