I am a fan of Chris Nolan, but I rarely 'love' his movies. I tend to appreciate- or even be in awe of them. They are investments in time that reward you with big ideas and impressive concepts- things that stay with you and remind you how smart and how grand filmmaking can be.
Interstellar is no exception to this. Here again are big ideas, grand concepts, impressive filmmaking, stunning visuals and cinematography, real characters, emotional relationships and attempts to treat the audience as though they are smart, passionate people rather than popcorn-munching drones. Throw in an impressive Zimmer score (yes, I liked it) and you have all the ingredients for a Nolan-epic.
Except... something about this didn't quite hang together and I noticed it again on second viewing. It breaks my heart to say it but I found it a slog at times. It felt loose rather than cohesive- a disjoined smorgasbord of scenes and moments that never quite resolve into a satisfying narrative. As such, it lacks the simplicity of Contact or the arrow-straight purpose of 2001. Don't get me wrong- those scenes and moments were regularly amazing and awe-inspiring (especially infused with that score and those visuals), and the underpinning in real theoretical science is something to be praised to the heavens. But I genuinely think the whole is less than the sum of its parts- at least for this viewing. Take for example the wormhole scene- Nolan intercuts it all to hell so you never get to really feel the immensity of the journey like you do in 2001's star-gate sequence. He just seems to pull you out just as you are getting immersed. It doesn't help either that the characters act as though what they are doing is as mundane as a trip to the dentist. Rarely do the characters pause to reflect on their surroundings and that too has a de-immersing effect. The dialogue also pendulums between almost poetic too outright clunky. And some of the exposition made me wince (Romilly explaining how wormholes work using the paper n' pencil cliché).
But that aside, the fact alone that someone has even attempted something this stupendous is something we should all be thankful for, regardless of how successful the attempt. I'll certainly be rewarding that effort with more viewings- just not for a little while.
How does it look and sound? It's not the prettiest film ever made lets face it, and even in those wondrous space scenes Nolan has gone for stark monochromatic realism rather than 'ooh, aah' loveliness of, say, Gravity. However when that screen candy comes (especially in IMAX) then boy does it come. Various shots of the black hole or Saturn or the spacecraft are tear-inducingly beautiful. Its a film that demands to be seen on bluray and not left to the lottery of unreliable streaming. The sound is ferocious too (often at the expense of dialogue) so be prepared for neighbours banging on the door if you watch at the requisite volume.
Interstellar User Review
Nolan reaches for the starsReview of Interstellar Blu-ray by lucasisking, Sep 24, 2015.This item was purchased for 15.00 from Sainsburys in 2015. The reviewer still owns this product.