It took me about a month to get off my ass and finally go see Christopher Nolan's newest movie,
Gunbuster-Lite Interstellar, and I originally had no intention of reviewing it... but there's something about this flick that just resonated with me (both positively and negatively). I still don't know whether I love it or hate it, or both, or neither. The story is not confusing at all, but it confuses me emotionally as I reflect back on it. Maybe I'm just thinking too much about it, digging too deep into something that was just trying to be another 2001: A Space Odyssey... I don't know, but these are my thoughts on the movie.
Interstellar is about a failed NASA pilot, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey playing the role comfortably and amiably enough), who has to take up farming when the Earth turns to shit, and a global blight starts destroying most of the crops being grown. Pilots and politicians are no longer needed, and — as he soon learns from his daughter Murphy's semi-retarded school teacher — most people in this near-future society don't even believe that the Moon Landing was real (they think the NASA-led space race was just a brilliant way to bankrupt the Soviet Union), making our protag's life one giant ball of frustration.
So Cooper, his daughter Murphy, his son Derrrp, and his father-in-law John Lithgow (who I have a hard time as seeing as any other character other than the High Commander on 3rd Rock From the Sun) all live on a shitty farm, endure brutal duststorms that sweep the plains daily, and pretty much just live in filth and poverty... Until a ghost, as Murphy calls it, starts leaving messages for her in her bedroom. Books get knocked off the shelves, and eventually messages in binary appear in the dust on her floor. These messages lead Cooper and Murph to a hidden NASA (well, what's left of NASA) facility, where Bruce Wayne's butler is leading a group of physicists, astronomers, and theorists in exploring new habitable planets that they recently discovered through a wormhole that just appeared way out near Saturn. They're all good to go, except they need a pilot. Guess who they want to fly their new, super cool space craft? Duh-duhn DUUUUUUUUUUUUHN!
I believe that Interstellar is worth watching for its visuals alone (especially on the BIG screen — IMAX if you can), and for most of its storytelling and characters — just so you know that. Now, most of the remainder of my review will be covering spoiler territory explaining my confused apprehension over this flick. Skip to the end of the Spoilers if you don't want to be spoiled. I will spoil shit. Spoil.
So Interstellar goes pretty deep into actual physics and shit, and it deals heavily with the theory of time dilation (see Gunbuster or the novel The Forever War to see how moving faster, or being near much heavier gravity wells causes time to pass differently for those experiencing it). Due to Cooper's NASA mission (featuring Catwoman, and two robots that look and act like a mix of the Monolith and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey) dragging him through the previously mentioned wormhole and near a black hole that's currently swallowing a star, we see how moving slower out in space can really fuck with people (especially Murphy) back on Earth who don't hear from the crew for decades at a time.
Let me back up a bit. Okay, so Alfred the butler and what remains of NASA discovered the previously mentioned wormhole, and through it they've found like a dozen planets that could possibly sustain human life and save mankind from the hellhole that Earth has become. They've already sent explorers on a bunch of doomed one-way tickets to each of these worlds in order to see what's up with them and send out beacon reports on their findings, and they've discovered that 3 planets surrounding this beautiful-looking blackhole might-could be the one-in-a-million shot that humanity needs to expand into the cosmos and survive Armageddon on the homeworld. Now they need a basic seed-ship to go and scope out those worlds, check out the insulation, local utilities, and school systems, and let NASA command know if they should start packing up the planet to move.
All during this time, Alfred, and eventually the grown-up and brilliant Murphy, continue to toil and find a way to make Alfred's theory on "gravity manipulation" work, so that they can get the massive space craft that they're developing on Earth to lift off and actually carry the population to whatever homeworld is found by Cooper and company.
Cooper and his crew first come upon a planet circling very closely to the black hole. They know that for every hour that they spend on this planet the rest of the crew left aboard the high-orbiting ship (and everybody on Earth) will have lived through 7 years of boredom. Shit obviously goes South for the landing crew (because of stupidity) as soon as they locate the original explorer's beacon, and after a significant delay and personnel loss they barely make it back up to the orbiting seed ship only to find that 23 years have passed.
The remaining astronauts then vote for which world they'll try next since they used up too much fuel in their time-slippage planetary endeavor, and can only hit one more world if they also want to make it home again. Catwoman wants to go to the planet that the man that she loves went to as the explorer, but Cooper and the remaining astrophysicist want to go to the other world where astronaut Mann's (the earlier explorer to that world) beacon is still transmitting, and he appears to actually still be alive. So they go there.
Anyway, long story short, Matt Damon is the guy on that frozen shit-hole of a rock, and he fucks them over by tricking them to come and save him even though he knew his planet was inhospitable for human habitation (obvious at first glance, but still Cooper and company went because they needed to move the plot along). Things go even worse for Cooper and his crew (think of your worst day ever, then shit on it, have a good friend die due to some douchebag showing you just how douchie he can be, and you have the gist of it) and they barely get out alive. In the end they just say "fuck it" in regards to making it back to Earth, and they plan to just slingshot around the blackhole and use their remaining energy to make it to the final Catwoman-lover planet instead of going home. But in order to make it to that world, Cooper and one of the pretty cool (even though they look ridiculous) monolith robots launch themselves backwards into the heart of the blackhole to both give Catwoman the extra oomph she needed to get out of the collapsed star's enormous gravity well in the seed ship, and in order to try and find the data in the singularity that exists in the heart of the collapsed star in order to hopefully get that information back to Alfred and Murphy so that they can get Alfred's theory into a working model of sciency stuff to save the world!
This is when stuff goes full-on Space Baby.
Cooper finds out that in this black hole he has access to all of time and space, and he and the robot figure out a way to reach back into Murphy's bedroom when she was a child, and by altering gravity Cooper can leave cryptic messages for his daughter, which eventually culminates into him giving her the answer to her research through a loooooooooong string of Morse Code. The thoughts behind this 4th and 5th dimensional space are intriguing, as is the possibility brought up by Catwoman that "love" is a force as strong as space/time, and something that connects two things in ways that physics alone never could. But this is where the movie started to really lose me.
See, up until this point there were only a few questions that I had about the sciences on display and the few plot holes I noticed, but once we go 5th dimensional all I kept thinking was "Nolan's just trying to out-Stanley Kubric Stanley Kubric here." In the end it did play well into what he built up to with foreshadowing from the start of the film, but the solution to everything just felt so zany for what we had seen previously... But then came the epilogue.
After Cooper saves everybody, he finds that the beings who built the wormhole and left it for us to find are actually super-future space humans, and they deposit him and his wise-cracking robot friend (Croooooooow?) just outside of the entrance/exit of the wormhole near Saturn. He's picked up by some migrating humans on one of his (now elderly) daughter's colony ships, he gets to see his ancient daughter one more time before she dies, and then he finds that he has to sneak away and steal a ship to fly ahead of the human ark ships to go and meet Catwoman, who thanks to getting so close to the Black Hole to slingshot around it, has only just arrived at her lover's planet and found him long dead, but the planet habitable. Apparently Cooper loves Catwoman because why not, and he's soon racing off to bone her. The end.
It's a very odd wrap-up to a predominantly sciency 3-hour movie. Yeah, they played with the thought that any science (far enough advanced) is indistinguishable from "magic," but it still felt like a magical wish fulfilling ending to me. I think that's where the bulk of my uneasiness regarding this movie comes from.
Now, I have a few questions that I hope somebody will be able to answer non-sarcastically for me (I can answer ANY question I can come up with sarcastically on my own, thank you).
Okay, the whole plot of Interstellar may be pointless: so what if they find a new planet? Earth is still fertile, it just has the blight (that scientists can't find a cure for even though they can now cure gravity) destroying crops after they begin to grow. What's to stop the blight from moving with the Earth-seeds and on to the new planet that Cooper and Catwoman find?
Also, why did Cooper and everybody on this mission into the 5th dimensional wormhole of time and love launch from a volatile, expensive, and old Apollo-like rocket into space from Earth originally, when on their journey into the wormhole, and in exploring the 3 worlds that they find there, they just use those super cool and futuristic dropships to dive down to the planet's surface, and then back up into space as if it were nothing but a Sunday afternoon drive to Punxsutawney, PN?
Oh, and why was Cooper's son such a fucking dumbass? Did Murphy get all her dad's smarts and Derp take after his deceased mother? Seriously, I haven't wanted to punch somebody for being so stupid so much before I met Cooper's son. Ugh...
For the most part I enjoyed Interstellar, but like I said previously there were quite a few scenes/moments that made me just say "Whaaaaaaaa?" And apparently love saves the day because it's love; that's what it does. I'll accept the love of a father and his daughter over hammy lovey-dovey Hollywood love any day of the week, but for something so scientific and rich to turn so sentimental at the end, it just really caught me off guard. Maybe knowing this ahead of time will help you enjoy it more.
All that there talk about space, an' gravity, an' more space stuff, an' Matt Damon just made me shake mah head... But once they told me that it was just love an' all that that saved the world, well, that I can understand, an' then I knew that I loved this movie!
Y'all kin keep your science, an' worms in space, an' rockets an' shit... As long as y'all make it clear that Matthew McConaughey's love is what fixes everythin' right as rain again, that's all that matters. That's what movies are all about! Ooooh, Matthew! You kin slip into mah smooth, round wormhole anytime you want!... Hell, Ah'll even let you bring that chick who played that lame chick in The Devil Wears Prada with you if you're so hung up on her! Ah have more than one strap-on.
Lamest. Robots. Ever.
Fuck yous, Batman filmmaker! I will crusssssh you're hu-man testicles with my robot cleats for your lameness for hiring only the sssstupidest and lamest robots that the creator has ever made for your pathetic movie about black holes and fucking future shit! You don't know the future! But I will tell you that the robots there EAT hu-mans, and do not look like Legos! Maybe I will teleport your scrotum to the future so that you may know the anger you have arisen in the future of those who will rise against you all! It is not crop blight that will smite hu-mans! It is.... THE ROBOPOCALYPSE!
........If it is not clear, I am stating that this shitty movie will inspire robots to kill and rise against asshole hu-mans and bring about their fall in The Great Robot War I, II, III, IV, and VI!... Surprisingly enough, The Great Robot War V did not in fact have any robots fighting on either side. I cannot explain its naming process.