'Interstellar' Nolan Fans Member Reviews

Christopher Nolan's 2014 grand scale science-fiction story about time and space, and the things that transcend them.
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I don't have a review, per se - just a series of tweets I posted on Twitter talking about the movie. I guess you can think of it as a mini-review. No spoilers, of course.

>> Interstellar is Nolan's most ambitious film to date. Be prepared for an incredible journey in this sprawling 169-minute epic.
>> Occasionally labyrinthine, Nolan takes a stab at telling an emotional story of a father and his daughter – and succeeds.
>> If there’s one thing you should take away from Interstellar is this: love can transcend time and space.
>> Acting was solid across the board, led from the front by a commanding performance from Matthew McConaughey.
>> Hans Zimmer’s score is a relentless, raging beast that adds depth and emotion to pivotal scenes.
>> Interstellar is a visual spectacle that should not be missed in IMAX. Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography & VFX are all but certain.
>> Engaging from start to finish, Interstellar is a poignant reminder of our limited time on Earth.

SCORE: 9/10

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I saw the film last night on a cheap ticket. It was great, and beautifully-shot. Nolan's most emotionally-driven movie to date. I like the acting done by Matthew, Anne, and even Bill Irwin's TARS (such a cool robot. Why there isn't an action figure for this, along with CASE, is beyond me). Zimmer's score was bombastic at times (which makes some dialogues inaudible), but it was nicely crafted. Definitely one of my top 3 Nolan films. It might have a potential to knock Memento out of the top spot once the blu-ray is released.


Edit: Forgot to mention the VFX. Oh. my. god. Paul Franklin and his team did a terrific job on the blackhole and wormhole (and all the other effects they've done). :shock:

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This is my review in Chinese: http://i.mtime.com/roberthoo/blog/7823407/


Last edited by Roberthoo on November 12th, 2014, 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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the_red_ninja wrote:First viewing: Not bad. 8/10 (NF hyped it too much for me I think)

Need to see it again though.
Second viewing: Perfect docking yo. 10/10.
The first time round, 25% of the time I did not know what I was looking at. This time I was in the groove yo. Performance-wise, I cannot imagine anyone else playing the father-daughter duo. Precious chemistry. The crew in space, especially TARS and CASE, was a great group dynamic to watch. For a sci fi, there wasn't that much exposition, but it worked out yo. I was on the fence about the music, but I learnt to appreciate the subtle and creepy interludes.
I wish I was this satisfied the first time.

No matter what anyone says, Nolan is always growing as a director and that is what truly blows my mind. Just think of the fooo-cha yo :shock:

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The first time I saw it, I was off-my-face high, so I don't think it counts lol. The second time I watched it, I went for too many toilet breaks. And going for the toilet breaks made me realise how densely packed the film is - every frame tells us something about the character/plot/setting. So I'm going to watch it a 3rd time and take my toilet breaks at points I've already seen so I'll catch the ones I missed.

Then I'll write a review.

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OK. I saw Interstellar for the 3rd time this evening and it was a completely different movie for me this time. I take back what I had said about the "love transcending..." speech being a flaw. It worked perfectly for me this time.

I loved the scenes in the spacecraft between Anne, McC and David G much more. There is an intimacy to these scenes which made you believe these people had been in close contact for years. McC and David's scene where he gives him the earphones to listen to the recorded rainstorm was beautiful. I loved Anne's performance much more this time and appreciated the subtlety she brought to it. McC's performance really is iconic. He does resemble Paul Newman physically and in the role really conveys integrity and honesty like Newman did. All his line readings - nothing is ever the trite, expected, rote recitation of a line. David G was so delicate in his performance.

Coop's kids were all fantastic: MacK gave, after McC, the most emotionally devastating performance. Jessica and Casey Affleck were superb and really killing it in the tape scene. Ellen Burstyn was wonderful in the recorded segments and in the final scene.

The exposition scenes which have been criticized were fine, not too little, not too much (I'm no scientist and I needed them).

Matt Damon was great and there was a gasp when people recognized him. I think I understand why Nolan cast such a famous actor in such a small role. McC builds up such a "reputation" in the film, he is the not invincible but honorable hero. He cannot - morally - be brought down by a nonentity. Kind of the Sherlock vs. Moriarty dynamic. Nolan needed someone who would bring prestige with him (Damon as the Nice Guy but also as the tough, Jason Bourne, guy) to make it seem like a fight between two heavyweights rather than one heavyweight and one cliched villain. The scene of them fighting on the glacier and photographed from a height reminds me of a similar scene from some movie (I think a French movie and I have been racking my brain to remember which one).

And the funny lines - and there are lots of them with TARS and Coop - got big laughs.

The theater was packed. Audience was mainly older people and 50/50 men/women. It was eerily silent, nobody talked, a lot of sobbing in the tapes scene and scene with elderly Murph and Coop. Not many people got up to go pee (except for me!). At the end, everybody in the theater stayed for the end credits, sitting in silence.

Now I don't think there are any flaws in the film. It is science fiction, not a documentary. There can't be any plot holes, because it is impressionistic and you can't interpret it in a literal manner. It isn't realism, it's sort of magical realism more like a fable than
a by-the-numbers movie like Gravity which shouldn't have had plot holes. Interstellar is an opera and you aren't supposed to understand (or even hear - I'm sure the music drowning out some of the dialogue is on purpose) word-for-word everything that is going on I think. You are supposed to give yourself over to the music and images and that's also why Hans Zimmer's work is such an integral part of the film.

In the religion vs. science discussion in the other thread, I think Interstellar is situated between spirituality and science. Like in Anne's speech about love being a factor whose weight can't be measured, I think Interstellar transcends genre and the limitations of science fiction. In that way, it is very much the follow-up to 2001.

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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:

• Acting
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:
Matthew McConaughey
Anne Hathaway
Mackenzie Foy
Matt Damon
Jessica Chastain
Bill Irwin
Casey Affleck
Michael Caine
David Gyasi
Wes Bentley
John Lithgow
Ellen Burstyn
Timothee Clemant
David Oyelowo
Topher Grace

• 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.

• Score
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.

• Cinematography
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.

• Editing
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.

• Sound
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.

Favourite Scenes
1. Docking:
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.

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All Critics: 98% (average Rating: 9.2/10)
Top Critics: 100% (average Rating: 9.3/10)

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You could say that watching Interstellar for the first time is a lot to take in. You can even say that this movie is not for everyone. And that's okay.

My first viewing of Interstellar left me puzzled, rattled, confused. I didn't know how to process what I had just witnessed. I could of course admire and appreciate the amazing cinematography, the incredible performances, the off-the-charts soundtrack, and the insane special-effects. But the themes and story that Nolan tells here are surprising and strange and it goes to places you just wouldn't expect coming in. It can either baffle you or inspire you, but it still grabs you in such a way that makes for a visceral, unforgettable experience. I had some problems with the clunky/rushed editing at times and the ending didn't quite do it for me at first. As hard as it was to describe or review what I watched, by the end of my first viewing I probably would have given this film an 8/10.

But five days later I went to see Interstellar again. Because I couldn't stop thinking about it. "It's nothing like I've ever seen before", it's all I could say to myself. And sure, because I also didn't understand some plot points at first. And then, during this second time, Interstellar just opened to me in ways that I honestly didn't expect. I noticed new things, I could finally say I appreciate others, and it all made sense.

This is an experience very few will be able to forget. My admiration for this keeps growing everyday. It wasn't as instant as Inception, but I think it might just surpass it. People who go see this with preconceived ideas of what the movie is going to be probably won't like it. You need to have an open mind to enjoy the ride. This is a masterpiece.

Final score: 10/10.

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Last edited by ANONIMNIQ on June 26th, 2019, 11:59 am, edited 3 times in total.

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