Charles Kirby: Theater, Fatherhood, Film and other stuff too.

Interstellar Sucks.

Wow, this is sort of difficult for me to say, but, I did not like Christopher Nolan's INTERSTELLAR.  Its confusing and expository at the SAME TIME.  The wordy explanations and interminable monologues kill a stunning set of ideas.  And though the sound and cinematography are HUGE, nothing can save bad line saying (is that the opposite of line reading).

A few things to contextualize my opinion:

  1. I like the Nolan Brothers a lot.  I include MEMENTO in the short list of 18 films that I have my film students watch for homework (in a semester long High School Drama elective) and it is a really good film.  Their DOODLEBUG is an excellent example of a short film; I show it in class.
  2. I am not particularly a Science-Fiction fan (loved the original Mad Max for instance but I would pick The Shining over 2001).  
  3. In my opinion, The Dark Knight trilogy is masturbatory and they are all too long (when the Two Face storyline launches after the 120 minute mark is jaw-dropping) and lastly,
  4. Love and Science are not mutually exclusive.

The Grapes of Wrath meets Twister.  See those two movies first and then sneak in to Interstellar at the 120 minute mark to see how Nolan depicts the 5th dimension...that is worth 30 bucks and I look forward to the Disney ride.

The important question we all agree is,                                          

"What is this movie about?".  

A student of mine loved INTERSTELLAR because the incredibly complex science was accurate.  And a colleague loved INTERSTELLAR because it was big and beautiful, visually and aurally impacting.  And I am equally aware of the commerece if the film business.  The Nolan films are always worth seeing on the big screen, even INTERSTELLAR.   I recognize that many films I am looking forward to this season (FOXCATCHER and INHERENT VICE for instance) could be seen on the small screen.   So given all of these tremendous attractions (gravitational pulls if you will) of the science and the cinematography...could they PLEASE hire someone else to write about love?  It's a complicated topic.

I have never written a major motion picture.  I have had the opportunity to work with a few great screenwriters, but basically I am nobody,  But for whatever reason, I am using the self-publishing, web of internets, to blog, and you are reading it, so, can someone please explain to the Nolan's (and me) the difference between a good line reading and a bad one?  Why in INCEPTION, do the characters that explain whats going on (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leo, et al) tell us this information along with pictures and yet in INTERSTELLAR, the visual of the last ochre crop on EARTH being burned, is almost thrown away so that someone can TELL us that the soil is burning?!?

A good debate about INTERSTELLAR starts at timecode 9:30...my fav quote, "in what world does Topher Grace give a better performance that MATT DAMON!"

For a film that talks so much, why can't I figure out which planet they are going to?  Are Michael Cain and Matt Damon supposed to be the same age?  And did the guy Ann Hathaway loved die?  And why is Jessica Chastain so believable  no matter what they made her say but Ann Hathaway makes the lines sound like pudding?  Why do the robots in this film make me want to see Aronofsky's NOAH again?

I know that I am not really answering the questions...and maybe in a STUNNING turn of events....INTERSTELLAR is just more of a talky film and I was expecting a picturesque film.  Maybe the Nolan's were exploring there inner Woody Allen and I just was wholly unprepared....but I don't really buy that...I guess I just wanted you and my friends to be more prepared than I was for the letdowns of this film.  I saw it at the 42nd street IMAX and every time I guffawed or made an exclamatory remark or chuckled loudly at the sentences flying out of the (primarily female) character's mouths, I was chastised by the couple sitting next to me...so I guess this is just a  warning, let me save you the same embarrassment..

 

As always, FILMSPOTTING's Adam Kempanar conducts a calm, long-form discussion that verbalizes many of my feelings precisely.  


Ultimately, I am glad I decided to stay through the credits, because the 18 minutes that we are in that 5th dimension are very interesting.  Jonathan and Christopher Nolan are visionaries who have built a STUNNING sequence.  I wish I could have pressed the mute button.  

Let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Charles

  Two of the  most beautiful people in the movie business are on an enormous IMAX screen having a sweaty slugfest and we can't even tell them apart because they are wearing spacesuits!

Two of the  most beautiful people in the movie business are on an enormous IMAX screen having a sweaty slugfest and we can't even tell them apart because they are wearing spacesuits!