How Interstellar Crashes in Its Third Act

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How Interstellar Crashes in Its Third Act

Too much information too early in the film leads the space movie fall flat just when it should be getting good.

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So you're saying the prequel to Contact kept flubbing due to poor directions, splitting the focus between an emotional movie and a mental movie like a sin-wave. I avoided this movie because it shares one of those resemblances to a book that I wrote over a decade ago to the point where it could be plagiarism if I'd published it anywhere but a now-derelict forum.

So what I understand is that this is a case of a movie trying to explain (with words) something that was better to left to the audience for interpreting and thinking about.

Mh, i cannot really refute most of the arguments against the film.
That does not change, though, that I enjoyed the movie.
I went in with no expectations and I did not try to analyze anything DURING the movie except for what came to mind on it's own.
So I enjoyed it. Afterwards, I thought about a lot of bad plot points, the science and the stupid love thing.
The movie was good, nonetheless.

I don't know if the following is a good or a bad point, but the robots went from a "Who would design this??" to "coolest characters of the year"
Loved them. The movie has at least avoided the biggest possible mistake, making the robots evil, a mcguffin or cause for drama.

tl;dr
In the end, i do not view the movie as harsh as bob does, the points of critique are valid, though.
Yay robots!

Just came home from seeing it and I can't agree with you more... an interesting but in the end quite flawed film. Also, even though I did enjoy Inception (even though I think Memento is his best film to date) I felt that both Inception and Interstellar have in common that Nolan wants to cram soo much stuff in there. He wants so many twists and turns and everything should be explained, often in ways that are supposed to work in the universe of the movie but makes little or no sense to the audience. So in the end you just give up, stop rooting actively for the hero, you lean back in your seat and just waits for the ride to go somewhere.

That is where I think he does much better with much more focused stories in both Memento and the Prestige.

Not the kind of movie they were going for but it seems but I can still find merit in the discussion of emotion vs. intellect as a driving theme and whether or not an epic concept can survive being stripped down to it's fundamental pieces while still keeping the emotionally resonance we're looking for in such a thing.

The only point I disagree with is Inception being Nolan's greatest work. In my opinion, The Prestige knocks it out of the park, In no small part because that movie isn't so concerned with explaining how it's science might work (honestly, had it tried I suspect I only would have found it even more unlikely) that it let me enjoy what the characters did with it.

Also, The Prestige has a twist that I genuinely didn't see coming, yet didn't feel convoluted and had a solid grounding in the core themes of the film.

So, basically Hollywood remade this boring, dull, overly-explained but also under-explained interstellar film about space travel and time distortion:
image
They just put Matthew McCanaughey in Jodie Foster's place this time.

I feel like Nolan is starting to turn into this character:
image

"Yes, Fi, this would be a very emotional, inspiration scene... if you would just SHUT UP about telling me how and why it's happening."

Show, don't tell, right?

I enjoyed but I think the end could have been different. But I'll just pick out the nitpick/funny stupid things I noticed.

TOTAL SPOILERS IN THIS. THIS IS A THREAD ABOUT INTERSTELLARS THIRD ACT AFTERALL.

Despite all that I still enjoyed it. The space visuals were amazing, the acting was fantastic, and the robots were great.

I enjoyed the movie a lot, the Power of Love thing was kinda lame, but I also thought that about the 5th Element and still loved that movie.

I agree they could have let up on the talking between Cooper and TARS a bit, but I don't agree that there was too much information given early. I think anyone who goes in at least knowing there will be space travel and can remember some of their high school science classes when it came to the lesson that gravity can bend time, will would guess what's going to happen fairly quickly. As soon as Murphy first appeared at the breakfast table and said there was a ghost in her room throwing stuff, I instantly thought, nah that's your dad from the future trying to talk to you. Fortunately I was distracted enough by the movie to forget that I believed that they had to be going into that black hole at some point.

I didn't really feel like Cooper was "The Omnipotent Dad" in that moment. Though the whole thing was very convenient and eye rolling, all he did was transfer information to his daughter through Morse code from TARS data. I had the distinct feeling the information was way over Cooper's head and only Murphy could do the math to make sense of it. She got the proper recognition for that. This is a movie that started out feeling like all the men were going to be the big damn heroes per usual, while female characters stand in the background quietly half smiling at each other and disappearing while the men have serious conversations. I'm cool with a handful of male characters being selfish assholes nearly wrecking everything in an attempt of making themselves feel like they are the important big damn heroes in the grand scheme of things. However I feel like there should have been a bit more of a boost for the heroines. The only scene I recall two women talking to each other is between Murphy and her brother's scenery wife. It would have been interesting character boost to have had Murphy and Amelia geek out over science together while the men were talking their important serious conversations. I had this fear for a bit that they were switching places, Cooper would become a proper father figure to Amelia, and Brand proper father figure to Murphy, and there would be some Electra complex subtext between Cooper and Amelia but things thankfully do not play out that way. I especially like that Murphy does ultimately make Brand look like a fool.

Also, the only black character still died in a really, really cheap death. Thankfully there was that somewhat racially mixed looking guy guiding Cooper around in the end, cause I would have thought all the white people abandoned the non-white people to die on earth.

In the end, the sound track has to be one of the worst soundtracks ever. I felt like my head was stuck in an organ pipe while someone played the same three annoying keys. When I was leaving the theater, everyone was complaining about how awful it was.

I assume Nolan was thinking something along the lines of, "Well, my target audience here is Nerds, and judging by how popular CinemaSins is (Neil DeGrasse Tyson went on there and did a whole video picking apart every scientific mistake in Gravity, and that's one of the most popular things online!), nerds apparently don't care about things like stories or characters at all. Apparently, nerds only want to smugly gloat about how superior their body of scientific knowledge is, over that of the unwashed masses who go see girly movies about icky girly things like emotions and character development."

I am confused. This sounds awful.

I don't know, I try to think about it through the film makers perspective to try and figure out what were they aiming for. What was Christopher Nolan thinking? The problem with this movie is it harkens back to what a lot of people found wrong with the TV show LOST. Is it about the science, or the characters? And in the end of Interstellar, we had another space church scene where loved ones are reunited through the power of plot convenience.

I like to think Nolan had a simple idea in his head which he found as the dramatic keystone which the entire film was built around. The last scene where the Astronauts character finally reunites with his daughter. And she's now technically old enough to be his mother. The movie is built around what we know of "real" time travel, and how if we speed up enough or pass very close to a black hole (what we hypothesize as a possibility of "real" time travel that is... ahem!") we could possibly break the 4th dimension, and pull a Marthy Mcfly.

For some reason, the movie 12 monkeys popped in my head at the ends there. And after some thought... I know why. Just like 12 Monkey, it was all building up to that dramatic keystone moment. With 12 Monkeys' it's that whole time travel to witness one's own demise. With this movie it's time travel to witness one's daughter be old enough to be one's mother. It's a weird yet poignant moment all dramas thrive for, but how 12 Monkey's orchestrated it made sense, with this move? Getting to that point... not so much.

In the end, Interstellar just wants to be a dramatic story about father and daughter, a lot like how Contact with Jody Foster was, but the science made up on the spot to explain it just didn't add up.

bdcjacko:
I am confused. This sounds awful.

It's not awful. It's like a good 7/10, there are some really awesome moments in it and the visuals in space are fantastic. Also TARS the robot is awesome in every scene.

It's also really quite tense at some scenes, and the worlds they land on? They're so unlike Earth, so different and scary.

Groverfield:
So you're saying the prequel to Contact kept flubbing due to poor directions, splitting the focus between an emotional movie and a mental movie like a sin-wave. I avoided this movie because it shares one of those resemblances to a book that I wrote over a decade ago to the point where it could be plagiarism if I'd published it anywhere but a now-derelict forum.

Reading Bob's analysis, I kept thinking that Contact was a movie that nailed the emotional impact by keeping any literal explanation at an arm's length. I maintained my willful suspension of disbelief by assuming that the alien tech was so advanced as to demonstrate Clarke's 3rd Law.

Also, my recommendation for an alternate ending:
Upon falling into the black hole, McConaughey finds
image.
And proceeds to save the movie . . . er, world. He saves the world.

Wait, so he travels through time?

The power of love is a curious thing...

I think people are putting too much stock in the concept that "love" was the singular force that allowed Cooper to send the messages. They state pretty explicitly multiple times that gravity transcends time (which makes sense as gravity is both the weakest and yet most pervasive force, hell we still don't fully understand it), but its Cooper's personal connection that allows him to be in a position to make this interaction. They pair this with love because it has similar fundamentals. Matt Damon's character talks a lot about empathy only "extending to the edge of our vision" yet the brain fights for survival when shown those we love/empathize with and Dr. Brand discusses how love transcends space and time, characterizing it in the same way as gravity (transcending space/time, being both weak and yet powerful). Coupled with how good it looks when the theme is personal love vs. scientific reason, and it makes sense that they would go with using love and gravity to explain the climax.

irishda:
I think people are putting too much stock in the concept that "love" was the singular force that allowed Cooper to send the messages. They state pretty explicitly multiple times that gravity transcends time (which makes sense as gravity is both the weakest and yet most pervasive force, hell we still don't fully understand it), but its Cooper's personal connection that allows him to be in a position to make this interaction. They pair this with love because it has similar fundamentals. Matt Damon's character talks a lot about empathy only "extending to the edge of our vision" yet the brain fights for survival when shown those we love/empathize with and Dr. Brand discusses how love transcends space and time, characterizing it in the same way as gravity (transcending space/time, being both weak and yet powerful). Coupled with how good it looks when the theme is personal love vs. scientific reason, and it makes sense that they would go with using love and gravity to explain the climax.

Yeah. I'm not exactly singing praises for this movie, but it wasn't exactly "the power of love" that caused the events to happen. They're pretty clear it's gravity.

Wow did you get the black hole bit wrong Bob, love had nothing to do with the black hole part it was just Brand who made that analogy on the ship it wasn't actually the power of love that made it happen.. /eyeroll.

I didn't take the love speech as anything significant- just the weird rationalisations of a besotted physicist desperate to see her love again.

All my friends were like "LOL the "love" talk, wtf?" I explained that it wasn't supposed to make sense, because she was in love.

The Power of Love is a common thread with more improbable science fiction, but It requires a delicate touch to make it work without insulting the audiences' intelligence. I liked Interstellar, but to a point. Nolan handles certain emotional aspects alright, but completely misses out on something special with the final half hour. A father's love transcending space and time is a beautiful idea (and I like the idea of keeping the aliens hidden), but we are never allowed to react to it with the film constantly stuffing fluff exposition into the film. Let me react to something, dammit! And shut it with the monologues!

Biran53:
The Power of Love is a common thread with more improbable science fiction, but It requires a delicate touch to make it work without insulting the audiences' intelligence. I liked Interstellar, but to a point. Nolan handles certain emotional aspects alright, but completely misses out on something special with the final half hour. A father's love transcending space and time is a beautiful idea (and I like the idea of keeping the aliens hidden), but we are never allowed to react to it with the film constantly stuffing fluff exposition into the film. Let me react to something, dammit! And shut it with the monologues!

I think that is a very good description of the movie and its problems, heck the first 30min feels like they cut out about half the content for it just jumps all over the place. A couple of actors could have been removed from the movie and it wouldn't have made a difference.

At the end of the day, I think the biggest problem with the movie is that Christopher Nolan wasn't the best solution for a director for his style doesn't match up with how the movie was written. Maybe if it felt more of a "clinical" take of the subject instead of trying to have an emotional impact they attempt with it, I would have enjoyed it more.

To anyone else who saw the movie, tell me when Matt Damon appeared, there was a group of people doing the Team America MATT DAMON impression, because a bunch did in my theatre.

To be honest, I got pretty lost near the end, but I thought it was a good movie, favorite scene being the logs of the son years later finding a girlfriend, having a child and growing up, I felt out of all the scenes, this should have been longer, it was done really well (especially since the son was so out of focus when the dad left. leaving on a pretty shallow hug compared to Murphy)

I think we can agree the robots were awesome.

Well if Christopher Nolan ever became a super villain, you d be able to defeat him by getting him to monologue hehe.

All you nay sayers just wait for the sequel. It is going to be awesome.

But seriously. As noted above. Really? The black guy gets killed again? At least he wasn't wearing a red shirt. And

This was a freaking 3 hour movie that should have been 90 minutes of fun. 15 min. story set up, 1 hour action, 15 min wrap up. Instead, 1 unnecessary HOUR of set up, 1 hour action that almost feels out of place given the rest of the movie, 1 hour wrap up.

A more interesting failure than most successes though.

irishda:
I think people are putting too much stock in the concept that "love" was the singular force that allowed Cooper to send the messages. They state pretty explicitly multiple times that gravity transcends time (which makes sense as gravity is both the weakest and yet most pervasive force, hell we still don't fully understand it), but its Cooper's personal connection that allows him to be in a position to make this interaction. They pair this with love because it has similar fundamentals. Matt Damon's character talks a lot about empathy only "extending to the edge of our vision" yet the brain fights for survival when shown those we love/empathize with and Dr. Brand discusses how love transcends space and time, characterizing it in the same way as gravity (transcending space/time, being both weak and yet powerful). Coupled with how good it looks when the theme is personal love vs. scientific reason, and it makes sense that they would go with using love and gravity to explain the climax.

If we can't attribute Cooper's messages to the 'power of love' then the only other aspect that would make sense to explain along for this movie would be a scientific one. Even if you state that gravity was the real force behind all the benevolence, or even just allowing Cooper to be in a position to relay those messages, how do you get to that from falling in a black hole, ending up in fractal-bookshelf sector? Is it his thoughts of his daughter that somehow translate into positioning himself? Do you call that love? I'm only (failing to) rationalizing to myself at this point; the science of the matter I can't even touch upon.

But that's the thing about this movie. It lets two tones speak openly: science and human love, and when put together carelessly or coarsely can REALLY confuse audiences, because we approach both quite differently. And it's not that I don't think the tones never mix but both CAN easily speak over each other, in a sense, and this movie didn't escape from this, unfortunately. I almost wonder what it would be if, say, Spielberg worked together with Nolan on this.

I still enjoyed the movie; great acting, beautiful shots and use of physical props, but I find it decidedly nonresonant.

Ipsen:

If we can't attribute Cooper's messages to the 'power of love' then the only other aspect that would make sense to explain along for this movie would be a scientific one. Even if you state that gravity was the real force behind all the benevolence, or even just allowing Cooper to be in a position to relay those messages, how do you get to that from falling in a black hole, ending up in fractal-bookshelf sector? Is it his thoughts of his daughter that somehow translate into positioning himself? Do you call that love? I'm only (failing to) rationalizing to myself at this point; the science of the matter I can't even touch upon.

Both his and TARS explanation seemed to be that they realized humans at a future point had transcended time and physics(?) and so created the realm within the singularity for Cooper to reach out to her. I take it more as they chose to use him so that she would realize it was him and wouldn't be afraid.

But that's the thing about this movie. It lets two tones speak openly: science and human love, and when put together carelessly or coarsely can REALLY confuse audiences, because we approach both quite differently. And it's not that I don't think the tones never mix but both CAN easily speak over each other, in a sense, and this movie didn't escape from this, unfortunately. I almost wonder what it would be if, say, Spielberg worked together with Nolan on this.

I still enjoyed the movie; great acting, beautiful shots and use of physical props, but I find it decidedly nonresonant.

This is the thing for me though. Do we HAVE to approach both things differently? Science is treated as this separate entity on so many levels from faith and the irrational, because it's established itself as rational. The paradox arrives with the realization that science is founded on the irrational, at least in the case of natural sciences. Consider the foundation, the scientific method. Either a hypothesis is formulated and then data is gathered to determine proof, or data is observed and then a conclusion is reached. In either case, the logical failing is the assumption that the data gathered is complete. But there's no possible way of knowing whether or not the tools we have will remain the best possible tools for garnering that data, ergo it's impossible to know that the data is correct. Scientists operate on the FAITH that it is the best data.

Science often mocks religion for its lack of proof. But ironically, in attempting to prove itself, science is only ever fated to disprove itself continuously. Stretched to an infinite length of time, the tools to gather data, and subsequently the data, will expand forever. And that's what we call the "rational" institution?

So approaching this movie with that in mind, I found it amazing at how much it speaks to how similar the rationality of science is to the irrationality of faith/love.

"hence why his best film by far, Inception"

Stopped reading right there. Inception is by far Nolan's WORST film. It is so pretentious and poorly written that it's no wonder people thought it had a complex plot (when it really didn't, it was just executed poorly). I liked Interstellar but I agree that the ending was pretty silly and didn't make a whole lot of sense but it is certainly a better film than Inception.

Sylocat:
I assume Nolan was thinking something along the lines of, "Well, my target audience here is Nerds, and judging by how popular CinemaSins is (Neil DeGrasse Tyson went on there and did a whole video picking apart every scientific mistake in Gravity, and that's one of the most popular things online!), nerds apparently don't care about things like stories or characters at all. Apparently, nerds only want to smugly gloat about how superior their body of scientific knowledge is, over that of the unwashed masses who go see girly movies about icky girly things like emotions and character development."

More like he's saying "You DO realize that 90% of the time most 'emotional' moments in films are done to disguise the fact that the screenplay has a lack of logic, consistency, and intelligence and thus reveal themselves as manipulative, cynical, and shallow, right? If you cannot balance them, you are just a shitty writer and director." I think that's why most people like him; he isn't afraid to confront that too many films have put emotion first and intelligence DEAD last in order to seem more powerful and evocative than they really are.

Aiddon:
More like he's saying "You DO realize that 90% of the time most 'emotional' moments in films are done to disguise the fact that the screenplay has a lack of logic, consistency, and intelligence and thus reveal themselves as manipulative, cynical, and shallow, right? If you cannot balance them, you are just a shitty writer and director." I think that's why most people like him; he isn't afraid to confront that too many films have put emotion first and intelligence DEAD last in order to seem more powerful and evocative than they really are.

I'd say Nolan is more guilty of this than anyone else. In each of his movies (that isn't Memento), the dialoge is so steeped in boring, colourless computer exposition, that when something actually emotional occurs it feels like someone suddenly thew a squid in your lap. The dude just can't do emotion at all (except in Memento).

OT: So from what I've heard this movie pulls the same shit Sunshine did, where it just unnecessarily throws in a villain when the characters inner turmoil was enough to sustain the tension. Fuck you, Sunshine!

TizzytheTormentor:
To anyone else who saw the movie, tell me when Matt Damon appeared, there was a group of people doing the Team America MATT DAMON impression, because a bunch did in my theatre.

I was almost one of those people, but no one else in the cinema did it, so I'm glad I didn't.

TARS and CASE are definitely two of my new favourite robots; right up there with GERTY from 'Moon'.

OK, i didn't really understand what you meant about the movie being too focussed on explaining the science when i watched your review. But after reading this, now i get it and i completely agree. If he hadn't tried so hard to explain the fundamentally un-explainable, that black hole sequence would have been so much better. Instead in trying to explain that the Power of Love allowed him to control time and space, somehow... If it had simply let it happen and allow the audience draw their own conclusions it would have felt much less contrived and shark-jumpy.

Just before anyone accuses me, I am not a Nolan fanboy. Actually, I didn't love any of the BATMAN films(the 1st one being the best, 2nd being the worst and 3rd being somewhere in the middle),liked Inception, didn't like the Prestige, and only ones I really like are Insomnia and Memento.
OK, so, diregarding Moon, this is the best sci-fi film since Event Horizon(for me). It felt like it was going for Sunshine(which came apart completely in the last 30 minutes, much like The Dark Knight actually) and 2001, but managed to avoid being the utter dullness of the Kubrick film. It stayed true to itself, and I had a weird Moon flashback when I saw Cooper recieving those vids from his daughter and son. Also, that "power of love" thing? Didn't he refute Hathaway once on that exact ground? Was he sent into the teseract because of love or because of well... physics?
Also, Nolan has always been the director that is esentially doing a less whimsical Spielberg. I mean Jesus, every film I saw of his after Insomnia is about emotion, and that is his shtick.
Also, I told the friend I went to the movie with "Wanna bet we're getting a cameo?" just as they revealed... Matt Damon. And yes, we did a Team America World Police reaction.

The big problem with films that make the "Based on real science! No, really, there was a physicist involved and everything." claim is exactly the same as those that make the "Based on a true story" claim - it's complete and utter bullshit and everyone knows it. As long as it doesn't get in the way of the actual film, that's not a problem. But all too often it ends up like this, where nonsensical Trek-esque technobabble is constantly spouted at us while insisting that it's all totally real and that love actually is one of the fundamental forces of the universe. A film like The Fifth Element can get away with it because that was a fundamentally silly film that didn't care how unrealistic something might be as long as it fit (although its attempt to convince us that Chris Tucker is an actor fell rather flat). If The Fifth Element had a narrator constantly interrupting the action to insist that it was all totally real and look, here are the equations proving it, it would have been shit.

Here's a free hint for any writers or directors who happen to be reading this - if your film involves interstellar travel, time travel, or the power of love, it is not in any way realistic and you should employ a physicist whose sole job is to punch you in the face every time you claim it is.

Captcha - which of these is a country? A: France. Captcha error. No captcha, I'm pretty sure France actually is a country.

Wow these days I find myself disagreeing with Movie Bob than not.
But this time I'm wondering if we even watched the same movie, I mean

Did they really think that audiences wouldn't engage with Cooper as a hero if they couldn't plot-generate a Bad Guy for him to conquer in a fist fight?

Never actually happened. Cooper doesn't conquer anyone - he gets his ass kicked, barely survives, and Dr. Mann ends up unwittingly taking himself out. Cooper completely fails to do anything to stop him.

Furthermore I really feel like the whole "Power of Love" thing is being seriously overstated here - the only thing it allowed him to do is find his daughter in space/time while he was stuck in the tesseract, and thus transmit the data needed for the "Save The World Equation".

I also don't feel like the weight of "twist" was so much that the movie depended on not figuring it out in advance.
All said I really enjoyed the movie.

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