I saw Interstellar two days ago.
I enjoyed it. I really did. It was beautiful and interesting. But I wasn’t blown away. In fact, some parts of it actually made me cringe.
There are many great things to say about the movie. Sadly there are a few obviously bad ones that are made worse by the fact that Nolan really should have known better. He is better.
Here, in summary, are my 10 first impressions. Before I forget them.
(WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
1. TARS and CASE are the real MVPs
2. The scenes of space are beautiful. Stunningly so. The visual representation of a wormhole, the stark wilderness of alien planets, the curvature of space-time, the almost-impossible-to-imagine look of a black hole, it is all amazing to see on screen.
3. At some point, it devolved into a hackneyed horror movie tropefest. I mean, we had: One dreamy white male lead, a hot girl, a black guy, and some comic relief. They go to spacecraft in a stark wilderness (a cabin in the woods … but in space). They get attacked/killed off one by one. Black guy dies first. Hot girl survives. Dreamy white man almost dies but doesn’t. Shows up to save the day. Need I say more?
4. It is in many ways, a mirror image of Kubrick’s 2001: A space Odyssey.
5. It is in many ways, nothing like Kubrick’s 2001: A space Odyssey.
6. OK. I’ll explain. Its as though Nolan took the very deliberate and thoughtful 2001, mirror imaged it and then attached a cheesy, emotion laden story onto it. (I actually recognized references and scene sort-of-reproductions from 2001 in Interstellar, also TARS and CASE are almost the exact opposite of HAL 9000 and… there is a lot more. You can read a direct comparison here). And while that might have worked well if the cheese had been minimized, there is too much of it. The movie works. Don’t get me wrong. It has heart, but arguably too much heart.
7. Professor Brand’s deception at the end about his magic ‘equation’ was an absolutely pointless and unnecessary plot twist. It also wasn’t handled very well. It would have been fine as a simple go-to-find-new-planet-and-come-back movie. (it would have also been shorter)
8. Absolutely loved both the fact and the way that they showed how gravity (and also velocity) can distort time. Also, the silence in space. And the exact timing of achieving zero-G as well as the way centrifugal force is used to create artificial gravity. Also loved the way they showed the curvature of space. And the huge tidal waves on the planet next to the Black hole. Basically, I loved (most of) the depiction of correct science in the film. (Neil Degrasse Tyson comments on the science of it here)
9. There was only one woman on the mission, a brilliant and thoughtful scientist by all standards up until the point where they make her have a stupid, pointless and irrational argument about wanting to go to a planet because she is in love with the man there? Really? You had one woman, only one woman. Did she really have to be a trope?
10. It made me think. A lot. About the physics of it. About the meaning of it. About the motifs and the art of it. I’m still thinking. And that is how I know I enjoyed it.
I’d happily recommend it.