Finally, and hopefully never again, a film that bends the time-space continuum and thoughtlessly ages the audience for what feels like three light years, though it’s really only three hours. Interstellar is sucking in audiences like a black hole eats gravity. Some call it a nail biting space thriller. Yes, I was on the edge of my seat, too… getting ready to walk out. What kept me seated was when we discover that humanity was smart enough to send Matt Damon to another galaxy.
If you gauge a film’s excitement by a hackneyed score that lifts one chord of music from “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and extends it for ten minutes into an increasingly deafening tone, then you will be thrilled by Interstellar. The Hans Zimmer factory of “music” is sounding more and more manufactured than Britney Spears. If throbbing synthesized orchestration set to meandering scenes of cornfields and dust storms sounds breathtaking, then get your ticket before the harvest.
The fifth dimension of this film is the notorious dimension of nonsense: when Morse code is used to tap out the solution to a quantum mechanics formula to save mankind, I realized that we are doomed as a species. The Secret of Nimh and Paul Williams said it more entertainingly and succinctly: “Love is the key.” Or, in the words of Anne Hathaway’s character, Murph: “Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.” No one needs to lose three precious hours of their life for this insight. This is a revelation that is pregnant within all of us. Muddled storytelling does not make a film complex or intellectual. It makes it a muddled movie. For being in space most of the time, Interstellar is stuck in the mud — and dull.
Upon leaving the theater, there were disturbing rumbles from excited moviegoers who dared to compare Interstellar with Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Aside from lifting musical elements and a subpar sequence to emulate dimensional space travel, Interstellar is about as close to Kubrick’s masterpiece as The Bridge of Terabithia is to Citizen Kane.
The most annoying conundrum in the film centers on imagination: In a universe of infinite possibilities, why would a tesseract be envisioned behind the bookcase and walls of a farm house? (It would’ve been fresher to use the portmanteau penteract when referencing the fifth dimension.) And why wouldn’t a genius astrophysicist like Murph find a digital solution to transposing and interpolating the wristwatch’s Morse code data, versus writing it down longhand — dash — dot dot — dash — please! All of humanity needs saving here, can you kindly use some of that technology, Murph?
There’s a lot of dialogue on the farm. There’s a lot of dialogue in space, when time is, literally, of the essence. Rather than getting on with the story, there’s a lot of dialogue to explain to the characters (who should know this stuff) certain astrophysics. There are even illustrative examples of quantum mechanics as the cosmic clock ticks away, aging only the doomed humans on Earth — and those in the audience. One keeps hoping that a graviton will leak into the fifth dimension and reduce the heaviness of this overly didactic and brutally tedious film.
If this Christopher Nolan-directed opus constitutes the best that Hollywood has to offer in the thought-provoking genre of cinema, then what’s dying is not our planet, but the art of scriptwriting and filmmaking.
One thing for certain Interstellar proves: since Anne Hathaway’s hair never grows — and she coexists at the same time Matthew McConaughey’s daughter ages into Ellen Burstyn, time is clearly moving slowly on both sides of the wormhole. Turns out the wrinkle in time is visible on the faces of the audience of Interstellar, who are painfully, frame-by-frame, aging before the credits roll.
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