Monday, November 17, 2014

Interstellar - a few thoughts

Interstellar ★★★★

I enjoyed Interstellar but it seemed rather unfocused as if Nolan had so many related ideas to cram into the story that he couldn't choose one way to go. I feel as if this movie would have benefited from the treatment given to Inception's script: left in a bedstand drawer for 10 years, occasionally pulled out and rewritten.

Overall, Nolan is still looking at the themes we have seen in his other original movies like Memento and Inception: why do we choose truth or lies, how love and people define us, and what drives us to be our best or worst selves. Early on I kept thinking of M. Night Shyamalan's Signs and although this movie goes in a very different direction, I'm not sure that was a wrong unconscious turn of my mind. Both movies are their directors' musings about humanity and what matters most deeply to each of us.

There were many things I enjoyed about this which I can't discuss without spoilers. Although one thing I CAN mention is that my husband's first comment upon leaving the theater was, "Jonathan Nolan just can't tell a story without using books these days, can he?" (Referring to an essential device from Person of Interest.) That hadn't occurred to me but it is very true. I also loved that two of the books whose spines we do see are The Stand and one by Arthur Conan Doyle (title unshown). These also provided food for thought...

Also, last but not least: best robot ever. Especially the design. Best. Ever.


  1. I enjoyed it, but it felt too long in the tooth to me. I also didn't find the ending very satisfying, but, well, I do give him points for ambition.

    1. Long in the tooth? What felt old about it? I'm curious ...

      I also did not agree with his conclusions. But that is something I didn't want to get into due to spoilers. :-)

    2. That's hard to say while avoiding spoilers, but that Monster's Inc-style sequence where the story wraps in on itself felt rather dated compared to all the interesting ideas they put forth. Mostly in the philosophical ramifications (which don't make a lot of sense when thought on) but also in how it makes everything else more convenient plot-wise. It's old hat science fiction, and it's never been one of my favorite story devices as it really boxes in the wonder and mystery of the plot.

      That said, everything leading up to that was quite fresh and typical Nolan fare-- quite awesome. It only faltered when he relied on old tropes that hampered the story.

    3. "... Monster's Inc-style sequence where the story wraps in on itself "

      Not sure what you mean there ... I'm trying to think what Monster's Inc sequence was unusual storytelling that was also pulled into this movie. Never mind it doesn't matter probably. :-)

    4. The part near the end of Monster's Inc involving the doors is about as close as I can get to describing the scene without spoiling it. lol.

      The presentation was nice, the plot exposition from the robot was completely unnecessary, in my eyes.

    5. Gotcha! It never would have occurred to me to connect those two scenes. I see what you mean but I feel as if they are very different actually.

      I got quite tired of it and felt it could have been much shorter for one thing. Though I myself appreciated the robot's conversation. For one thing I felt Coop's (Nolan's) conclusion about "the others" was incorrect ... from a personal point of view (if you know what I mean).

    6. Yes, I think I know what he meant to get across by making the conclusion that he did, but it just didn't wash with me for a lot of reasons. Most notably the first cause in Coop's theory would blow a hole in his entire idea, but the movie doesn't really go there. It just sort of peters out at the end instead.

      Then again, my friend loved it entirely, so maybe I'm just being overcritical and taking it in a direction Nolan didn't intend me to.

    7. A lot of people (movie critics I've read) didn't like the way it petered out. I felt as if it ended strong, but I had my own problems with it. Obviously Scott and I will have to watch this and discuss it on the podcast! :-)

    8. I would definitely enjoy hearing that! I think you two would have a lot to talk about here.

      That reminds me that I still have yet to get around to Gravity, which your episode inspired me to do. No idea how I missed that one.

    9. You will find all the focus that Interstellar lacks! Really enjoyable and a star turn from Sandra Bullock.