I don’t think I’ve ever left a movie theater with such a weird, perplexed reaction to a movie as I did Friday after seeing a matinee of Interstellar.
There are parts of me that wants to say it was a horrible movie, other parts that make me want to say it was fantastic, and then a whole lot that just seems like humming inside my brain.
First, it’s a long movie at 169 minutes. But I can say with complete honesty that I was never left squirming with boredom as I have with almost any other movie of a similar length. There are no dull points that I can recall. Although squirming with the need to use the washroom is another story. At least Kubrick’s 2001–which Interstellar makes maybe too many references to–had an intermission.
The references to 2001 are plentiful, so much that it seems to border on infringement–the musical score, the boldness of the ending, the grandness of space, and even a bold jump cut. I like how the jump cut was used in Interstellar, it cut what would have been an unnecessary sequence. And at 169 minutes, cut as much as you want please.
But with such a length of movie, some of the key basics are still missed. Inter-spliced is a section from Ken Burns’ documentary The Dust Bowl. It gives an idea about the setting, that there has been environmental issues (maybe due to over-farming caused by over-population) leading to land erosion. It’s hard to tell whether it’s better with this only brief mention, leading the audience to insert their own back story, or whether the setting description is frustratingly minimal.
There’s also the Hans Zimmer musical score. It is amazing, but used so aggressively that it drowns out dialogue. I’m never really a fan of music over dialogue, but if you’re gonna do it, at least keep that shit quiet. Michael Caine is both British and, at some parts in the movie, very, very old and can barely speak as it is. Adding stringed instruments does not help anyone hear what he is saying.
Then there’s other aggravating moments. Silly things happen like a door opening from a conference room to reveal a large NASA rocket and some welding being done. This is almost comical since it looks like something out of Moonraker. And is that shitty little office room really that soundproof?
There’s plot twists that come out of nowhere which keep things interesting and intense, but also don’t seem necessary for the development of the story. And then there’s the big ending that sticks out like the space baby in 2001. Although in Kubrick’s movie the image is symbolic, in Interstellar the big wow is tied directly to the story. I’m fine with giving some freedom based on the scientific theory behind the ending, even if it is a bit of a cheat, but it doesn’t entirely fit with the story, and that’s where there’s a big issue.
Still, I would watch it again, even with the time commitment. There’s a complete balls-out to the storytelling that is admirable, even with all the flaws that come along with it.
This isn’t really a review, and thankfully I’m not a critic forced to give some sort of star rating because I wouldn’t know what to give this movie.