24 November 2014

A Journey Into The Mysterious Hole

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Science seems like a fairly interesting subject so I have to give credit to my school teachers for making it seem so fucking boring. In fact at this point, I think the majority of my scientific knowledge comes from Breaking Bad which I suspect was dubious at best. In school they taught me that friction will slow a tennis ball after it's rolled down a slope. How fucking mind blowing... In Breaking Bad though, I saw Walter White throw a bag of white shit at a wall and the whole thing fucking exploded. I don't even care if it's possible, that's science, bitch!! To be honest, I'm generally one of those people who doesn't care how something works so long that it does. Do I need to know how it's possible for me to get an internet signal on my phone wherever I am? Nope! But the knowledge that I can be anywhere in the world and still have access to hardcore pornography is more than comforting. 

Anyway, so I saw Christopher Nolan's new film Interstellar last night and that seemed to have some science in it. To summarise it in a spoiler free way, I'd say that it starts in the not too distant future in which all our food has died and all we're left with is corn. Beyond the novelty of knowing that sweetcorn can leave my body in the exact same condition that it entered, I'd say that I hate this food and so would have no interest in living in these conditions. It seems that humanity agrees and so before we starve ourselves into extinction, Matthew McConaughey stumbles upon a top secret space mission which aims to find us a new planet to call home. So in essence, I suppose this film is kind of like an intergalactic adaptation of Channel 4's Relocation, Relocation, Relocation. Anyway, so the plan is to blast a rocket through a wormhole where we'll be taken to a new galaxy with three possible planets to lay our collective hat. I guess that's all I can say really without giving stuff away. The only other thing to mention is that McConaughey has some kids which he's left behind and that he's desperate to return to. I think this film was meant to be a love letter to Nolan's own children however for me it just highlighted the benefits of having no attachments. I might one day be found rotting in my home after having been dead for several months but before then at least I can stay out as late as I'd like without having to worry.

So, I guess it's first thing first and we should address whether or not the film is actually any good. I mean, it's kind of obvious that it's going to be, surely though? There are basically two kinds of people in this world which are those who love Christopher Nolan's films and those who lie due to a desperate need for attention. Interstellar is by no means perfect but for its sheer ambition, I think it should be at the very least admired. It isn't based on a pre-existing brand, it doesn't intend to set up a franchise and it's a big budget movie that assumes the audience isn't a bunch of dribbling, brain dead fucknuggets. I mean, you could obviously say the same about Inception too which just goes to show that perhaps this Nolan man does deserve the praise that's heaped on him. It's been fourteen years since his first proper film was released and in that time he's made several original large budget movies, introduced a level of realism to blockbusters that is now copied by fucking everybody and re-defined how we view two ancient icons of pop-culture with both Batman and Michael Caine. Although to be fair to Bruce Wayne, I don't think he's been using his newly gained popularity to engage in his hobby of tax avoidance. 

Originally, Interstellar was being set up as a film for Spielberg which is interesting considering this fits so neatly into Nolan's filmography. Like Inception, Batman, and Memento, the thrust of the main characters motivation comes from a love of their family. McConaughey hasn't gone into space because he wants to save the world but instead because he wants to save his children. Rather how Lenny in Memento wasn't on his mission for fun but for the similarly sentimental reason of wanting to get revenge on the callous bastards that raped and murdered his wife. It's sweet what people will do for family! Interstellar also deals with the concept of time which has been an obvious element of most of his other films. However here it is a part of the story as opposed to the structure of the narrative. In fact, there are scenes in which time is played out with people experiencing it at different speeds which is reminiscent of that moment in Inception when the bus falls off a bridge as its passengers piss about for hours in their heads. As well as these though, the film features more practical elements such as the design of the spaceship which also bears a passing resemblance to that giant black hover-scab that Batman flies about in in The Dark Knight Rises. I won't give too much away but there's also a scene near the end where a world folds in on itself which isn't unlike that scene from Inception where Ellen Page and DiCaprio start walking up walls like a couple of massive city-benders.

Having said all of that, I don't think it's Nolan's best film by a long shot. Perhaps this is just me but for some reason I found it difficult to connect to on an emotional level. It's not that the film is filled with a Kubrickian coldness despite the obvious influence of 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact, if anything, Interstellar is a love letter to both humanity and our human emotions. Nor is it that my childless self can't empathise with the plight of a man who is desperate to save his kids from a slow and grim death. I actually don't know what the problem was really... Perhaps it was how humourless it was? Or maybe it's that anybody with half a brain can work out the ending from the first thirty minutes thus removing some degree of tension. Will their mission be a success? I don't know but there might be a clue in those talking heads that we're treated to. Is the young girl being given messages from a ghost? Well, either it's a ghost which would be pretty fucking random or perhaps it's something else that would tie the narrative up in a slightly neater way. 

Oh, although, when I say you can work out the ending, I mean that in the broadest possible of ways. I don't think anybody could expect some of the mad shit that takes place as McConaughey adventures into the dark arsehole of nowhere. This, I suppose, is where all the science comes into it for me with physicist Kip Thorne being heavily involved in both the conception of the film and in keeping the story vaguely based in the realms of what's theoretically possible. As mentioned earlier, I know very little about science and I don't care how true something is so long as it works within the context of the film. Is The Phantom Menace a bad film because it deviates from what we know is possible? No, it's shit because George Lucas has the writing skills of a rotten turnip that a dyslexic farmer once used as a butt plug. Do I believe the things that I'm seeing in Interstellar? Sure I do! I even believed that the entire Gotham police force could get stuck in the sewers in The Dark Knight Rises and that's clearly bullshit. Whether it's based on fact or not, Nolan has an inbuilt skill of grounding farfetched ideas in a believable reality. Like I say, the end of this film is about as mental as having a snooty hedgehog for a dick but I still buy into it. 

The problem for me with the ending is that again, for some reason, I couldn't quite connect to it. I was impressed with it and I loved the originality of where Nolan had decided to go. But I was hoping for something that would make me feel how I did during the fireball conclusions of both Sunshine and The Fountain. The whole thing is very impressive, however I just never felt overwhelmed by it. Maybe this was just me though. As mentioned, I can't think of any reason that I shouldn't have been and so maybe the rest of you were gushing into the aisles. Oh, and whilst we're on the issues, I also think that perhaps it wasn't the wisest of moves to keep the camera mostly confined to the cockpit of the ship. For the bulk of the film, we only see planets and the like through windows which I presume was to keep us seeing things through the eyes of the main character. However, for me, this just slightly tainted the epic-ness of the film. Wanting me to experience space travel through the point of view of the astronaut is fine but if I was in that rocket I'd have my face pressed so far up against that glass I'd probably turn my nose into a permanent fucking snout.

Other than that though, I have no complaints and genuinely did love the film. Some people have been moaning about the sound quality but beyond the fact that there was way too much fucking music, I can't say it bothered me. The best sci-fi films are about something and there's no denying that this has more to say than a pissed up bus-stop nutter with a megaphone. On the surface, Interstellar might borrow from such classy movies as 2001, The Right Stuff and Alien, but what's interesting is how much it owes to Event Horizon too. Both films deal with worm holes, feature a character who’s gone mental and even explain their plot by stabbing a pen through a piece of paper. I'm hoping that the paper thing is just a standard way of explaining the nature of space travel though because I really don't think that I can live in a world where Christopher Nolan is stealing from Paul Wanky Shit Anderson. Is Interstellar worth your money and three hours of your life? Well, enough of you wankers paid to see Transformers: Age Of Extinction so I'd say yes if only to rebalance the purity of your soul. It's not Nolan's best film but that's like shagging a group of high-class porn stars and then moaning that the last one didn't seem too into you. Maybe not, but when the alternative is a grotty hole in a public toilet, the criticism doesn't seem too much of an issue. Is this film brilliant because of how scientifically accurate it is? No. It's brilliant because it has ambition and aspirations. Even a lesser Nolan film is a shining angel of light when compared to the bulk of the shit-stained vermin that it looks down on. So yeah... thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.


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