Firstly, I must complain about the sound in the film. Fuck Nolan for trying to damage my ear drums. How he thought it was a good idea to crank Zimmer’s score to such a high level that it was, at points, impossible to discern dialogue, is a mystery to me. Surely this is basic editing. The sound really ruined a lot of my enjoyment for the film.
Okay. Might as well say this now: I only liked the first 1/3 of Interstellar. This is a huge fucking problem for a film that lasts almost 3 HOURS. Did it really need to be that long? There were also steps of deterioration which tracked my dislike of Interstellar.
A/ When Coop and Murph find NASA.
Up until this point, the family drama was engaging and actually quite touching, particularly about this man just trying to live his life teaching his kids life lessons (the parent-teacher scene) and just living. The whole NASA bit moved the focus from the family too quickly, which was not helped by the absurd choice to give – what – HOURS for Coop to say goodbye and leave? From the little time we spent with Coop, I never thought he’d leave Murph, in particular, so abruptly. You could literally see the script say: yup, that’s where their conflict begins. It would have been more interesting if Coop admitted his excitement to explore space/save the world is what drove him to leave so quickly, but I suppose that would have given him a villainous colour (but more interesting drama).
B/ Dr. Mann’s introduction.
I have to say I am surprised I was not spoiled for this one; it’s a fairly big deal in the “space chapter”. This whole thing didn’t make an iota of sense to me. The biggest question is WHY did he want to kill Coop (and Romley – i.e. the only men)? Okay, he lied about the planet being sustainable and wanted to be saved. Okay, so he wanted to go home (like Coop)! But why did he want to kill some of the members of the spaceship? It’s not like they were going to LEAVE him there. Yes, he’s a coward, but as he explained he was driving on survival instinct. Ultimately, this was just a machination from Nolan to split up Coop and Amelia, and it’s silly that there weren’t other ways to do this. This whole section could have shaved 30-45 mins off the film.
C/ The bookshelf and/or 5th dimension arc.
I can’t believe this is the story arc the film finished on. It would have been so much better to move this whole part to the middle and in the final arc to watch people be saved on Earth. IMO anyway. Everything about this chapter was boring and predictable as soon as we saw the bookshelves and young!Murph. To actually watch Coop and older!Murph connect the dots was agonizing and roll-your-eyes worthy. For some, it’ll be easy to go along with the explanations, but for me it took way too much of a leap of faith. At this point, I checked out until literally the last scenes where Coop met Murph again (surely one of them should have died?! Then for Coop to fuck off and search for Amelia after HOURS of just connecting with his daughter!?) Amelia actually finding the sustainable planet was cool.
Other contrivances that annoyed me: I’m grateful that a Sci-Fi movie dedicated so much to a father-daughter story, but Coop had a son. His lack of character depth was incredibly annoying, which I figured out was because initially there was so much to play with there (as illustrated nicely by Casey Affleck). Then there was Amelia’s little love story – with a man who literally left Earth 11 years ago. Anne Hathaway looks 30, so her character was willing to risk the mission for a man she loved in her late teens!? That almost ruined her character for me. But of course, the planet that turned out to be sustainable was the one Amelia’s man was placed. So, what’s the moral here, Nolan? It couldn’t be to follow your heart is it? Maybe to even never give up on love? What about love transcends all? Well, apparently all this soppy crap worked on some people because I’ve heard a descriptor of this movie that I find to be impossible; “emotional” is the last word to describe Interstellar.
I must admit the majority of the science went completely over my head which contributed a lot as to why I found the last 2/3 of the film boring. Reading up on the theories did help diminish the confusion to a certain extent, and it is rare that a film makes me want to research a topic so badly after a viewing. However, the science was only the tip of the iceberg for the problems this film had as already discussed. Indeed, for such a long film, it’s tremendously disappointing that character development took a backseat. Yes, I enjoyed the first 1/3, but I still cannot understand why Tom was left with such little depth. He resented his sister – fact. And his father for favouring her – fact. Why did he lose contact with his sister for all those years? Why did he want to stay in the hazardous house which endangered his wife and children? Why did he let Murph hug him after she burned down his livelihood? There was no way he even knew what she was talking about regarding Coop sending her a message. Where was Tom at the end of the film when Coop met Murphy on her death bed and before he left again?
Anyway, let’s end this on a good note. One storyline I did appreciate was Dr. Brand lying about the gravity equation and never intending to save the people on Earth. Of course, it was impossible to hear anything Michael Caine said because the sound was ramped to level destroy-everybody’s-eardrums, but I got the gist and I enjoyed the insidious nature of Dr. Brand willing to sacrifice the now for the future. Also, this is possibly Nolan’s most visually beautiful film. Everything up in space did imprint a sense of wonder and adventure. There was no fear though, something Cuarón’s Gravity captured much better. Whoever cast young!Murph did an excellent job; she was my favourite character. In fact, all the actors did a great job with what they were given.
Finally, massive shoutout to TARS. I loved that little thing.