I find it amazing that someone was given a massive budget to make this movie. Where it went I don’t know. Quite simply it is manipulative, tell-don’t-show, pretentious cinema at its overblown worst -unseen since the late seventies/ early eighties.
It’s kind of mesmerisingly bad in some ways -compulsive viewing if only to witness the trappings of someone at the helm who has nobody to politely ask him to stop. It’s difficult to know what’s going on most of the time -partly because the plot goes on a trek around a blackhole in order to not show itself (I say show instead of reveal, because it’s not that it’s deliberately unwilling to show its hand, but rather unable to effectively portray what little substance there is at all) -but also in a more ‘intimate’ sense, nothing is actually shown onscreen. Instead we hear people spouting while we see someone else looking at or doing something else.
And unlike in, say, Inception (which I did enjoy quite a bit) mostly what is being said here isn’t so much exposition as it is orbital distraction. All too often it’s impossible to tell who is talking or why -and frequently- what they are saying. There’s a fairly pathetic-looking robot for instance who seems to have some interesting characteristics -not least of which is his humour setting. But most of what he says is said when he is not on the screen, so it’s hard to even be aware that he is the one who is saying it. I believe there is a second robot later on who is on-screen for even less time, so again confusion ensues for no reason other than “this is a mess -here you unscramble it”.
I do like a lot of the sound and score, but other sometimes-considered-somewhat-crucial noises such as dialogue seem to be treated with contempt. Perhaps it was the cinema in which I saw it, but who is saying what to whom, why and “what is this person crying about again?” were foremost in my mind for the 2hours 50minutes of its length.
The most annoying thing about the movie was (no spoilers) when one character is crying that she must rescue the data as an enormous tidal wave is about to say hello. That to me is where it lost me. I was willing to go with it up until then, but that lost me. The same ultra-important data is then quickly forgotten (as is the resulting death due to incompetence) as she has a cry afterwards about how maybe Love is the missing dimension (or something).
That washed it all further away for me, well out to sea.
Besides that, for its near-3hour running time, all the characters are nothing more than names, never really fleshed out.
There needs to be some kind of emotional involvement between the protagonists and the audience, but instead it settled for a manipulative father/daughter tear-jerker as an over-long single back-story, leaving everything and every one else’s motivations and emotions as nothing more than plot contrivances and twists.
To be upbeat, my favourite thing about this movie (apart from the soundtrack) is when they meet “Dr. Mann”. That works in itself, but when you try to relate that to the character’s back-story (that we are TOLD about, not shown) it doesn’t gel. You could argue he is thinking of “the human race” without any selfish emotion, but what we see on screen has almost no bearing on what has been said about him. Again maybe he has changed due to his isolation? I don’t buy that -or at least a lot more work would have to be done to convince me of that. I’m more than happy to do some work to buy into a good movie or story, but for me Interstellar is a shallow, Pretentious, over-blown, drippy folly and I am sorry to have to say that because I think Christopher Nolan has/ did have great potential. After this I doubt very much he’ll be able to get back on track. Emperor’s New Clothes comes to mind.
Overall: Nice, if average, Twilight Zone episode if it was 25 minutes long.