Monday, November 24, 2014

Interstellar...

Saw Interstellar this weekend. It came highly recommended by several folks whose opinions I trust on such things, and in general it has gotten favorable reviews.

Visually and viscerally it is an *amazing* film. It was worth seeing in the theater for no reason other than the cinematography with the sound - scenes on earth are loud, with background noise and the hundred little sounds we hear everyday, while in space it was completely silent. Very, very well done there. I completely understand why folks have strongly recommended seeing it in an IMAX theater.

For me, though, the plot and sciency stuff is what did me in. There's a little too much deux ex machina sprinkled liberally throughout, and the big "gotcha" revealed at the end, I had picked up in the first ten minutes. The writing is good, overall, with the struggle for survival placed squarely against the struggle to keep one's humanity. Sometimes they mesh; often they do not.

It could have been about an hour shorter and been fine. While a little suspense-building is necessary, it almost seemed like parts were left intentionally long just for the sake of being long. At two hours and 49 minutes of run time, for a movie with little actual action sequences and fairly little dialogue, it seems like it could have easily been much closer to two hours and not lose much.

I can't get too heavily into the plot issues I had without giving too much away, but none were deal-breakers. I'm glad I saw it in the theater, but I'm on the fence whether I'll get the Blu-Ray when it comes out. We've got a decent sound system at Casa G. Sud, and I can pause it for refreshments or comfort breaks. That makes a difference.

On the flip side, they rely pretty heavily on surprises and gotchas - I don't know if the second viewing will hold up when you know what's coming. The suspense is a pretty big part of the film, and knowing how it's all going to pan out from the get-go might take some of the fun out of it. Maybe wait until the Blu-Ray release is marked down then watch it again.

I liked it, I did. It's visually stunning and has been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey (which, for the record, I thought was abysmally dull and boring), and the plot is such that it's pretty much the sturm to 2001's drang as far as plot devices and good guys/bad guys. The story does hook you in, and you genuinely care for the characters in the film. That's a rare movie that can make you care what happens to the people they've created.

Go see it in the theater, ideally something with a real bitchin' sound system. You'll thank me later.

That is all.

7 comments:

Old NFO said...

It's on my list... in my 'copious' spare time... sigh

Ted said...

You are too young to have seen it in the original context of 1968 and understand just how much of a ground breaking film it was.

At the time, there was no other movie that was remotely close to its impact, with the possible exception of clockwork orange.

I can understand how it would seem overly long if the first time you saw 2001 was on video tape and not in a theater. I'm

Ted said...

Jay..... When 2001 was released we had not yet landed a man on the moon. The space program was still in full go mode. ( ....... And Pam Am was still a high end air carrier. The bell system was still the (only) phone company and Howard johnson's was the primary family restaurant

Ted said...

....... And computers filled large glassed in rooms, run with large decks of punch cards, and you got your printout back the next day. Maybe ......

....... And the USSR were still the only bad guys

LCB said...

Yah know, 2001 is often celebrated for getting the science right. But the other day it occurred to me that one of the central plot devices was just...WRONG. The air line to the helmets was just a clear plastic tube that HAL could easily cut with the pod arms. Uh...that baby would have been insulated and armored!!!!

I saw 2001 during the 70's during a re-release. For a teen it was awe inspiring. But...yeah, the story is S.L.O.W.

Denise said...

I was around in 68, and I can assure you the USSR wasn't the only villain. Ask a Viet Nam vet. But that's neither here nor there. 2001 is a masterpiece according to my husband. I think it is one of the worst movies ever made.

ProudHillbilly said...

Seen "Gravity"?

"2001" is both slooowwww and weirdly engaging. It was stunning for its time, but...