Musings on Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR

InterstellarBannerI’ve been a big fan of Christopher Nolan‘s work, in fact I’ve seen all of his work and they’ve pretty much range from great to fantastic. I’ve been looking forward to Interstellar like most movie fans, but to be honest with you, for whatever reason, a couple of weeks before the film opened and as the hype reaches its tipping point, I started to feel… indifferent. In any case, I went to see it Saturday night anyway and instead of a straight review, this is more of my reaction to the movie… what I like and don’t like about it, so pardon if I’m rambling a bit…

The film is essentially about a small group of people going on a space travel adventure to save mankind. Well that’s the elevator pitch version anyway, but at the heart of it is a father/daughter relationship that transcend through space and time. I don’t remember seeing a specific year mention but the story is set in the future when the earth as we know it is dying, food is scarce as dust bowls continually wipe out farm crops. Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a widower & former NASA test pilot who’s now taking up farming with his father in-law and his two kids, Tom & Murphy. Cooper hasn’t quite given up his space aspiration as when he and his kids spotted a drone flying close by, Cooper gets all giddy and drives through those supposedly precious corn fields to chase after it.

InterstellarStill1[SPOILER ALERT]
I discussed some crucial plot points here, so beware if you haven’t seen the movie

It’s perhaps one of the only truly joyful moment in the film, and it’s obvious that his 10-year-old daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) shares his enthusiasm for science and space. Soon Cooper is reunited again with NASA in its secret hideaway. How did he get there? Well apparently a dust storm through an open window spells out the coordinates of its location in morse code. Say what? Well, that’s just one of the mind-boggling things about this movie and we’re just getting started. When Cooper gets to NASA, the elder professor Brand (played by Michael Caine, natch) tells him of a possible solution to humanity’s crisis and that is they’ve got to find a sustainable planet on the other side and Cooper is the only man for the job. Hmmm, wouldn’t you think that if he’s truly the only person for this crucial mission, NASA would’ve sought him out instead of waiting for him to somehow stumbles into their base? I mean, Cooper lives pretty much just down the road and they know he has the skills to pilot their ship.

Following the NASA encounter, the film doesn’t waste any time to shoot Cooper into space. Discussions about this movie would likely involve wormholes and black holes which frankly go way over my head, but there are a plethora of plot holes as well to contend with. The one I mentioned in the above paragraph is just one example. Apparently famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson have been tweeting about the ‘Mysteries of #Interstellar’ which you can find here. I kept nodding as I read each tweet, especially the one where Cooper cracks his helmet on one of the planet’s he visits and he’s even able to remove his gloves during a fight. Wouldn’t you think the Planet’s air is toxic to the human body??

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Now, plot holes in sci-fi movies are common, in fact, it’s kind of inevitable… I mean it’s ‘fi’ for fiction after all. Interstellar does have the appearance of being grounded in realism however, in fact, Nolan hires a real astrophysicist Kip Thorne in building the Black Hole for the movie and to ensure the depictions of wormholes and relativity are as accurate as possible. But yet, one doesn’t need to be a scientist that a close proximity to the black hole would’ve killed those astronauts instantly and thus that planet being so close to such black hole, which Cooper’s team dub Gargantua, simply cannot exist. I have to admit though, it’s been fun reading about all the stuff that don’t make sense in Interstellar. It seems that with a lot of Nolan’s movies, analyzing it is as fun as watching his movies.

That said, I was more than willing to suspend my disbelief and go along for the ride. And what a ride it was. The imagery and visual effects is nothing short of tremendous. It’s something that I’ve come to expect from Nolan’s team, and they did not disappoint on that front. Everything is so meticulously-crafted. Though I’ve seen a lot of spaceships in other sci-fi films, I’m still in awe looking at all the details of the Endurance ship and all the other set pieces. Instead of his usual collaboration with Wally Pfister (who was busy making his first film Transcendence), we’ve got Hoyte van Hoytema in charge of cinematography. The Dutch-Swedish cinematographer impressed me greatly with his work in HER, but he’s outdone himself here with his astounding work. The earth landscape rivals the beauty of Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, but it’s the visuals of the outer space and the barren alien planets that’s really breathtaking. But whilst the film’s scenery is truly a feast for my eyes, my ears aren’t so lucky. Hans Zimmer‘s score is often so loud to the point of irritation and it drowns out all the dialog, especially during the NASA visit where Brand is giving Cooper a tour. Perhaps it’s intentional, as this article points out, but really, I wouldn’t care about the thematic significance when my ears are hurting, y’know. I listened to the soundtrack later on and really enjoyed it, though I still love his work on Nolan’s Batman films more.

InterstellarStill5Sometimes I feel that perhaps I’m not smart enough to get Nolan’s movies… let alone TWO Nolans working together. Christopher and his brother Jonathan ‘Jonah’ Nolan collaborated on the script as Jonah originally developed it for Steven Spielberg who later passed on the project. To say that Interstellar is discombobulating is quite an understatement. I LOVE using that word whenever I get the chance to, but I don’t necessarily enjoy being in a constant state of bewilderment. The entire sequence involving Matt Damon is completely lost on me, not only did Damon’s casting completely take me out of the movie – “What’s Jason Bourne doing here?” “Wait, is this Elysium 2.o?” – the whole storyline of Dr. Mann wanting to kill Cooper felt preposterous to me. So he goes space crazy, okay… but I really didn’t expect the sudden villain-y scenario here and it’s a subplot I could do without.

I haven’t quite recovered from Mann’s um, riddle and Nolan’s already hit me with another as the film seemingly raced towards the finale once the film passed its two hour mark. I was totally baffled by the sequence of Cooper and the robot TARS inside some kind of a tesseract portal, supposedly built by ‘future us’ [as Cooper said during his frantic mumbling] which implies there’s advanced humans in existence by then who could build such a thing. Suddenly Cooper discovers it’s him who’s actually the *ghost* that haunts Murphy’s and knocks stuff off her bookshelf. There’s too much to digest here that my mind wander a bit, admiring the gorgeous scenery of that fifth dimension portal or whatever the heck that is. The whole time I kept thinking ‘how did they do that?‘ Then suddenly Cooper is floating again in outer space and before you know it, he gets rescued and wakes up in a whole new earth. O-kay…

When I wasn’t scratching my head pretty much the entire time, there were moments that I winced at the constant sobbing scenes that reminds me of Spielberg’s schmaltz-fest War Horse. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t a genuinely emotional moments. I was quite moved by the father/daughter relationship in various points of time, the tearful goodbye and the reunion come to mind, but at times, I felt like I was deluged by over-sentimentality. I don’t know, maybe Nolan felt he’s got a reputation of being a cold or emotionally-detached that he went a bit overboard trying to refute that?

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[End of spoiler section]

Fortunately, the actors are more than up for the task to bring the humanity aspect of this space drama. McConaughey is a convincing everyman here, that I’m willing to overlook his Southern accent playing a character supposedly being from the Midwest. He has an effortless chemistry with Foy who plays his young daughter. My second favorite performance is Jessica Chastain as the older Murphy, not only she resembles Foy but she carries the same sensibilities and stubbornness displayed in her younger self. I’ve never been a big fan of Anne Hathaway but I think she acquits herself well, even delivering such a such a mawkish speech as “Love is the one thing that we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space” referring to her long lost love Dr. Edmund who went on a previous NASA mission. I’ve mentioned how I feel about Matt Damon above, I really wish they’d cast someone less famous & less ubiquitous than him. Michael Caine is always reliable, though they totally botched the aging process of his character [aka he basically doesn’t age at all in 23 years!]. John Lithgow and Ellen Burstyn both delivered a memorable performance despite their brief screen time.

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The longer I mull over it, the more I feel that Interstellar is a film I appreciate but not love. It’s not because it’s too confusing because I have loved other films I don’t completely understand, Nolan’s own Inception being one of them. It’s just that in the end, I just don’t feel as much connection with any of the characters and their journey. Despite all that crying in the film, overall the film didn’t tug my heartstrings as much as I had hoped. Heck I was more affected by the relationship of the robot Baymax and its protagonist Hiro in Big Hero 6, that movie was so joyful and emotional all at the same time. Speaking of robots, I thought TARS is a hoot and perhaps as memorable as any of the human characters. And hey, for once the robots are actually loyal to the humans whilst the main enemy of man is ‘Mann’, get it? 😉

The film has been called overly-ambitious and that its intellectual reach exceeds its grasp. I can’t refute either of those points, but I still have to give props to Nolan for making something bold and audaciously cerebral. I’m not just talking about dazzling us with jaw-dropping visuals but in the way he challenges viewers with stupendous and imaginative ideas. I appreciate that Nolan never asks us to ‘check our brain at the door’ or dumb stuff down to make things more digestible. But at the same time, there is also such a thing as having too many ideas and themes to process in a single film. There’s perhaps enough substance here to warrant say, a miniseries. The movie is nearly 3 hours long but it’s still not enough time to focus on one of those ideas, the result is sensory overload that threatens to suck the joy out of what’s supposed to be a piece of entertainment. I might revisit this film again later when it’s out for rental and perhaps I’d have a different opinion then.

Interstellar_TARSThis is one of the longest musings I’ve done in a movie, which is funny as I originally wanted to do a mini review of it but it proved to be impossible as there’s so much to say. Despite my gripes and what a lot of reviewers have said that it’s a beautiful-but-flawed film, I still urge you to see it. It’s the kind of film that’s meant to be seen in as big a screen as possible, as some of the sequences shot using IMAX camera are simply stunning. However you feel after you see it, Interstellar is still a worthwhile experience and it also makes for a fun discussion/reading afterwards. The Nolan brothers are certainly one of the most powerful siblings working in Hollywood today. Even if this one isn’t quite a masterpiece, they’re still a force to be reckoned with and I still look forward to what Chris Nolan will come up with next.

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So, that’s my thoughts on Interstellar. Do you agree/disagree? I’d love to hear what you think!

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83 thoughts on “Musings on Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR

    1. Hey, thanks for being the first commenter here 😉 Glad you agree, this movie is quite polarizing amongst bloggers. I REALLY want to love this but there are just too many things that bug me. Still it’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen, most of Nolan movies are that way.

  1. Ted S.

    Nice write up Ruth.

    Despite its script issues, I think the Nolan brothers needs to get another pair of eyes to read their script in the future, I still think it’s one of the best sci-fi films ever made. This film was basically Nolan’s love letter to Kubrick’s 200: A Space Odyssey, I mean every space scenes just screams see how I’m imitating Kubrick! That film also got trashed by most big named critics at that time but now it’s considered one of the best sci-fi films ever made. I’m not saying Interstellar is on that list, let’s give it 10 to 20 years from now and see how it will be remembered. Also, it’s going to be Nolan’s first big budget flop. I’m quite surprised that the studios gave him so much money to make this film because it’s not an action picture.

    As far plot holes, I tends to not care about those kind of things, if I start picking apart movies’ plotholes then I won’t enjoy many of the films I’ve seen in the past, lol.

    BTW, there are great discussions about this film on Quora, a lot of doctors and scientist actually loved it. Here’s a good one: http://www.quora.com/What-do-physicists-think-about-Interstellar-2014-Movie

    1. I haven’t seen 2001 so I can’t comment on that but I’ve read that others have said how similar it is to Kubrick’s film. You think it’s gonna be a flop? It may not make as much as the Batman films but I’d think it’d still turn a healthy profit.

      Well the plot holes are pretty glaring that it distracted me as I was watching it. That part about Cooper stumbled into NASA and being told ‘he’s the one’ whilst he’s living so close is just silly. I also hated Damon’s casting, that was an eye-rolling moment for me even before he became a a-hole! I have other quibbles about TDKR too in terms of plot holes but I’m willing to overlook ’em if there are other things that somehow make up for them. I don’t feel that way about this one, overall I just wasn’t wowed by it. Oh I’m sure there are doctors and scientists who love it, though I’m willing to bet there are probably as many who have issues w/ it.

      1. Ted S.

        I’ll be surprised if it makes more than $130mil here in the States, worldwide it might reach $300mil. So yeah it will be small profit for the studio but with The Hunger Games opening soon and the so-so reviews and a lot of people seems to hate the film, it will be Nolan’s first “flop”.

        I actually anticipated someone famous to show up as Mann, didn’t expect to see Jason Bourne though, but it didn’t bother me at all. I think his character was put in there just to have a “villain”, here’s where I think the studio might have interfered with the production. They probably “asked” Nolan to include some kind of an antagonist for the film’s climax. Of course I’m just assuming here.

        1. Hunger Games is not gonna open for another week so this weekend this film might still be able to retain its #2 spot. I’m surprised that it didn’t even make #1 on opening weekend but animated features are hugely popular w/ the kids, esp something as good as Big Hero 6 that adults also love.

          Given my quibbles, I don’t get the hate for the film. I mean it’s still a unique and absolutely stunning film, so there’s still a lot to appreciate even if one doesn’t love it. It’s possible Damon’s casting & character arc could be studio meddling. Good that it didn’t bother you but as he’s sobbing on McConaughey’s shoulder, I immediately thought of Damon’s impersonation of him on Letterman and so that’s another thing that took me out of the movie. The visuals have the immersive quality, but some of the plots are quite a distraction to me, which is never a good thing.

  2. I enjoyed the film yet the third act was quite clunky. Especially Matt Damon’s appearance which I felt wasn’t really necessary as it made the film conventional in order to heighten the drama.

    1. Yep I really could do without the Matt Damon’s storyline. Maybe I’d like it more if they cast an unknown, but still that subplot is not necessary at all as there’s already plenty going on in this film that could’ve been explored instead of that.

  3. Good review, you managed to cover a lot of aspects of the film Ruth! I too was confused by the plot hole you mention with Cooper early in the film, it took me out of the experience for some minutes. The production design and locations are great though. I’ll share my thoughts on Interstellar at the end of Nov

    1. Ahah, that’s why it took me like 3 days to write this as I kept thinking of a new thing to include 🙂 I wasn’t as bothered by the baffling science stuff as I was w/ the Cooper thing, it’s like ‘WTF? They actually knew who he is??’ LOL Hey, shoot me a link when you’re done w/ your review, why do you delay it until end of Nov?

  4. You begin to sound like TARS, Ruth 🙂 nice points you discuss here, but the only part I cannot agree more is Matt Damon part—I’m quite happy with David Gyasi and Wes Bentley in the cast (bringing new colour stream to Nolan’s movie)—but a chubby Matt Damon might be out of place.
    Nolan has acknowledged the plot hole, too, yet I believed there’s a reason why he put that there.

    1. Ahah, I take that as a compliment Paskalis 😉 Actually we are in complete agreement about Damon, I did NOT like his casting here at all, I prefer that Nolan cast someone lesser known in the vein of Gyasi and Bentley. He acknowledged the plot holes? Really? Where did you read that?

      1. Thats a compliment anyway 🙂 (unless we also have CASE here)
        Yeah, Fat Damon (with aluminum foil suit—make him look like Liberace in Behind the Candelabra)
        I doubt, but, I read it somewhere in screenrant

  5. Tom

    It must have been quite the daunting process for the Nolan brothers putting this one together. I applaud them for reaching so very high in Interstellar, but I’m with you Ruth; there are some things about this movie that didn’t quite jive for me. The third act, while stunningly complex and actually even poetic, ended up becoming more a big convoluted solution to an internal issue presented within this story. In other words, Murphy’s “ghost” story, and how Cooper wound up going back in time was disappointing to me on the level that it didn’t quite broaden the implications of the theory of relativity. The fact that his actions in the present/future affected his distraught daughter’s past life was conveniently addressed for Nolan’s purposes, but I was really going into this with high intellectual expectations. I wanted to see this story extrapolated to all of humanity.

    I thought the black hole part was pretty interestingly handled. That weird room he was contained in with TARS was basically all of the possible outcomes that could have or might have happened on the day that he left Murphy for space. He was instead stuck looking at that one option for infinity. That concept is really damn cool. But it was indeed clunky and didn’t work as well as it could have.

    Great review, sorry for the ridiculously long comment hahah

    1. Hello Tom! Yeah the Nolans surely never lacking in ambition, ahah. I just think it’s too much for one film and whether they want to admit it or not, the plot holes are definitely there. Intriguing concepts all around, but perhaps at the expense of good ‘ol storytelling?

      Hey, I enjoy long comments, so no need to be sorry! 😀

  6. I’m definitely in the minority thinking that Nolan has created possibly his best work to date, well, at least lived up to his name, but you’ve definitely hit the nail on the head in regards to the film’s visual spectacle and overall experience, it must be seen in the biggest, loudest theatre possible. Excellent stuff!

    1. Hey Joseph! I think a lot of people agree w/ you, there seems to be as many who love this than those who don’t. It’s hard to say if it’s his *best* work, I mean in terms of spectacle and epic scale, yes, but in terms of storytelling and emotional engagement? Not really.

  7. Interesting musings Ruth, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I’m still not sure what to make of the film but I keep thinking if I was making it myself I cut about an hour out of it just start from the launch into space and have the character’s relationships with their families done through the video messages and just focus on exploring the worm hole and visiting as many planets as possible. I also couldn’t thinking, as beautiful as that Black Hole was, they wouldn’t get anywhere near it without getting obliterated. Not even light can escape a Black Hole so it’s unbelievable that they could hover above it like Cooper did. I liked but it wasn’t the film I hoped it would be, which I find is my reaction to most of Nolan’s films, except the Dark Knight which is as near to flawless as you can get with that kind of movie.

    1. Hi ya Ronan! Yeah I’d probably try to keep it just a little over 2 hrs but Nolan’s always keen on long movies. I think his Batman films are the longest of all other superhero movies right? To be fair though, the third act actually made me forget about the running time a bit, maybe ’cause I was busy trying to figure out just what the heck is going on, ahah. Yep, the whole surviving the blackhole thing is definitely fantastical, which is fine if Nolan didn’t attempt to make it *realistic* by hiring a physicist and all that. I agree though TDK is darn near flawless.

  8. Great work here Ruth! While I enjoyed this more than you did, there were some things that were flawed, and others that were done wonderfully. Nolan delivered another great film, no two ways about it. Even if just for the visuals, this movie is totally worth checking out, but it leaves you with quite a bit to chew over when all is said and done.

    1. Hi Zoë! There’s definitely a lot to chew on afterwards, for better or worse, ahah. We agree the visuals are amazing though, and yeah definitely worth the price of admission!

  9. Thanks for this write-up (i skipped the spoiler section – thanks for the note!). I still want to see this film but this sounds like a real honest take on a ‘grand scale’ film. Well done – I’ve felt similar reactions when seeing some of Tarkovsky’s old classics like Solaris and even Kubrick’s 2001. Sounds like this might be in-between those 2 – with 2001 criticized for lacking humanity and Solaris ‘nearer’ the other end of the spectrum.

    1. Ahah well I’m always careful about spoilers 🙂 I think despite the flaws it’s still a unique and worthwhile piece of cinema. I still wish they hadn’t cast Damon, I think that’s probably one of my main beefs about it.

    2. Ted S.

      Hey Vince, Nolan definitely made a homage to Kubrick’s 2001 and some stuff from Tarkovsky’s Solaris but I thought he burrowed/stole more of the elements from Stalker, not sure if you’ve seen that one from Tarkovsky. It’s definitely ambitious and even though it never really reach its goal, it’s quite an accomplishment by today’s standards. I mean people complain about reboots, sequels, remakes and superheros in today’s movies; here Nolan actually tried to make an “original” film and I thought he succeeded and then some.

      Funny thing is both of Kubrick’s and Tarkovsky’s films were quite divisive when they came out and now many consider them sci-fi masterpieces. I’m not saying Interstellar is on that level yet, but let’s see how it will be remember in about 20-30 years from now. But you SHOULD see it on the biggest screen you can find, preferably on a real IMAX. It looks spectacular!

        1. Ted S.

          I think you’ll like Stalker if you enjoy other Tarkovksy’s films, it’s very unusual sci-fi picture. Surprisingly Nolan said in an interview that another film influenced him was Warren Beatty’s Reds. I think the film will be playing on the IMAX for a few more weeks before the new Hobbit film opens.

  10. Yeah I saw this with my boyfriend today who is a total Nolan fanboy and even he had apologetic look on his face when the lights came up. The first two hours were so boring and that bookshelf thing was so ridiculous. Damon’s scenes were such a waste of time and they were so stupid. For me the score and cinematography were so forgettable – the only thing in the film that was memorable for me was the sequence of docking to spinning Endurance. The ending was lovely but they should have stuck to original script to make it a romance between Coop and Amelia. Matt was aces though – such an honest performance and he had this silly script to work with

    1. Hello Sati! Hey you never mentioned about your boyfriend before 😉 Ahah so he didn’t love this one either I take it? Yeah it’s quite boring in parts, it kind of struggled to get going and when it did it was way too confusing. Yep, I didn’t care for Damon’s casting and his whole storyline is so pointless. Oh yeah that whole docking thing is pretty cool and quite suspenseful. I know you’re disappointed about the lack of gravity-defying sex scene, but I think Nolan seems uninterested in portraying sex on film, practically nonexistent in his films. The only one I could think of was the brief one between Bale & Cotillard in TDKR. Matt is very good here, I could see why Nolan cast him after seeing Mud.

      1. Fuck no, he loves it, he thinks Nolan does no wrong. The apologetic look was to me for dragging me to see it in the first place, but he admitted ‘it was not Nolan’s best’.

        I think sex is something that requires actual emotion and Nolan strikes me as someone who is a bland robot with pompous ego, it really shows when he has the audacity to show stuff as ridiculous as that bookshelf thing.

        1. Aiyah, so he LOVES it? Hmmm, well good thing he felt bad about dragging you. My hubby and I looked at each other when the movie ended and we kind of shrugged. Come to think of it, I think my 3.5 rating is a bit TOO generous, it’s more like a 3 at best.

          Nolan seems to be more interested in *science* and *big ideas* than exploring real emotion. Well, I think Interstellar won’t be as big a hit compared to his other films so maybe that might cool his ego down a bit.

  11. Nice “musings” there Ruth! LOL more a review than anything. I still haven’t seen this film (so I didn’t read your spoilers – thanks for the warning) but I’m annoyed that a three-hour movie doesn’t accomplish all it sets out to. Perhaps Nolan needed a more potent editor on this thing to really rip the fat out. I don’t know, seems like he’s stretching to accomplish a goal but can’t see his own limitations?

    1. Hey Rodney! I figure some people haven’t seen this so I’m always careful about spoilers in my review. I really think Nolan is a bit (or a lot) indulgent here, I could totally see at least 40 min being trimmed, heck the entire scene involving a famous actor is so pointless anyway.

      1. It’s the old Hollywood truism coming back again – once a director gets some power, it goes to his head and he starts to think he’s better than he is. Razor-sharp editing and budget-conscious Nolan, the guy who make Insomnia, Memento and The Prestige, was a great director. The post-Batman era Nolan appears to be a bloated, “I can do anything” shadow of his former self. Nolan should touch base with Peter Jackson – they’ve both incurred the same symptoms of Hollywood studios giving them whatever they want.

        1. Hi Rodney, yeah I think there might’ve been a bit of overindulgence and overconfidence going on w/ Nolan here. As for PJ, he’s also the producer of the Hobbit movies right, and he own WETA so I feel that he naturally have more power to do whatever he wants.

          Well it seems that Interstellar might not be as huge a hit as the studio expected so maybe that’ll tone down Nolan’s ego a bit.

  12. I didn’t read the review because I plan to watch it on December (if it’s still in the cinema by then) but only 3.5? now I wonder. I didn’t like the trailer, it’s not interesting at all…but it’s Nolan so I am curious. 3.5 for Nolan is quite surprising. I am now curious and curiouser.

  13. I haven’t seen the film yet so avoided reading your spoiler section but I was interested to see you say it is a film you appreciate but do not love. Perhaps, with this sort of film, and Nolan’s in general, they actually grow on you. I know I’ve enjoyed each of his films even more on second viewing and maybe Interstellar will be the same. Hopefully, I’m seeing it for the FIRST time, next week.

    1. Hi Dan! I really don’t know if this movie will grow on me as I’m not even sure when I’ll see it again. I’d rather see Nolan’s other movies, I mean Inception was confusing in parts but still way more entertaining. Curious to hear what you think, Dan!

      1. Having read more and more reviews of this it definitely seems like a divisive film. A real love or hate piece of work. Perhaps Nolan’s reputation and the build-up to the movie has hampered it somewhat.

  14. Heh, don’t worry about being long winded, my own “review” turned out in similar fashion, of me mainly just musing on things here and there, so much so that I actually forgot to talk about the cast when I originally posted it and had to tack on a small section about them after the fact. 😛 But yeah, this certainly is an interesting one. I’ve actually heard a lot of people also complaining about the Matt Damon stuff, and while to an extent I kinda agree, that whole scenario also leads to probably my favorite scene in the movie (the spinning spaceships), so, you know, I’m kind of okay with its inclusion, if for only that reason, ha! But man, there’s just so much to discuss when it comes to this movie, it’s almost overwhelming. But in any event, hell, here I am rambling again in your comments section, haha. Nice review, Ruth. 🙂

    1. Hey Chris! I’ll check out your review later today. Yeah there’s so much to talk about in Interstellar, I feel that there are things I forgot to mention as well. The spinning spaceships are cool indeed, and I guess I might not mind the ‘Mann’ storyline so much if he’s played by a lesser-known actor.

    1. TARS is awesome, I agree w/ you on that. I think the concept is great too, albeit too ambitious and I think the execution doesn’t quite live up to that. But that’s just me 🙂

  15. Good review, agree with most of your points. I have a theory- it clearly feels like two three-hour movies cut down to one, and that’s why it doesn’t make much sense- the details are in the three hours that were cut out. So imagine there was two films. The first film dealt mostly with the situation on Earth and ended on the mother of all cliffhangers as they entered the wormhole, with a second movie dealing with everything after (what will they find, will they save Earth etc).

    We get three Hobbit movies, two of which we don’t need, and one Interstellar that has story and sub-plots enough for two movies. Something wrong there.

    1. Hi ghostof82! Welcome to FC and thanks for such an awesome comment! Amen to all you said here, I definitely think there are TOO MUCH for one film as Nolan didn’t want to leave a single idea left behind, ahah. Ahah, I quite like the Hobbit movies but I see what you’re saying.

  16. Great review. I wasn’t a fan of the film, though. Have you read Mark Hobin’s review? I think it echoes my sentiments perfectly. Thought it went on forever and couldn’t connect emotionally. Anne Hathaway was my favorite thing about it.

    1. Hi Fernando! Nope I haven’t read Hobin’s review, I doubt he’s read mine either. So I guess we’re in agreement as well then, 3.5/5 is not exactly a high praise, ahah. And come to think of it, I might be a bit generous. Interesting that Hathaway is your fave, for me I like Chastain more between the two female stars.

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  18. I am really quite torn on this one. There were some huge plot contrivances and the script was excellent brilliant, but the ambition of the whole thing kinda won me over. The visuals were fantastic and I liked that it went utterly bonkers in the final third. I could have done without it all being nicely tied up in the end. I would have preferred him floating around in space or something. Really interesting read Ruth.

    1. Hi Chris! I think we pretty much agree, there are things to appreciate and marvel at, but as a whole, I don’t think the film achieves *greatness* because of the plot contrivances. We’ll see how this one would fare years down the road but right now it’s far from being my fave Nolan film.

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  20. Hey there, Ruth! I feel like you touched on a lot of good points, so much so that I feel like I’d need to write my own post on it versus leaving an insanely long comment in response to your musings. I did agree with a lot of what you had to say, and I actually really enjoyed this article from EW (you may have already seen it) that is really funny about asking questions from the film: http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/11/08/interstellar-plot-holes/.

    The score was actually one of my favorite parts of the film, despite it sometimes being a little overpowering. It just felt so powerful that it matched the vastness of the film. It’s one of my favorite Hans Zimmer scores yet!

    I agree that there’s some disconnect with the characters, and I second your point on sensory overload. I hope to write my own post on the film in the next week or so. Your musings have definitely helped me think more about what I saw. It’s definitely one of those films I feel like you have to mull over before writing down what you thought of it.

    Oh, and my last comment – according to Matt, who is a HUGE sci-fi film, he wasn’t all that surprised with Matt Damon’s character. Apparently, that is a regular occurrence in sci-fi TV and film, so he didn’t see to be taken off-guard by it. I just thought it was interesting coming from the perspective of a very big sci-fi viewer and fan.

    1. Hi there Kris, sorry for the tardy reply. Glad that you’ve written your own ‘musings’ on this film. Ahah yeah, that EW article is one of the ones I read after I saw the film, this is another good one: http://www.vulture.com/2014/11/21-things-in-interstellar-that-dont-make-sense.html

      I like the score when I listened it outside of the film. I just didn’t like it when it plays over the dialog as it’s VERY distracting when you’re trying to discern what they’re talking about.

      Oh interesting that Matt didn’t think Damon’s character was surprising. I guess I wasn’t so much surprised by it as much as I’m annoyed by the casting and also the fact that the segment felt more rushed to me than others. I dunno, maybe once I re-watch this again I might feel differently about it.

  21. Stu

    Evening! I read a bit of this the other day but came back now that I’ve finally seen the film to read the spoiler paras as well. I’m pretty much in agreement with you on all points. I did like bits of it (some of the space scenes looked really good) but I also found myself losing the will when all the tesseract / black hole stuff took place near the end, and too many drawn out emotional scenes took their toll after a while. Overall not a bad film, but completely overhyped for months on end beforehand which really doesn’t help matters when it is finally released for people to see. I thought the appearance of Damon was completely pointless – there’s thousands and thousands of decent actors out there looking for a job or a big break…it didn’t work for me.

    1. Hi Stu! Sounds like we’re on the same page about this one. The hype machine tend to go on overdrive when it comes to Nolan’s movies, this one included! Yep, totally with you about Damon casting, seriously, Hollywood is such an elite club and Nolan tends to reuse the same actors over and over again when the roles could’ve been filled by potentially better actors.

  22. Really enjoyed reading your thoughts Ruth. As you know by now I enjoyed this film quite a bit more. In fact I absolute loved it. It left me in awe during some moments and extremely emotional during others. Here’s just a few responses:

    I get what you’re saying about Cooper and Murph finding the underground “bunker” but as I recall there was a time-lapse sequence that showed them driving a few days to get there. That said it did seem like Brand wasn’t all that surprised to see Cooper. Possible plot holes like that still never took me out of the experience. And maybe I was to wrapped in the other things the film was doing to notice others.

    I’m sure there are a lot of people smarter than me who could pick apart the science. I’m glad I was in the dark on certain aspects of it. But even then I never found myself trying to question it because I bought into the characters’ faith in their theories and ideas. In the context of sci-fi it worked for me but I guess I can see those who are deeply passionate about science struggling with that.

    My initial reaction to the Mann sub-plot was the same as yours, but it quickly changed. A lot of good and vital information came out of those sequences which I felt really enhanced the story. As for Damon’s casting, I thought he was good and didn’t think anything of it during the movie. But I can definitely see were you’re coming from now.

    The sentimentality thing is interesting. I really think Nolan nails what Spielberg often blunders. Interstellar is sentimental but I thought in the best way. I thought every reaction that the characters had were genuine and natural. I think I really connected the most with Cooper. As a father I can feel every single emotion he was exuding especially considering the gravity of what he doing and the consequences of it.

    Oops, I just realized how much bloviating I’ve done. Sorry for the excessive ramble. This is just a great movie the talk about, debate, and ponder. 😀

    1. Hi there Keith! Sorry it took me a while to respond. I was gonna reply yesterday ago but got sidetracked. LOVE your long, passionate comment. No need to apologize, I think it’s awesome that a movie can spark such fervent discussions 😀

      Hey I’m glad you loved it and the fact that the film resonated with you emotionally, I could see why you love this more than I did. In regards to plot holes, sometimes I’m not as bothered by ‘em if the film connected with me emotionally. I don’t feel that’s the case here. Plus, that part about Cooper finding the bunker was a huge enough blunder that I kept shaking my head in bafflement. The science-y part is quite tough to follow to begin with, then the Mann subplot just makes my head spin. Damon’s casting certainly doesn’t help matters. I think if Nolan had cast an unknown it would’ve kept me more engrossed in the story rather than being distracted by his appearance.

      The more I think about it now that it’s been over a week since I saw the film, the sentimentality bothers me less and less. I think the relationship between Cooper and his daughter is explored quite well and both parts are well-acted when she’s a young kid and as an adult.

      In all, I think it’s a good film and again, I admire Nolan’s ambition in making this. I wish I had liked it more, but maybe I’ll feel differently once I see it again. Not sure when though, as right now, there are so many other things I’d rather watch again than Interstellar.

      1. And it’s not like it’s a quick watch. You have to set aside 3 hours just to see it again. That’s the predicament I am in. I really want to see it again but I don’t know if I have three hours to spare considering the other films I need to see.

        1. That’s right! It ended up being over 3 hrs w/ all the trailers when I saw it on the big screen, too. But I remember I wasn’t fond of The Prestige the first time I saw it, but upon rewatch, I enjoyed it a lot more. So I definitely will do the same when it’s out on Bluray.

          Btw, have a blessed Thanksgiving, Keith! Thanks again for your awesome comment. Hope all is well w/ you & your family.

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  24. Having seen it yesterday, there is still a lot for me to digest before I give an appropriate opinion on Interstellar, which I hope to do with a review.
    Going back to the points you make, there is a lot I agree with, such as Michael Caine’s obvious lack of aging, or McConaughey’s southern accent when he is supposed to be from the Midwest. However, it’s unlikely that we will agree on other points, such as the physics behind the Black Hole and the planets (they clearly state that these planets are far enough from the hole’s gravitational pull). I think the confusion on that point comes from the fact that the film makes it seem as if traveling from one of those planets to the black hole is quick, which in theory would take months, maybe years. There is no indication that the travels did not take that long, or that it was fast. The film is ambiguous about that and rightly so.
    Though I agree with Matt Damon’s casting being a weird choice, I don’t share your perplexity as to why he was a villain type. The main point the film makes about “Mann” is that, unlike his fellow explorers, he acted selfishly, jeopardizing the success of the future mission by sending out a signal which made the team believe that his planet was habitable when it was not. Mann talks a lot about “survival instinct”, and he explains that when faced with the certainty of death, he knew the only way he could ever hope to live on was to send that signal. If his deceit was revealed then he would have likely faced the anger of the rescue crew, left in the planet or jailed upon his return. In his mind it was better to abandon them (the witnesses) and save himself. Not to mention there was probably a little bit of space madness going on on top of it all.

    I think I liked Interstellar a little bit more than you but it is in no way as successful as Inception when it comes to Nolan’s sci-fi pursuits.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  25. I have a few problems with it as well, but I was overwhelmed when I first saw it. At one point it was in my top 5 of the year. Now it’s barely in my top 10. I plan on seeing it again soon, and hopefully it’ll remind me how awesome I found it a few weeks ago. 🙂

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  28. Josh

    When you KNOW that you have not fully understood a movie — as is clearly the case here — how do you allow yourself to actually write a review of it?? This I truly don’t get. Overweening hubris, I guess. And Ruth, you didn’t just “not understand” this movie — it’s clear from your review that you didn’t get ANY PART OF IT, in any significant way. You didn’t understand why Mann does what he does. You didn’t understand the emotionality you saw. You don’t know how or why Cooper gets “saved” near the end. And on and on. Shame on you for having the unbelievable nerve to actually “write a review” about something you totally failed to comprehend. At the very least, if you HAD to write a review, you should have gone to see the movie a second time. Maybe then the key parts of the film would have made some sense to you. It’s a shame people like you get to voice your ignorance publicly.

    1. No, it is not a shame. It’s called freedom of expression and it’s what you are doing writing your rude and idiotic comment here. Ah the “emotionality” of Mann! The space bookshelf! The guy surviving being sucked into a wormhole! Oh bless us, the genius of Nolan!

      1. Josh

        There’s nothing wrong with voicing an opinion. There’s plenty wrong if you admit, as Ruth did, that you don’t understand the thing you’re writing about.

    2. So Josh in your world, if someone didn’t enjoy the same film as you did, they don’t “get it” right? How dare Ruth to express HER opinion on HER blog, just like you and I we have OUR opinion about films. Heck I loved this film but I respect other people’s opinion for not enjoying it. Shame on Ruth for expressing her opinion? She gave reasons why she didn’t enjoy the film and I’m quite sure she “got it”. Heck I didn’t like a lot of films that other thinks are great, Shawshank Redemption, Jaws, Forrest Gump and I assume you’ll say I didn’t “get” those films right?

      Josh since apparently you understood this film so well, I hope you’ll come back and explain the whole plot to the people who didn’t “get it”. I mean really explain in your own words and not what was said in the film.

      1. Josh

        The reasons Ruth gave for not liking the film included admission that she didn’t understand its key parts. And no, she should not have the “right” to publish a negative opinion if she did not understand what she was seeing. When she realized that she didn’t get it, she could have decided that the filmmakers were morons — as she did — and that the film was therefore bad — or she could have seen it again, asked others about it, tried harder to figure out those parts she didn’t understand the first time around. The latter course would have been reasonable; the former — the one she took — was not. It was disgusting, actually.

      2. Josh

        tsayda3700: If you have any specific question(s) about the movie, I’m happy to respond in full. It doesn’t seem reasonable to me to “explain the whole plot.”

    3. Well Josh, it seems that you totally got EVERYTHING about Interstellar and all the emotionality of it, good for you! Perhaps you could enlighten all of us lowly bloggers here about all the science of the film? It appears though from your comment that you don’t get the nature of a blog post, which is an OPINION piece that is subjective and personal. Last time I check there, is no wrong or right way in how you analyze a film, and there is no shame in voicing one’s opinion in a respectful manner in one’s own space in the blogosphere. If you are going to call every opinion that’s different from yours ignorant and shameful, well I don’t know how you even go through life with that kind of myopic perspective. Oh and really, one does NOT need to see a film more than once to form an opinion about it, just like you likely don’t need to taste a piece of food twice in order to discern whether it’s sweet or salty.

  29. Josh

    You are completely wrong, Ruth. One DOES need to see a film more than once if one did not understand its key element(s) the first time. Alternatively, or additionally, one could ask others about things that didn’t make sense. And yes, there IS a wrong way to express your opinion — namely: when that opinion is based on your inability to comprehend what you saw. Obviously, you chose — in an incredible display of hubris — to assume the filmmakers were just stupid, and that they made a stupid film. But you could have worked a little harder to figure out what you didn’t understand. You failed to do that (and btw, you’re not the only one) and therefore, your opinion is meaningless. Worse, it’s misleading, and founded on…. well…. density (for lack of a better description).

    If there’s anything SPECIFIC about Interstellar you would like me to explain, or discuss, I am happy do that for you. I won’t, however, just repeat the script. I.e., I’m willing to respond in full to any specific question about the movie.

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