My General 'ZOD' Thoughts on Christopher Nolan's Interstellar on Rewatch (Most likely just a repeat of everyone elses thoughts, but I don't care):
Things I loved About Interstellar:
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon. Five main standouts, each having their only duties to serve (Except Foy and Chastain), and all manage to bring something distinctive to their character instead of remaining as very one-sided plot people. Even for some of the weaker characters (Bentley, Gyasi, and Affleck for example) they all managed to show us something fascinating.
Ranking of Cast:
• Production Design
The design of all the things futuristic, including the Endurance and TARS and CASE, have this rather stark feeling that makes it feel very ripe for the type of film it is, and it’s all in the greyish colours that Nolan loves to use.
This is probably the top reason why I loved this film so much besides the story and Nolan’s pristine direction. Zimmer manages to convey a cacophony of wonder and something that feels so personal. It’s the type of music that makes me feel hopeful and adventurous and thrilled and all these variety of things, and it made my investment in each scene as engaging whenever I heard the explosive sound of that beautiful piano or that harmonious organ play.
• Visual Effects
Gravity may have captured what it’s like to be in space, but Interstellar achieves what it’s like to explore the galaxy. It is the type of visual effects that lines up with 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of the usage of practical effects. In a day and age where it’s easier to strategize how to achieve certain shots, Interstellar bends expectations and delivers us visual effects that could not have even come close to being beautiful if they were computed generated.
Sorry Wally, you had your moments to shine, but you missed out on this giant. Hoyte van Hotema has now taken the title as the most promising cinematographer of today, and Interstellar shows us some of the most gorgeous shots we’ll ever see on a cinema screen. From the early shots of Cooper and his children driving through the cornfields, to the shots of the Endurance flying past Mars and Saturn, and to the soon-to-be iconic POV shots from the side of the Endurance, making you feel like you’re controlling the ship yourself. From some shots, you could tell this was pure Nolan, like at the beginning when Cooper and his family are having breakfast, the colours held such an impressive blend in the same way that the colours of Inception or The Dark Knight Rises had.
What Could Have Been Improved
• Script and Dialogue
We can all agree that the biggest problem this film faces is its scriptwriting. Nolan may be notorious for being the king of exposition when it comes to screenwriting, but here it is no exception to his reputation. But in fairness, in comparison to Inception, the exposition is tuned down so that we’re able to get a firm grasp on the key concepts that the film explores. If they weren’t explained, the mystery would have become more mysterious than it already was which could have made it result in a film that felt abstract. Yes, it is exposition galore, but you have to remember that this is supposed to be thinking-man’s Blockbuster; it appeals to the audience who prefer to switch their brains off for 2 and a half hours and give them something to think about.
There were a few editing choices that didn’t really fit with how the film flowed. We can all agree that Lee Smith is not the greatest editor out there, and he’s probably more known for essentially chopping up a chunk of small scenes from The Dark Knight Rises (Foley’s Death scene for example). Here, it’s a little bit better, but it’s still not the best it could have been. Some voice-over choices were very weird, like the countdown from TARS when they leave earth as well as the instant cutting away from dialogue during the scene when Mann attempts to board the Endurance. Even the last minute of the film felt very choppy and inconsistent when you compare it to something like The Dark Knight’s ending.
Now admittedly, the sound on this viewing was better than first, but a lot of the sounds from the shuttle launch and even the dialogue of Caine’s death scene (even though I could hear more of what he said this time) was still somewhat of messy. It’s not that big of an issue really since there isn’t a lot in terms of important plot details that it offers, but it still would have been better if we were able to pick up on them.
This scene has got to be one of the best scenes in recent cinema history. It provides an amazing mixture of acting, music, intensity, subtext, cinematography, editing and sound all into one scene. I still can’t get the sound of those beautiful organs out of my head or those shots of the Endurance spinning around.
2. The Teseract:
If the last 10 minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey had someone to rival in terms of Sci-Fi weirdness, it’s the scene when Cooper enters the fifth dimension. It’s a scene that will be talked about for years to come and will be studied and will be attempted to be torn apart by nit-picky script analysts.
3. Through the Wormhole:
Once again, rivals the Stargate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey in terms of showing us something incredibly bizarre and yet so exciting. It is because of the wormhole in this film that will have to make us question how we visually look at scientific concepts and how they would exist in real life.
While it is riddled with flaws, it manages to squash any issue that is clinging on to it and makes up for it in its fantastical execution. Just like the scarecrow, the tin-man and the lion; it has a brain, it has a heart, and it has the courage.