Interstellar Heaven

milk or cheese its all relative

Hubby and I went to see the movie Interstellar late last night.  Interstellar Heaven!

I was so pumped to see this film, but I know how that can be… you get yourself so excited by your expectations that the actual event can’t live up to it, and you’re disappointed.

I didn’t want that to happen with Interstellar.  (Hard sci-fi films are so far and few in-between as it is nowadays.)

So before we went, I read many of the on-line comments and reviews, both professional and from the general public that had already seen it.  It seemed people were divided between two camps.  Lots of 5 star reviews from people that loved it, and a lesser amount of 1 or 2 stars from the haters.  There were very few in the middle.

You either loved it, or you hated it.

General consensus of the lovers:

  • Amazing special effects.
  • Moving emotional performances.
  • Gripping tension that kept you glued to the edge of your seat.

General consensus of the haters:

  • What exactly is happening?  Too difficult to understand.
  • Too long.

From within both camps there were comments that the sound quality was a problem.  The music, they said, was too loud to hear the dialogue.

After reading the reviews, I was still looking forward to seeing the movie but my expectations were tempered, mainly because of the sound thing.   I already have hard-of-hearing issues and those movies where I spend every other minute whispering to Hubby “What did they say?” tend to drive me nuts.  Not to mention Hubby doesn’t enjoy the constant interruptions.

So we saw it.  And here’s my take:

It was gripping enough that the 3 hour length didn’t bother me.  Nor did it bother Hubby, and he often gets antsy even in 2 hour movies.  He even wants to see it again.  (I’m not so sure I do, although I’d love to see that ending again.)

The emotional performances were just what they said.  Great.  McConaughey acted his a** off, not something you usually see from him.  Matt Damon played an irritating character, and he did it decent enough so that you really didn’t like him much.  Jessica Chastain did a good job as the adult daughter of McConaughey but the one who really stole that role was Mackenzie Foy, who played the same character as a child.  Even Anne Hathaway who – I’m sorry, I just don’t like her – did a really credible performance.

As far as the science of the film?  Quantum gravity at its finest.  Loved the strings!  Loved the Rama-like spacecraft  (just exactly when is Morgan Freeman’s production company going to film Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama anyway?  He’s been promising it for years!)  It was reminiscent of several hard sci-fi books, actually.  Using “dimensional shortcuts” (like a fifth dimension) to travel or send messages through space-time is a trick of many a science fiction plot.

And then there was all the relativity.  Can you ever have too much of Einstein’s relativity?

I think not.

The negatives I would give the movie echo the same as other reviewers… the sound quality.  The science is daunting…  I’m a bit of a physics buff but I certainly didn’t understand all of it.  You really need to be up on all the latest theories to grasp the whole thing.  But I might have understood more if I could’ve heard it!  The music, while intense and wonderful, grew so loud – right during the key points of the story, of course – that even Hubby didn’t know what they said.

Do you think they did that on purpose?  So we would miss a key physics explanation?  Maybe they were fuzzy on it themselves and so covered it up with loud music?  Ha – probably not.  But it was kind of frustrating.

The other negative just has to do with my own personal idiocies in movies.  I LOVE disaster films.  And I was really looking forward to those gigantic tidal waves, frozen clouds, and planetary fires that were promised in this film.

They were a disappointment.  The waves were pretty good, but the frozen planet was “eh” and the planetary fires were fields of corn burning on Earth.  (Oh yeah, as an aside, that plant blight and Dust Bowl rendition of Earth was pretty cool.)

Still, when you have so much of Albert’s general theory of relativity in a film – well, as far as I’m concerned, Albert rules over all, so disaster disappointments are forgiven.

Plus, it was wonderful (for a change) to actually see hard sci-fi on the big screen.  So much of what they call sci-fi nowadays is more like magic, or fantasy.  I’m not opposed to those, I enjoy those too, but I’m old enough to remember when fantasy and sci-fi were different shelves at the bookstore.  Nowadays, you go to Barnes & Noble and look in sci-fi and find mostly paranormal fantasy.  Vampires, witches, and a few alien adventures with swords.

When and why sci-fi became vampires is another subject.  Maybe I’ll explore that on another post someday.

But for now, here’s the bottom line:

If you have a working knowledge of physics, Interstellar is going to rock your world.  You’ll be discussing it with your friends for days.

If you don’t understand the science one iota, it’s still pretty cool.

I say “Go”.  At the speed of light.

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