As I try to go and watch films weekly, I’m actually not picky at all. You know what I needed to know to watch Fury? Brad Pitt and a tank. Why am I going to watch John Wick? Because Keanu Reeves is shooting people. So, I usually have the expectation of a 45 year old single dad in terms of hype. But then I get excited for some films. Quite a few ones are actually personal, like a form of religious service.
We’re talking about Christopher Nolan here. If I’m invested in a film like I’m actually a part of it, he’s the most divine one. So, I was hyped. I remember when I left the theatre after seeing Inception in 2010, all I ever wanted was to watch it again. So, I left nothing to chance. I arranged to see two screenings on the first Saturday (Friday was not available for the reasons I don’t want to discuss).
Uhm, what happened? “Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future.” Once you were a kid, you thought space was the coolest. (Watch this animation and be sad for how much you’re getting old). I was expecting the ultimate space film to end all space films. I was expecting the coldest, meanest, smartest film yet. I love how you feel smart when you “get” Nolan’s plot points. I can argue how on Prestige Hugh Jackman lied about being cloned and that you’re a fucking idiot if you disagree with it. I wanted some ambiguity and some spectacular new planets; because I would kill to be able to create something like Inception’s limbo. I wanted this to be the coldest. Because space should be huge, soulless and cold, right? Yeah, even the Time article stated that Nolan is emotionally cold. He is a guy who is never seen without a suit and a tie. He shoots his films all buttoned-up. Well, he says “it’s a habit he adopted out of respect for the crew” but he also doesn’t use a cell phone, you can’t just e-mail him about stuff. Just to read; Jessica Chastain got her script watermarked with her name. She wasn’t allowed to keep the script after she read it.
Then again, what we have here is an essentially a Steven Spielberg film. You know, to quote moviebob, Nolan films are all about hyper-masculine view on emotion versus reason. Rigid stoic professionalism is the highest possible virtue and heroes who embody that virtue are brought down by the interference of emotional response. It was the plot of Inception. It was the Dark Knight trilogy. It’s not the point here. It’s like someone dared Nolan to feel something and make a movie about parenthood and cute hipster stuff; and Nolan, ever the robot and one of the greatest geniuses of our time, accepted the dare and made a film about love. I sarcastically laughed at every single “love conquers all” reference.
At the hands of Spielberg it would be so much different. (Again, do not presume that the reason of my bitterness for this film is because it was weak. It just wasn’t what I expected. My eyes were almost teary on the 23 year gap stuff. Arman actually DID cry.) But there are fifteen differences:-Instead of Dr. Mann showing up and yelling MATT DAMON! MATT DAMON! MATT DAMON! and MATT DAMON! (I thought he was Mark Wahlberg first and was immediately puzzled, also, do you need a link for this reference?) at us, there are aliens and bad robots. I’m quite serious. Cooper finds a dusty Chinese base camp on the planet so the Chinese had already discovered the ice planet 30 years prior with a 4 man crew & 15 robots. Nolan probably hates every depiction of aliens (except for the Alien series) and the last Indy film anyway. The original story loses the emotional connection between the father & daughter and instead it explores much more fully the relationship of Cooper & Brand as it grows. So, I don’t know what to say, Nolan can’t handle that yuck girl and boy relationship stuff but tries something even more fundamentally about love itself? I’m confused. They also find a laboratory containing a machine, which when turned on reverses the gravity inside the room and we’re relieved from Half Life 3 confirmed jokes.
We have a well-settled and dignified space drama. I don’t think it can get any smarter than this without being a documentary. Even the dust bowl survivors at the beginning were real. They weren’t actors at all. They lived through the real dust bowl of 1930’s. Nolan actually said “We could not in the film make it as bad as it really was or people wouldn’t believe it”. (Here’s hoping for a post-apocalyptic Nolan film. Something darker than Mad Max.) So in terms of realism, we know he worked with a cosmologist. I liked all glamorous space shots (more than that overrated Quick Time Events the Movie) and we did all our homework about space ye’ dimwits! expositions but nevertheless I was expecting Inception: Space Boogaloo. Also, six dudes leaving the theater claimed the film was not realistic because Cooper never ate or drink something in space and never visited a bathroom. I wasn’t this enraged at probable low points of human mental capacity in quite a while.
I’m adding this just to be sure we’re at the same page: I watched Inception five times, The Dark Knight Rises five times and The Dark Knight six times at the theatre. (Not counting watching at home).
Interstellar will only have three viewings and sometimes, you can’t make a Nolan film with Nolan.