By John Tuttle (Cherry Valley, Illinois, US)
The entire movie Interstellar felt like one long intermission, that midway point in the old films which is nothing but a still shot displaying the text “INTERMISSION” with several minutes of music playing in the background. If you have ever sat through an intermission, you know that it is a period of waiting and anticipation. That was the sensation I experienced, at least for the first hour and a half, of watching Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. After that time had passed, however, I had lost all hope in calling this a sci-fi favorite.
I am a diligent science fiction/fantasy entertainment fan, and I can handle some suspense and slow-moving scenarios. I enjoyed Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and many episodes of Rod Serling’s original series The Twilight Zone, all of which were slow-moving at times. But Interstellar was different. For the longest time, I kept waiting for it to “pick up,” get cool, to become intriguing and exciting. I watched the entire movie (two hours and forty-nine minutes) all the way through in a single sitting.
I was sorely disappointed with it for the most part. It was directed and filmed beautifully; it was the very droll story that I could not stand. I will say that as dry as it was, the dialogue was not constantly spotted and tarnished with too much profanity, but my expectations of Interstellar were nonetheless crushed.
A few aspects of the story were interesting, such as the discovery of Dr. Brand’s weighty act of lying to his own daughter, to Cooper, to Murph, and to the world. The Earth is yet again on the verge of the catastrophic extinction of the human race. Similar to the plot of George Pal’s film When Worlds Collide, Dr. Brands in Interstellar sends a small party out into space in the hopes of continuing the survival of mankind. A unique but sort of weird sequence was when Brand’s daughter suggests that love is more than an emotion, that it could be a concrete dimension for some lifeforms. I also admit the scene where Cooper watches the video calls of his son is touching in a sad, depressing way.
I actually believe, in some regards, Interstellar scabbed a bit off the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. (But what sci-fi movie does not build off popular screenplays of the same genre from the past?) In Kubrick’s classic, Dave Bowman is an astronaut who, nearing the big finale, finds himself alone leaving his main vessel in a space pod. The pod along with its sole passenger runs straight into a black monolith, and physically enters into it. Within the monolith, he travels through a surreal, psychedelic dimension. Eventually, he ends up in a room in which he sees several versions of himself at different stages of his life.
Similarly, Cooper’s character in Interstellar finds himself entering a black hole and then into an alternate universe and dimension. Here he sees and is able to interact with himself in past stages of his life, many moments which he did not want to relive. I know I have compared Interstellar to other movies, but personally, I think the Nolan brothers could have come up with a better storyline for the film. If you love action and adventure movies, I think this is a big waste of your time (there are about two explosions in the whole production). The few parts I enjoyed did not make up for the rest of the movie’s content. In short, Interstellar is a long, boring, confusing, and gloomy movie with a bit of a cliff-hanger ending.