Monday, November 10, 2014

Interstellar (so Spoilery)


My very first idea of this movie was that I liked it a lot. It was flipping gorgeous--like real, awe-inspiring space vistas and stuff. It was also complex without being too confusing (well, I wasn't confused, but my dad was, so...). There was some play with the form of scifi movies so that the robots never even hinted at being evil and were honestly the best characters (sorry big name actors), and the whole giant-plan-to-save-everyone thing is questioned some. It was exciting and entertaining and had amazing special and sound effects. And, at the bottom of it all, it was optimistic, something that the current crop of big scifi movies has come back to, and that I fully support--I was so tired of scifi movies that ended in gloom or ambiguity or that spent the whole time making everyone a villain.

I'll most likely get it on DVD, and I definitely want to see it again.

But it wasn't perfect.

Like I said, the robot was a more fun and entertaining character than the main characters. Coop is such an all-American dude that I sort of wanted to punch him sometimes. Poor Anne Hathaway didn't have a lot to work with and was the only woman through a lot of the movie--and the fact that she didn't know some of the things she should have known (cough huge tidal forces near a black hole cough) sort of makes her place,ent on the team look like nepotism, no matter how smart she is. 

It's way white-male, and the only non-white dude on the team gets left behind, then dies stupidly. Plus, in a world where America is crippled by environmental collapse, its still the only country that can save everyone? Not China or India, who already have space programs working better than ours, and way more population and scientists to run them? Not even a mention of an attempt that failed for a program that's taking too long without the time-warping main plot-mcguffin?

And the actual science was questionable at best (I mean, the whole black hole thing was basically ridiculous and they should have been shredded down to atoms and spaggettified). These are problems that need to be talked about and addressed by critics and other writers and reacted to through the construction of future scifi movies.

But I still liked it. A lot. It has this view that we can fix this problem that we've put ourselves in, that there are ways that individual people willing to sacrifice a lot can save everyone because they love each other. That following love is a better way than following money or domination, which caused all the crazy they're saving people from.

And I loved how they handled the time dilation as a plot device. That was probably not great science either, but as a plot device, it allowed a whole lot of really neatly-built story, and I loved that so hard. It made a multi-generational space story work on a single-generational scale. 

There were things in it that reminded me just a little of Gravity, but less bound to strict modern reality. And there were things that felt like old, big-budget, mind-bending 60s and 70s scifi like maybe 2001, before the AI went wonky, or like Contact, but without the aliens. 

It was, and I'll say it again, gorgeous. And, I think best of all, it looked like it was possible. The tech looked a little on the old side, as if it had been abandoned for a while and was being reused--as it should, the way the story is built. It looked like people could actually live in the bases and the big spinning (endlessly spinning, we get it) ship and the people-saving cities they were working on as they bet that the pioneers would find something useful.

It was definitely a very American story. It was "things are crap back home, let's pack up and move to the frontier", the same story-base as, like, any Western-expansion tale. But it was I to a galaxy where we were the only people, so it could be optimistic about that expansion and colonization, though it probably should have at least had a line or two about it as an idea. Maybe if there's a novelization, they'll take the time to debate it better.

So. Final word. It had problematics, but overall I found it to be beautiful and optimistic, and it was worth the watch and the standing in line for al OST two hours to get there opening night.

What did you think? Was it entertaining enough to balance the things they were willfully ignoring, or we're the problems too much for your enjoyment?
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