Day 377: Interstellar, etc.

Day 377: Interstellar, etc.

Today was one of those weird days where you don’t really have a plan, and then everything kind of just happens like a series of dominoes. You’re just kind of swept along for the ride.

I got to sleep in a bit, no naps, but it was still a fairly restful day, actually. I’m going to bed early, too. I’m feeling very tired at the mo. But, not in that burned out kind of way, just tired. Sleepy.

We went to go see Interstellar today. I don’t really have a lot of strong feelings about that movie, which is actually a surprise to me…I do, however, have several thoughts about it. It was just clunky. That’s really my overwhelming feeling about it. There was some fun stuff, lots to like, including being a soap box for science, and using some real scientific (particularly astro- and quantum physics) concepts as a launching pad for the story. But, then there’s the fact that the movie is all over the place. Scattered. Too long, or if not a length issue, an issue of an overwrought and overly complicated script that left us with one of those unfortunate movies that is simultaneously too much and too little all at once. By trying to pack in so much stuff, we almost never get to spend the time on the couple aspects of the story or characters that would really make it work.

I remember feeling a very similar way with The Dark Knight Rises, and it makes me wonder if Chris Nolan has lost it. Interstellar is *not* the second coming of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick’s Sci Fi “masterpiece,” though in truth sharing some of a same narrative flaws that Interstellar does, is truly an enduring masterpiece of cinema because it was IMMACULATELY executed. Every detail was ridiculously and meticulously tended to. And, it was *incredibly* simple.

Interstellar is not simple, not in the slightest. Nor is it “fun.” And, the more and more movies I see, the more and more I feel like I write that word. “Fun.” Even 2001 was fun…why else would we spend 10 minutes playing The Blue Danube watching a shuttle match rotation with an orbital space station…? Because they spent a lot of freaking time on that model, it was more detailed than anything ever made for a sci fi film, and goddamnit it look COOL. If we’re talking about complicated plots, those can work too, sure. Inception was complicated as all get-out, it really was…but you know what else was? Fun. I’d point to the group of people assembled to pull of their “dream heist” as a great example of why Inception rose and Interstellar floundered. Interstellar’s astronauts were immediately fighting with each other, questioning motives and determination. There was no camaraderie. Only betrayal and disappointment. Inception was practically Ocean’s Eleven.

Now…I don’t mean to say that all movies have to be fun. Some don’t. But those exceptions are super fucking rare, guys. If I’m making a Science Fiction movie about saving the human race, you can bet your ass *something* about that movie is gonna be godamned fun, even if it DOES take itself super seriously. I don’t know, like, maybe how freaking cool it is to be flying in space with a crew of fellow geniuses. Going where nobody has ever gone before?

It wasn’t all just bickering amongst our heroes…but that’s mostly what it was.

They flew by Saturn, right near the rings. And, while VFX got it right, and the sight nearly brought me to tears thinking about how amazing it is that such a giant planet actually exists hanging out right up in our own night sky…our characters didn’t even look at it out the window. No sense of wonder. Maybe Nolan meant for it to be there, I just didn’t feel it.

I know from all that it sounds like I had a strong reaction to the movie. I actually didn’t. It just didn’t make me feel anything. The script was bad enough for me to roll my eyes here and there, but it didn’t ever make me want to stab them in disgust. The plot was convoluted, but mostly fine. The ideas were all great, they really were, they just weren’t executed very well. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s just not a very good one.

That’s a death sentence when your movie is obviously trying to be great, though, isn’t it?

Sushine is better movie than Interstellar, and I think you guys know my feelings about that movie. What a waste of 3/4 of a movie, that one was. But, still…it had 3/4 of a movie that was almost fucking flawless. Interstellar had maybe two or three chunks of 10 to 20 minutes.

That’s all the criticizing for today. Nolan was ambitious. I’ll give him that. And, it was a movie telling the kinds of stories that I really do love the most. We need more of those movies. People are flocking to see it. Sci Fi has never been dead, just ignored. But, I *do* want these movies to be excellent. Some day.

Good night.