My friends look to me for movie advice. They trust my judgement. I’ve been holding off on seeing Christopher Nolan’s new epic “Interstellar” because I knew I would hate it. But it was snowing today and I was in the mood for a movie. So I caved. I had to see it for myself to prove it’s horrible. And you know what? I was right.
“Interstellar” is the tale of Cooper and his family living in what in the distant future appears to be New York. The buildings and Manhattan are gone though and it’s all farmland. But crops are becoming extinct and people live in shack-like homes. It’s also the Dustbowl all over again. Cooper used to be an engineer for NASA until the space program was shut down entirely. He had to become a farmer. After finding a magnetic force in his daughter’s bedroom, Cooper follows some science stuff and finds that NASA has been operating in secret for years. He’s told then about a plan for astronauts to settle other planets located in black holes (placed there by some sort of beings, of course) and is asked to lead the way into space. He far too easily agrees and leaves his children behind for space. Lots of action stuff happens and because space travel causes a lapse in time, Cooper stays young while his children age on Earth. Sounds horrible right?
First, don’t get me wrong, it was a hell of an entertaining ride. Matthew McConaughey was great as usual. Anne Hathaway was fantastic. The guy from “Terms of Endearment” who’s name I can never remember was good. It has the makings of a classic Nolan masterpiece.
There’s just one problem. It’s too many things at once. As I stammered out of the theater I thought to myself, “What am I supposed to get out of this film?”
Is the main point that the human race should be worried? Is technology good or evil? Should we be paying closer attention to agriculture? What’s going on with NASA? Is Nolan trying to tell us that mankind is going to destroy Earth so we better start looking for a new planet to live on now?
Part of me wants to believe Nolan is making some hugely impactful social statement, but it just doesn’t work. “Interstellar” is too far fetched and over the top to be taken seriously. I know scientists have stepped forward and said black holes and other dimensions are entirely possible, but come on. Even if that’s true, do movie goers honestly think this plot is possible? (I bet those same kind of viewers think we can go into the land of the dream Nolan style too!)
I’m all for space epics. I like Harry Potter. It took me 20 years, but I eventually warmed up to “Star Wars.” I’m down with Marvel movies. But this piece of crap? Sorry. It’s way way way too out there for me to buy in.
And I might have been in if the film wasn’t ruined by the surprise Matt Damon cameo (spoiler). Turns out Matt is one of the original astronauts that was sent to find a better planet for humans to live on. He’s been stuck on said frozen tundra of a planet for years in sleep mode waiting for people to find him. McConaughey and company find him and he’s very grateful to be with other living beings again. But then we discover that NASA’s real plan was a lie and that McConaughey and the gang have to start populating a planet instead of saving the people currently on Earth. Oh, and Damon’s planet is a complete waste. Life can’t survive there. So what happens? Damon stabs McConaughey in the back and tries getting rid of him so he can get back to the station and back to Earth. In short, he whimps out and tries to kill an Oscar winner!
My reaction to this in the theater was close to physical pain (but really my legs were cramping up because of how damn long this piece of crap is). Matt Damon does not play evil. It’s impossible. He’s Will Hunting dammit. He cannot be the character that shows how shitty the human race is. Absolutely not. I’m not buying into this crap Nolan.
The film also touches on the idea of love. My favorite thing in movies in when they communicate that love is more powerful than any spaceship or gravity force. That’s what Harry Potter was all about, was it not? “Star Wars” has a sense of love in it even when it’s not explicitly communicated.
“Interstellar” tries this same kind of love conquers all theme with McConaughey’s character and his character’s kids, but 1) it literally gets lost in the whole space thing and 2) no father would ever leave his kids if he knew he would never make it back from space (or at least knew that it would be years in space). We all know what choice a real life parent would make.
Is this then what Nolan is trying to tell us? Will some generation someday have to leave their children to try and save them? I know the human race can be real shitty and I know our world is becoming more and more complicated, but really?
We go to movies to be entertained, but part of that is also learning. Movies can be so powerful that way. If Nolan was trying to tell us something about our world he could have done it much better. Like not buried it in unrealistic third dimensions and evil Matt Damons. Dramatic movies are meant to make us think. Not confuse and, if you’re like me, utterly piss us off.
I should have listened to my gut feeling and not seen this film. “Save your money for “Mockingjay” next week, Steph.” Ugh.