It has been hard to stay away from Interstellar talk on the internet since the day I saw the teaser trailer. I’ve been in on it since I saw it was a Christopher Nolan joint and another Matthew McConaughey1 gig.

As we approached the opening, the internet has been inundated with reviews, speculation and opinion. Some of it is the high expectation of a Chris Nolan movie. He is with out a doubt the sci-fi director of the moment. I, and the internet, loved Inception, Memento, all the Batman(s), and even his Following.

It is precisely the fan love for Nolan’s work that invites the increased scrutiny of this movie.

Everything from the science to the plot has been much discussed. So let me add some more. Because you need it.

The Science

From everything I read post-watch, the science is solid. Not only did they back the movie with Kip Thorne’s brain, but it passed the ND Tyson test. Having only taken two Astronomy courses, I defer to those guys on the technical stuff.

In fact, i think it is kind of awesome that the special effects team provided the first visual model of a black hole.

Everything beyond the entering of Gargantua is fiction, and make-believe, and well within the suspension of disbelief that is a prerequisite of movie-watching. I’ve read some stuff that calls character actions plot holes and I am more stupid for it. They question the wisdom of going into a black hole or the necessity of “They” setting up wormholes, and tesseracts, and communicating via gravity.

That stuff is all part of the movie myth and aren’t plot holes.

The other stuff, the robots, the cryo-sleep, eh. I can buy it for the purposes of the movie. I wouldn’t say it is “fast and loose with science”, CinemaBlend.

That is to say that the science is good enough for me to enjoy the story.

The Story

First, the length. I’ve never been one to shy away from lengthy movie. I mean, I do an hour-long podcast that gets complaints. “It is so long.” To which I reply “what else are you going to do?”

With a movie, it is a little more difficult. I drank a beer and had some water during and before the movie. That meant I had to use take a break halfway through. Outside of that, I didn’t see a problem. The pacing was nice. The length allowed some the film the necessary room to breathe, and the weight of each action to linger. I mean, the entire journey to Saturn takes something like 8 months. There is a pit stop on two different planets, two different tales are told, and there are plot threads that would be the entire film in other movies (Mission to Mars, maybe Red Planet).

Given the story heft required, the time was fine.

Whereas I don’t know if I would have gone with the tesseract/book shelf ending, I don’t hate it so much that I dismiss the movie. It made sense, it was sort of satisfying 2

The Acting

Matt McConaughey was typically great. He was believable enough as an engineer/farmer/pilot guy and also as a dad who is dying to get back to see them. Catwoman was fine as NASA person/daughter of leading NASA dude, Alfred. She hammed it a bit, and she’s not my favorite in this world but that’s that. She didn’t detract from the film.

The cast was unusually star-studdded, and that – while cool — takes me out of the movie for a half-second. “Topher Grace?” “The Dude with the face on the back of his head from American Horror Story?” “Jessica Chastain?” “Matt Damon?”

Given that Nolan can command a big enough budget / magnetism that actors want to work with him, this isn’t bad. These people have talent, have won awards, and want to do the film. Can’t knock Nolan for that.

General Randomly Remembered Stuff

  • Romily spent 23-fucking years there? GAWD. Kid Affleck’s videos to his dad were kind of heart-tugging. Matt McConaughey reacting to that was great.
  • I thought it was a bit strange that Murph and Cooper’s reunion was short, but like so many things about this movie, upon second thought it makes sense. They knew everything was going to be fine. Murphy’s greatest fear was that she was left to die. Once she knew she wasn’t, she made peace, saved the world with a math equation, and banged Topher Grace.
  • More about the timeline from Neil deGrasse Tyson.
  • I didn’t interpret the “explorers, not caretakers” line as a ultra-conservative one, but instead as a knock that we have diminished the role of space exploration in favor of “more pressing” concerns on earth. And we have. It is a wink at that. “Hey, remember when we used to go to space and be excited about it?”

Jalepeños: 4/4

  1. We talked a bit about how good he’s been on the show. Here we talk about True Detective on the Deranged Pengwin Podcast. 

  2. I kind of predicted this would end with the black hole being a time warp back home or the way to go back in time. I was kind of right. I didn’t think the Others would be Cooper actually saying “stay”. The fact that he was the one giving the coordinates and the morse code for “STAY” rules out the “He is dead” theories. 

This was originally published here