Notes on: Interstellar

Spoilers for Interstellar and Sunshine

I liked that Coop, as a scientist, always had that little notebook in his chest pocket. You never know when you might need a paper and a pen

The whole Matt Damon section didn’t work, it was the worst bit of the film. Sunshine went wrong in the same way — feeling the need to personify its antagonist. Nature is a bad enough bad guy, we don’t need a humanised form of evil.

This section was worsened by how obviously untrustworty Damon’s character was. His broken down robot, him trying to talk the others out of accessing it, it was clear as soon as we met him that this wasn’t going to go well. And his fight with Coop looked gommy too.

The robots were awesome. In the (real-life) age of anthromorphic robots, it was nice to see a future where they look more like “robotic Kit-Kat bars”, as Wired magazine called them. I grinned when TARS turned into a pinwheel to race after Brand on the watery planet.

My one beef with the robots: the dramatic moment when Damon’s base exploded was lightened by the humour of seeing TARS racing away from the explosion

In the future, there will be…Carhartt

Interstellar tried, and somehow failed, to capture the beauty and awesomeness of space. The most visually compelling shots take place on ground, none of the space was particularly memorable.

As a middle-aged father, the part of Interstellar that most appealed to me was the time differences between Earth and the watery planet. Having Coop sit there and in minutes watch his children age by decades, brutal. I didn’t well up, honest.

That part reminded me of the comic Halo Jones by Alan Moore. Ms Jones joins the army, and fights on a planet where time passes much more slowly on the battlefield than back at base. So she’d go out to battle for a few hours, then return to find years had passed. There’s something poignant about parts of your life passing so quickly.

The whole tesseract/Coop behind the bookshelves thing didn’t work for me either. I’m still not sure why. Maybe I found it hard to resolve knocking books from shelves (the usual realm of the cinematic supernatural) with the film’s science. Maybe it seemed too easy having Coop communicate all that info via some books and a watch. I don’t know. But after Planet Damon, this was the least interesting moment for me

So Casey Affleck, basically a madman by this point, returns home after having his crops burned to find Topher Grace wielding a tire iron at him, and having already been driven to violence, goes all passive because his sister thinks she’s got a message from their dad? No

Doyle dies on the water planet. No one cares. Poor Doyle, what a redshirt

It blows my mind that the water planet stuff is mostly real, so part of Iceland actually looks like that. Presumably without the enormous waves that would kill everyone.

As good a director as Christopher Nolan is, he doesn’t seem too concerned with logic, preferring a strong visual or emotion (as the many plot holes of his Batman films prove). On Cooper Station, Coop enters the hospital room of his daughter. He’s surrounded by his descendants. None of them even bat an eye, and silently move aside to let him through. Then Coop leaves without looking at any of them. Given that Coop could reconcile with his daughter and then set out to find Brand, I did wonder if this was his dream or the afterlife. But, if so, why would he be seeing his daughter on her deathbed? And if it’s reality, why did no one else set out to find Brand?

I realise these notes read as critical. I loved Interstellar. But what stuck in my head to write down were my small criticisms of it, rather than the general sense of awe it provoked. If I can sit in a cinema for 3.5 hours and not feel desperate to escape and restore bloodflow to my buttocks, what I’ve watched is a good film


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