I wish I had more time to write this review. I wish I had more time in general, actually, and that's a fitting mood to be in to appreciate Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi flick Interstellar.
Let's back up for a second. I do not mean to imply anything dire when I saw "I wish I had more time." I mean, who doesn't wish they had more time? That seems like a fairly universal concern. And while I certainly do mean it in the existential sense, I'm referring more specifically to the fact that lately, I simply have not been able to make time for my various blogs.
This particular one has long gone underfed, but I feel the urge to put something -- anything -- down about the movie I just saw. Thing is, I've got to go to bed or risk getting way too little sleep for the first day on the job after receiving a promotion.
What's a blogger to do?
Answer: toss off something perfunctory.
But that's okay, because I'm not sure I could get into the many feelings I have about Interstellar without delving too deep into plot. I have zero intention of spoiling anything, so rest easy knowing that this won't be that sort of review.
Instead, a few very brief observations, after which I can go to bed secure in the knowledge that I at least put something out there today:
- I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the movie. Some movies are easy to assess. Earlier this week, I saw Big Hero 6 and loved it. Terrific movie: very entertaining, with beautiful animation and rock-solid filmmaking across the board. There's nothing hugely challenging in it; but that's okay, because not all movie need to be hugely challenging. Interstellar, arguably, IS hugely challenging. And I'm simply not prepared to, on a single viewing, render a verdict. Was I entertained? You bet. Was I moved? Laws, yes. Does the screenplay work 100%? No. Does the screenplay work 50%? Let me get back to you on that. So, in short: it's an ambitious movie, and it certainly works on a number of levels, but time may reveal to me that it does not work on all levels, and if so, that might damage the movie in terms of its long-term value in my life. On the other hand, I might decide that the screenplay is 95% effective, and if so, then I'd be willing to proclaim this movie as a masterpiece. But not yet. At the worst, it's a very good piece of science-fiction entertainment.
- Matthew McConaughey . . . well, what can be said? The man is a dynamo. I've been a fan for over twenty years, having been one of the people lucky enough to discover him in Dazed and Confused in 1993 and be prepared for how good he was going to fit the role that would serve as his breakout (A Time to Kill). He made some good movies (Contact, Amistad, Lone Star) after that, too, but for a while it seemed as if he couldn't figure out where to go or what to do. Happily, that all ended a few years back, and he's been on a major winning streak (Magic Mike, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, the superb first season of True Detective) ever since. He's not necessarily better in this movie than he was in those, but understand something: he's about as good in those movies as it's possible to be, and such is the case here, too. I get it: not everyone is a fan. If you've got no taste for what he does, then I'm not sure this movie will change your mind. But it might. Yessir, it just might. He's superb, and while he won't get a second Oscar for the role, if his name isn't in the mix for it, it'll be a travesty. Or a REALLY good year for lead male performances.
- Hans Zimmer . . . I used to not be a fan of this guy, but boy, has his work with Christopher Nolan changed my mind. His stuff here is bombastic at times, and restrained at times, and what it reminds me of -- in spirit, moreso than in terms of the actual sound of the score -- is Philip Glass's transcendent music for Koyaanisqatsi.
- I just thought of something I'd like to talk about, but can't/won't. Durn.
- Christopher Nolan . . . what can he do next? If it's a hit, there's NOTHING he can't do next. If it fails -- and it might -- then I suspect he'll retrench somewhat. But he's on top of the game at the moment, and while I've got reservations about certain aspects of the story and screenplay, I've got virtually none about the craft of the filmmaking itself. Beautiful in every way. If you've got the option of seeing it in IMAX and don't take it, you're doing yourself a disservice. (Unless that big screen gives you vertigo or makes you want to whoops your lunch; and if it does, then stay away from this movie.)
- Where does the movie stand alongside serious sci-fi touchstones like 2001 and Blade Runner? Hard to say, but I'm happy to have a new movie out that at least gets to be part of that conversation; they are few and far between. Last year's Gravity sort of counts, but it's tilted way further toward sci than fi, and therefore fits in more with stuff like Apollo 13 ad The Right Stuff. Unlike those, it DOES count as sci-fi, I think; but only barely. Interstellar, on the other hand, engages in all sorts of speculation, which is the hallmark of serious-minded sci-fi.
Well, my self-imposed time-limit has elapsed, so it's wrappin'-up time.
Bottom lie: if you're a fan of science fiction films, then this is a must-see. You may have reservations like the ones I have; you may end up with even more of them. Either way, the movie is quite an experience, and figuring out the specifics of how you feel about it will probably make for fun conversations.
So, is that a recommendation?