Interstellar

“INTERSTELLAR”

Well guys I am back from India and raring to go. I was so looking forward to getting back into the cinema. At the time of this publication on my review, I have only been back in the UK for five days, so I was a bit pressed to get to a cinema to see this film, and fortunately I have managed to do it and I am pleased to say I am relatively happy with it.

I chose Interstellar for a review a long time before the hype first started for the film, purely on the fact that this film was directed by Christopher Nolan, who has done films in the past that I have really enjoyed, such as, ‘Inception’, ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. However in recent memory his films have leaned more towards misses than hits, much recent examples being ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Man of Steel’, even though with that film he only had a Producers credit. But I thought that there was some possibility that this film could be a good come back and I would say on a lot of levels it probably is!

Once again we are going to start with the plot. With this film Christopher Nolan has set the film in and Earth that has been drastically been affected with what I am assuming is climate change (the film never does quite establish the context of what is causing problems on earth), and that new life can only exist on a new planet which can support human’s, thus what remains of NASSA, recruits a former pilot played by Matthew McConnaghy to lead a mission to find a new planet. Beyond that the film has a few twists and turns to the plot which I won’t spoil here as I do think this film is worth a watch, but, needles to say the plot does its job for the most parts.

The film kind of suffers a bit towards the end because couple of the twists at that point are a bit more confusing, don’t make much sense and are very convenient, compared to a lot of other ways the film could have possibly ended. Overall though the plot is fairly decent and will not be too difficult for people to follow. Also give credit to Nolan in the fact that he doesn’t add too many sub-plots like a lot of his previous films have done. I also believe his dialogue has drastically improved since ‘Man of Steele’.

The biggest fault with ‘Man of Steel’ was, that the dialogue didn’t allow the characters to be characters, they were just kind of propping up the weight of the movie, and whilst a bit of that does exist here, these characters have much more natural dialogue than known Super Hero Movies. McConnaghy is a very believable loving father. Michael Caine seems like a man who still believes that humanity is worth saving and for the most part the characters are put to decent use. It’s not a s good as, I will say, Pride, where every character was put to great use, but those are two completely different films, so the comparison probably isn’t that fair. The film also builds tension really well this film feels like a race against time with the time difference between the planets and it is hammered in a lot to keep you engaged.

Most importantly, this film just feels like a fairly decent Sci Fi Script and I think that’s all it needed to be. With that said, lets move on to the Acting.

Most of the actors do a pretty decent job. A couple of the supporting cast don’t do as well, but I don’t think they are given that much to do so as a result they can’t really flex their acting muscles either way. The only performance I wasn’t really in to was the guy who did the voice of the ‘AI’ for the ship, who I felt was really just doing an impression of Hal from 2001, most of the time and Anne Hathaway, who I’m not someone who jumps on the ‘let’s hate Anne Hathaway bus’, but I really think in this movie she is not really going to sway much of her ’haters’. She’s not bad, she just doesn’t put 100% into it, although I do think she is trying!

The child actors do pretty decent performance’s as well and I enjoyed Jessica Chastian, although I can’t really go too far into what her role is as it will spoil a bit of the film later on, just trust me that she does a good job! Michael Caine is as good as ever, although I think Nolan is relying a bit too heavily on him and he is getting a bit typecast in these films. The only other actor I had a bit of a problem with was Casey Affleck, but that is more down to his character during the writing than it was actually his performance. I think he was given a bit of bad direction, because he does seem to shift back and forth in what role he is supposed to be playing.

So overall, decent acting, could do a lot worse, but again could have been done better, and give credit though as this is another Matthew McConnaghy performance this year that I actually enjoyed (the other being, Dallas Buyers Club).

If I can take it back to the plot for a bit, one of the things I was concerned about with this film was it’s length. This film lasts 166 minutes! Which is exactly the same length as another film I went to the cinema to see recently ‘Gone Girl’. Now where ‘Gone Girl’ used every one of its minutes to absolute effect and it warranted it’s length, Interstellar does manage to do the same, however there were a couple of things that could have been cut from the film and I do feel a lot of that time was used by over explanations, which a lot of the time weren’t necessary. There is no need for this film to be nearly 3 hours long.

Now amazingly I did actually manage to get to see this film in IMAX despite my pessimism in my earlier review that I didn’t believe I would get back in time. I will say if you are going to see this film at the cinemas after this review I will urge people to go and see this film in IMAX if possible, this film is visually stunning! All the space shots are amazing as well as the shots of Ice planet that were shot on location in Iceland, it uses the widescreen to full effect and the sound quality is top notch. With that being said though you really get a sense that Nolan is trying to make his version of 2001 A Space Odyssey, in fact a couple of the shots feel like they were directly lifted from 2001 A Space Odyssey, prime example being when the ship is going through the worm hole, feeling very similar to the shot at the end of 2001 when the ship is arriving near Jupiter. Also a couple of shots towards the end also had a very similar effect to 2001. However I don’t think this film was really marketed as being a modern day version of 2001 A Space Odyssey, it more felt like it was competing with last years hit success Gravity and to be honest with you, whilst Gravity was very good I didn’t feel it’s story was as good as its effects.

This film however doesn’t quite measure up to Gravity on the effects level. Whereas this film gives you amazing space shots, Gravity actually made you feel like you were in space and I think this film would have done better on the visual effects department if it had come out before Gravity. I still think Gravity would have been considered the superior movie and would have probably got its Oscar for its effects still, but I think we hold Interstellar in higher regard because of it coming earlier, I don’t think this one will be as remembered for it’s effects.

Does this film have negatives, if I’m honest, yes, but these negatives don’t distract too much from the movie for the most part. Some aspects of the plot do succumb to the usual Christopher Nolan tropes which sometimes work in his favour and sometimes don’t. In this case it’s more of the former than the latter, but the latter is very noticeable when it comes up. For example Matthew McConnaghy’s character rather quickly decides he’s definitely going to take on the mission despite the risks and the possibility of not seeing his children for what could be decades, their time. I would have liked to see more scenes of him debating whether he should do it. He just accepts it and does it! Though I think that is kind of made up for the scenes with his daughter at the beginning.

This film had a very slow start, honestly it only really got very interesting at the point where McConnaghy leaves to start the space mission. Also as I said, this film does copy a lot from Gravity and 2001 and I think the Gravity stuff is a bit more forgivable considering these films were probably both in production around the same time. To be fair 2001 A Space Odyssey is such an influential film it isn’t surprising that Nolan would base a lot on it. Also the film suffers from some fairly big plot holes and story elements that aren’t explained too well as well.

Once again, I took my friend Alex to see this film, mainly because we were both trying to get back to normal life after being in India for nearly a month and because I felt I owed him after suffering through the misery of Ninja Turtles. We both came to the same conclusion about this film that we thought it was good but we didn’t think it was great. I think that was more down to its hype than it is it’s actual quality. We believed we were getting a game changing movie done by one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, when in reality you are just getting a very decent Sci Fi film, and I think if it had been marketed that way maybe we might have enjoyed it more than we actually did.

That’s not to say Interstellar is a bad film, oh god no, for the amount you pay to go and get a cinema ticket you could do a lot worse right now.

In summary I’d say, go and see this move, I thinks it’s worth a view and I think some people are going to love it, I just think I’m not one of those who loved it. I like it, don’t get me wrong on that front, but it’s probably not going to end up in my top ten best films of the year list, and if I were going to recommend Sci Fi movies, I can think of at least four or five other films I would recommend over this one, and most of them are easy to rent in DVD form.

So that’s my first review back guys. What do you think? Did I get the film right or was my opinion off the mark. Did I miss something which might explain why I liked it, but didn’t fully like it? I’ll accept any views and any comments. Type it in even if you just want to make it a brief I agree/disagree comment. Anything is welcome. Keep your eyes out on the website because from January 1st 2015 you are going to be able to place your own reviews, discussions and top ten lists on the site. We haven’t fully established how we are going to do this yet, but we have set a date and we will be giving you details on how to do this in my review which will be coming out on December 31st.

It’s time to move on though, however, come back on December 10th when I will be reviewing the potentially Oscar nominated ‘The Imitation Game’ and I will also be getting some comments from Dr Linda Buchan the Director of Axia ASD Ltd on the film as she is going with me.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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