Science VS. Science Fiction
A Review of Interstellar
Review by Jacquelyn Phillips
While conversing amongst my coworkers one sunny Sunday afternoon, I mentioned how I was going to see Interstellar with a friend of mine around 9:45pm. One of my managers chuckled and shook his head. “Why don’t I just tell you about it and save you the three hours,” he said morosely. “Let me know when you see it so we can compare notes.”
I will admit that his statement worried me. What was I getting myself into? Would it be one of those movies where I sat and stared at the screen wondering how I could gain back those lost hours of my life? I warned my friend that we might be watching a movie that wasn’t going to live up to our expectations.
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar failed to meet the $50 million box office projection for opening weekend, totaling $47.5 million instead. With such an acclaimed writer-director and with a big-star cast (Matthew McConaughey, John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway, Michael Kane and Matt Damon to name a few), this movie was expected to top the box office—Big Hero 6 managed to real in $56 million, putting this film to shame.
Here are the reasons why I believe this movie did not soar into outer space:
- The length. Three hours is a long time for an individual to sit in a movie theatre. In order for that to happen, the moviegoer must be dedicated, ready to stay awake no matter what time the movie, snacks at hand, a caffeinated soda sitting in the cup holder. While some movies must be long because of the backstory, the action scenes and the explanation of certain character quirks/personalities, Interstellar could have easily been cut down to two hours. There were scenes interlaced throughout the film that showed a single image of the front corner of the spacecraft with a planet/water/stars in the background—each time this showed, I’d say it took up about one minute of film time, totaling forty-five minutes to an hour of unnecessary filming. Maybe it was done for “effect” but it was more annoying than anything.
- The lack of action. The trailer promised a movie filled with action-packed scenes of space travel and worldly destruction. While movie trailers have been known to be misleading, this trailer caused a lot of hype that wound up disappointing movie viewers throughout the United States (the movie did better in foreign theatres). In a long film, the director must be cognizant of how important action is to keep the attention of the movie’s patrons. Don’t get me wrong—there were some fantastic scenes that made me jump out of my seat, gasp and bring my hands up to cover my mouth, but those came few and far between.
- The attempt to mix science with science fiction. This may seem a weird statement to make, as the two genres seem to be intertwined, but there is a vast difference between the science we learn as children and adults in school and the world of science fiction. This appears to be a new fad taking over theatres. The same attempt was made for the film Lucy, and I found that to be just as disappointing. Christopher Nolan took a large chance with his “movie twist” (I will not be spoiling anything for you here—you should see the movie yourself), delving into a world more fantasy than science fiction, while trying to justify this “twist” with a scientific explanation, as if the measurements of gravity can completely explain communication between humans and “them”—see the movie and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Although these three points were negative in my point of view after watching this film, I will say that I was thoroughly intrigued for the first hour and a half to two hours. The ending completely ruined it for me, and to make sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, I consulted the friend who attended this attempt at space travel with me. She agreed—the movie took a turn for the worst, when it could have easily dealt with the science fiction/science aspects through black hole time travel. There were scenes between the family that brought tears to my eyes, tugged at the strings attached to my heart, and made me want to crawl into my loved one’s arms for a hug. There were scenes that I was not expecting, changing the course of the film, leading the story in a direction that could not have earlier been anticipated. There were scenes that made me dizzy because I felt I was actually in the space craft, looking down at earth, suffering from title waves on a new planet, spinning in circles in desperate need of Dramamine.
But overall, I felt this movie did not meet my expectations and took liberties that intertwined science and science fiction in a way that was cheesy and disappointing.
I still recommend seeing the movie so that you can form your own opinion, but I would wait until it was out of theaters and able to rent for one dollar at the local RedBox near you.