At long last, I finally saw Interstellar, my opening-night dreams being long delayed by unforeseen events. I am as much of a Nolan fanboy as you can get, and count everything from Memento to The Prestige to Inception to the entire Dark Knight Trilogy among my favorite movies. And now Nolan was heading to SPACE? Are you KIDDING? It was like a dream come true.
So, perhaps expectations were too high, but I left Interstellar feeling a bit underwhelmed. Though there are very, very good elements to the film, the movie seemed jerky and poorly paced, and like it was clunkier than it needed to be at nearly three hours long. The performances were great, the visuals were cool and the concept was solid, but Insterstellar constantly felt like a movie that was getting lost in its own narrative, and had a hard time feeling like it ever really flowed.
Nolan’s movies will usually leave you puzzling out a few things, and creating complex, layered mysteries is kind of his thing. But Interstellar made my brain hurt in a bad way, and I kept asking myself why certain things were happening as the film unfolded. Not in a fun “what’s the mystery” kind of way, but in a “how does this make sense at all” kind of way.
In the end, I just can’t say that Interstellar unseats any of my other favorite space-based films from Sunshine to Moon to Gravity to Contact. It’s just missing something in my eyes, and though I know lots of people are raving about it, by the end I just couldn’t see it as a classic.
Here are sixteen (plus) questions that flooded through my mind once I stopped and thought about everything I just saw after the film ended. Obvious spoilers follow so only read if you watched. Perhaps some of this is just me being dumb, but I just thought the movie did a poor job of explaining itself a lot of the time. But of course I welcome differing opinions. Alright, I am literally sitting down to right this like twenty minutes after the movie ended so I don’t forget anything.
1. How does food just suddenly stop growing? Just a big drought? Was it the “blight” they kept mentioning? What was that?
2. Why did people think leaving the planet entirely was easier than fixing whatever the hell was wrong with the planet? Had they even so much as landed on Mars yet?
3. What was the central gravity problem Michael Caine was trying to solve? How to get the centrifuge station to take off and go fly away to be in space?
4. How do you bullshit research on a gravity formula day in and day out for forty years with literally no one on your science team noticing?
5. How were they standing on water on the first planet? Was there just like a really big sandbar in the middle of an eternal ocean or is the ocean like a foot and a half deep?
6. Why did Matt Damon’s little encampment explode? Because the guy accessed secret data in the dead robot? What if the guy had accessed that data while Matt Damon was still in there?
7. Was that entire planet made of clouds? How do solid ice clouds float?
8. Why did Matt Damon, skilled leader of the entire expedition, think he could get into the orbiter without a locked seal after docking? It’s like the trained biologist in Prometheus who tries to pet the Xenomorph snake thing which, surprise, kills him.
9. Do the “future humans” who help Matthew McConaughey live in the black hole? How does him entering the black hole trigger the entire process of the future fifth dimension civilization helping him?
10. How does this civilization exist at all in order to spark its own existence without the entire idea being lost in some recursive chicken vs. egg time loop?
11. How can the entire secret to harnessing gravity as the ultimate end-all, be-all source of power in the universe be effectively translated into morse code? What is “Quantum Data” that can only be gleaned from the prostate of a black hole anyway?
12. Why doesn’t Matthew McConaughey spell out “this is your dad” in morse code too? It would haven taken like three seconds.
13. How does Jessica Chastain suddenly figure out he the “ghost” IS her dad without him doing this?
14. Why is Casey Affleck so chill about his sister burning down his entire crop when had just punched Topher Grace for giving his family a physical exam?
15. So fixing the “gravity problem” allowed them to build bigger centrifugal space stations? How many are there? How big are they? Who decided who got to actually leave earth?
16. Why are they all just hanging out by Saturn? If they knew about Anne Hathaway and all the other possible habitable planets, why didn’t they go find her? Don’t they have an entire fleet of spaceships now to go places in the other galaxy?
17. Why would you end the movie with Matthew McConaughey not landing his ship on planet Hathaway? The movie ends with a shot of her thinking he’s dead and the entire earth is dead!
Bonus: Why was the sound and picture quality in the IMAX version the worst I’ve ever heard/seen? The dialogue during loud musical parts was almost impossible to hear, and zoomed in face shots were almost always blurry.
Yeah, answers are welcome, but this movie was the bad kind of puzzling to me, even if it had moments that worked well throughout.