By Jon Jennings (Marina Del Rey, Ca)
interstellar-31

 

This movie had shades of 2001: A Space Odyssey as the complete hush of space enveloped the theater when the roar of the rocket motors quit after the launch, and there was a robot that sounded a bit like a fast talking and edgier Hal 9000. There was also a hint of the movie Ghost with the intense love and longing between father and daughter, and the pure joy when the father trapped in a different dimension finally managed to communicate to her in no uncertain terms he was still alive.

While the film did succeed in striking an emotional chord and was at times visually stunning, there was a fundamental problem with this movie; there were a lot of very bizarre things going on that required an explanation. Passing through a worm hole and then landing on a planet near a black hole is a bit confusing, and people aging at different rates at different locations is also kind of mind boggling. The lead characters were forced to explain much of this with scientific jargon that did seem to make some sense.

But much of what unfolded continued to require further explanation, so the viewer is required to ponder and reflect over and over on what happened with its scientific commentary. Mental fatigue eventually sets in as a lot of thought is required to stay on top of things. At a certain point I felt I was watching a really big budget version of the science channels Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. The astronauts at times seemed to be channeling the pop star astrophysicist Dr. Michio Kaku with lines like…”we are just not able reconcile quantum mechanics with the field of gravity…” I remembered part of this line maybe because it was the last straw. I was tired and now mostly disengaged. This very heady subject matter had managed to put me square in my head, rather than provide an escape from my head.

The acting overall was really quite good. The affection between the father (Mathew McConaughey) and daughter (Mackenzie Foy as child and Jessica Chastain as grown up) was palpable. In fact had this relationship been plucked from this flick and placed in a purely terrestrial setting where the law of physics are implicitly understood, there would have been the possibility of a very good drama. And poor Anne Hathaway, her character evidently had been secretly in love with a real turkey played by Matt Damon even though she hadn’t seen him in over ten years. She never even got the chance to express her feelings before his sudden demise, so she was left kind of dangling right along with the viewers.

I can say the film makers really tried to work things out and I commend them for that. I can only imagine the time and effort put forth in the final edit of this film. It’s even likely that a sense of panic was setting in when it dawned on them there was no magic about to happen here. The task of trying to stitch all those abstruse and incomprehensible scenes together to convey a real sense of wonder and awe with maybe some genuine suspense was obviously daunting. The subject matter was possibly just too abstract and stubbornly wouldn’t gel into anything the viewer could fully identify with.

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