Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Summer aside, this has been one of the best years for films ever. Oddly, they released their worst pictures during their busiest months and then wondered why the box office fizzled. I went to films 50% less than I have ever done in my life and money wasn't the reason. The craptastic slew of drek was. When you open the season with the very average Spider-Man 2, you know things are not going to get better. After that, other than a handful of pictures like Godzilla and X-Men which opened in late May, I didn't go to a movie again until August when Guardians of The Galaxy made a gazillion dollars because it was actually a good movie. Shocker that quality sells. Since then, a lot of films have done very well for themselves and it's not like we are getting any richer. The lesson here is make better films. This one certainly was and will be a shoe-in for my best picture list due in January.
"Interstellar" is an entertaining thrill with aspirations of being an epic.
This was a film of big ideas and complicated looks at things like time, space and quantum physics. It was dumbed down as best hey could for Idiot America but those of us with a brain really appreciated it. Unless you were Neil DeGrasse Tyson apparently, whom I still love by the way, but who devolved into nitpicking aspects of the film that were in reality kind of stupid. I don't want to go into specifics because I do not want to ruin the film for those who haven't seen it yet but look it up on the web if you want and realize that for one question in particular he should know that astronauts don't carry pens on space missions. Maybe inside the cabin but not floating in space. Just saying.

Directed by one of the best directors working today, Chris Nolan, this is yet another masterpiece from someone destined to win an Oscar someday. If your worst picture was the third Batman film, that's pretty impressive considering it wasn't horrible. But much like the trippy Inception, Nolan paints a world dying from it's own stupidity and if we can't relate to that, your mindset is hopelessly stuck in neutral.

The movie starts with people taking about what sounds like the 1930's Dust Bowl but in reality are describing the present. Weather patterns have changed for unexplained reasons (global warming, cough, cough) and as result, food and water have become scarce. Wheat and okra are destroyed by The Blight and corn is next. Soon, the world will starve and suffocate and only by finding a new world will they survive.
Enter Mathew McConaughey, Cooper, a former NASA pilot turned farmer because our space program is no more. As a matter of fact, we find that the government convinced people the moon landings were faked, a notion that Cooper finds repulsive as he should. After a strange occurrence in his daughter Murph's bedroom involving dust, bookshelves and gravity, he and the girl set out to find what is at the co-ordinates they decoded.

There they find a still alive NASA program that plans on sending astronauts into a wormhole near Saturn and the hope of finding a habitable planet. They recruit Cooper and his daughter freaks out over the notion that she may never see her father again. But he has to go as it is the only hope for mankind. Along with Wes Bently, Anne Hathaway and David Gyasi, Cooper and other head out into space where they spend decades trying to find a livable planet.

The best is a planet of super heavy gravity where, because of it's closeness to a black hole, every hour is seven years gone off surface. In what was supposed to be a quick rescue mission for the surviving astronaut below who went there years earlier, turns into a several hour ordeal as the ship is beaten by 500 foot waves that are quite impressive on a big screen. Nolan knows how to direct big effects, people and action sequences that few other have the capacity for (George Lucas and Michael Bay I am looking at you).
From there things go from bad to worse with unexpected turncoats and even actors I had no idea were in the movie which I am little pissed when I read it in some other douchebag's column. STOP WRITING SPOILERS INTO YOUR REVIEWS ALREADY. This why I read as little as possible about a film before hand. My girlfriend asks me all the time "What's this movie about?" and I have to tell her, I don't know. I'll find out when the movie starts.

This film is an in your face slap at humanity's incredible willingness to do stupid things for selfish reasons and even their ability to know "facts" that any three year old should know is wrong. It certainly is a cautionary tale for climate change deniers that says if they are wrong, the planet dies. If we are wrong, mankind gets off of fossil fuels, terrorism collapses without money and other benefits. I do not see the problem unless you are an oil company which is convincing us that oil is good and nothing else will work. And the stupid out there are believing it. The lie of "no global warming for the past x amount of years," is not based on any science I can find. It is something being repeated so often for so long that some are taking it as gospel. How can the last 13 of 14 years be the hottest ever recorded, but global warming is a myth? The two are not compatible.

This movie is also really, really loud so if you don't like that kind of things, you will hate this film. For those of us who like our senses bombarded, when the rockets take off the whole theater shakes and it feels like you are right along with them. It's is a fantastic method of immersing the film goer right into the movie.

The robots on this movie were also unlike any I have seen. Think the obelisk from 2001 with arms and a touch screen. They showed a remarkable versatility, humor and even humanity. I love when movies do something different.

That was the problem with the much better than it should have been Edge of Tomorrow, which is still a terrible title. There was no originality to the look of the film. It looked like Starship Troopers, Star Trek and a zillion other sci-fi films mashed up. This was also the second time I have seen a Tom Cruise movie where I thought he shouldn't have been in it and it should have been a comedy, the first being the average Night and Day. And I like Tom Cruise. Like Night and Day, he was miscast and the tone of the film was wrong. As a comedy, this would have been like a Groundhog Day redux and I think would have worked better. I don't buy Tom Cruise as a coward. Kevin Hart or Adam Sandler on the other hand. But I digress.
This was spectacle of a film that was seriously lacking this summer. It was beautifully acted, brilliantly shot and shined a bright light on our species willingness to accept facts that just are not true not matter how hard you try to get them to accept it. In this film, millions, maybe billions die because of it. The actions of one character almost dooms all of mankind because of their idiotic, yet completely believable, decisions.

Go see this movie on a big screen and be in awe of the wonders that Mike Nolan can show you. Most of you will not be disappointed. And if you are, I am sure there is some crappy film coming out soon that will make you happy instead.

Five stars out of five.

1 comment:

  1. Though the family ties don't quite hold, Interstellar gives us an epic of space travel as desperate necessity, at a time when its science fiction hits perilously close to home.