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Saturday, 8 November 2014


Interstellar is, I think the technical term is, bonkers.

That doesn't mean that it isn't curious and fascinating and thought-provoking in parts, but the story completely collapses under the enormous weight of the grand ideas and speculative science-fiction that it attempts to incorporate.

Matthew McConaghey is Cooper, an ex-NASA pilot who lives with his family on a future Earth that is slowly dying. Crops are failing, the environment is slowly turning against human beings.

He and his daughter, Murphy (yes, that is her first name, after Murphy's Law) come across the remnants of the old NASA, run by Professor Brand, (Michael Caine).

The Professor has a plan to save mankind, and enlists Cooper to pilot a mission to the stars. Brand's daughter, played by Anne Hathaway, and two other scientists, go with him.

There is a subplot about Murphy being contacted by ghosts, or extra-terrestrials, and messages left for her in the movement of books in her bedroom. This is returned to later on, though never at any stage becomes anything that makes sense, and in fact only adds to the nonsensical feeling of the whole.

Matt Damon turns up for a while, in a pointless cameo, just to add to the intrigue. There is a wormhole, and a black hole, and talk of event horizons and gravity and time travel.

The film soon becomes a bizarre melange of adventure story, disaster epic and family drama, with a large dose of sci-fi (heavy on the "fiction", light on the "science") mixed in.

Things get progressively more preposterous as the film goes on. The ending is open for debate, as it isn't completely clear exactly what happens. The film skimps on detail, and tends to skip over any of the inconvenient elements that are simply too complex or ill-thought-out to explain.

But the Black Hole scenes towards the end are mostly ludicrous, and the half-hearted attempt at explaining what and how it happens is just that, half-hearted, there is little real sense in the way things wrap up, and almost no attempt at being consistent or meaningful. The part played by a watch in the denouement is particularly silly.

There is also a cringe-worthy theme running through the film, that Love is the only thing that can defeat time, gravity and whatever else gets in its way. It is hard not to laugh out loud at parts of this ridiculous script.

Still, it does have cool robots. They are probably the only successful innovation in the movie, the only thing that hasn't been seen before that actually impresses. At first glance they just look like giant metal Kit-Kats, unwieldy and clumsy, but are in fact flexible and smart, heroic and even tell jokes, and are possibly the only light relief in a movie that takes itself, and its ludicrous plot, a little too seriously.  

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