I saw “Interstellar” last night–somewhat pathetically, the third film I’ve managed to see in the theaters this calendar year. (The other two were “Omar” and “Atlas Shrugged 3.”) My advice: ignore the nay-saying critics and see it. I didn’t quite understand it, and haven’t quite digested it, but absolutely do not regret having seen the 10:30 pm showing, and staying until 1:20 am.
The two best reviews I read were A.O. Scott’s in The New York Times, and Dana Stevens’s in Slate. The film does have some flaws, however, and David Denby’s review in The New Yorker is a painless guide to them.
P.S., Before the feature presentation, I saw a preview for a forthcoming Ridley Scott film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” I’ll probably be there when it opens in December, but I’m kind of hoping we don’t get the ancient historical reprise of the other “Exodus” film. I have to admit that one of these days, I’d really like to see a film version of the Exodus story as depicted from the Canaanite perspective: “Promised Land: Invasion of the Yahwists.” Rated NC-17 for violence and potentially unsettling political implications.
Postscript 2, November 12, 2014. Here’s an interesting real-life postscript to the movie, the European Space Agency’s successful landing of its spaceship Rosetta/Philae on Comet 67P/Churuyomov-Gerasimenko.
Postscript 3, November 16, 2014 (HERE BE SPOILERS): The ending of “Interstellar” seems preposterous to those of unschooled in the relevant physics, but from what I’ve been reading, it’s basically on-target (not that I know). I saw a piece by Neil deGrasse Tyson that gave a scientific thumbs-up to the film, but I lost track of it, so here’s a piece from Time that seems to come to the same conclusions.
Postscript 4, November 20, 2014 (MORE SPOILERS!). The commentary on “Interstellar” keeps coming, and I keep reading it. Here’s an intelligent piece by Dennis Overbye, mostly focused on the science of the film.
By contrast, David Brooks, who focuses on the non-scientific elements of the film, is predictably vacuous, as he is on most subjects. Brooks is right that the film offers some insightful depictions of non-romantic love. But this gets things wildly wrong:
On top of that, there is an even more attenuated love. It’s the love humans have for their ancestors and the love they have for the unborn. In the movie, 12 apostles go out alone into space to look for habitable planets. They are sacrificing their lives so that canisters of frozen embryos can be born again in some place far away.
Nolan wants us to see the magnetic force of these attachments: The way attachments can exert a gravitational pull on people who are separated by vast distances or even by death. Their attention is riveted by the beloved. They hunger for reunion.
Actually, you could more plausibly argue that Nolan wants us to see the perversity of such attachments–attachments to potential beings that require the sacrifice of actual ones. Can we really love our distant and anonymous ancestors, much less love frozen embryos? The claim is simply preposterous, and ignores what the film is really about.
More Brooksoid blather:
Bloggers have noticed the religious symbols in the movie. There are those 12 apostles, and there’s a Noah’s ark. There is a fallen angel named Dr. Mann who turns satanic in an inverse Garden of Eden. The space project is named Lazarus. The heroine saves the world at age 33. There’s an infinitely greater and incorporeal intelligence offering merciful salvation.