Atmosphere: A. Never have I been so firmly planted between a state of belief and disbelief for 3 hours. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it certainly put you on the edge of your seat and did an amazing job of conveying feelings like loneliness, dread, momentum, dizziness, excitement, unending boredom. This movie would be at the bottom of the discount barrel if it was even one jot less impressive to watch.
Intelligence: D. This movie involves so much science and pseudo-science that it left me questioning what I thought I knew about science. Amazing visuals and forceful acting left me doubting myself when I heard some of the most ridiculous ideas ever spoken in film. But ultimately, I never could keep knowledge of the ridiculousness I was viewing out of my head, at least for more than a few moments.
Involvement: C-. You will be pulled in, I have little doubt of that, in one form or another. Whether it is the emotional grab, the powerful acting, the intense situations that does it… pick your poison. But, it’s very difficult to keep a straight face when a movie repeatedly makes rather obvious attempts to appeal to your “heart” and remind you in heavy-handed fashion that there is something powerful and mystical about love that no amount of science can truly understand. It then of course reinforces its own hypothesis by providing itself as proof, which should infuriate you.
What will annoy you:
Delivery. Oh god… I just don’t know. I can’t even. This film left me speechless in a way I can’t describe. Is it a commentary on the human condition? A 1950’s-style sci-fi space romp with modernized visuals? An apocalypse fantasy? It fluctuates so frequently and so seamlessly between monstrous stupidity and engaging emotion that I often felt myself tearing up five seconds after rolling my eyes and groaning.
Plot. Interstellar is “Titanic” in space. Only after Jack sinks to the bottom of the ocean, he freezes into the iceberg that sunk the ship, is dug out decades later, and wakes up completely unharmed back home, all conveniently explained by go fuck yourself. Then he meets Rose again, who is now very old, and she tells him to GTFO. Oh, and he actually helped save the Titanic, in reverse, from the future, while in the iceberg, which someone created from the future. I’m not pulling your leg; I actually think this is a great analogy of the film.
Message. The movie tries to send several different messages, all of them lofty and judgmental from a singular point of view. Hypothesis: Love is more powerful than anything else. Proof: Love or lack of it guides the fortunes of every main character. I’ve felt less railroaded into a moral at the end of the story by Disney films.
Science. In general, the validity of an idea can be ball-parked pretty easily by asking how many known laws it violates. Ghosts? Foolish. Incorporeal bodies that are still somehow able to affect things corporeally and maintain intelligence or intention flies in the face of nearly any stable theory you can think of. Aliens? Silly but getting warmer, since there are in fact several good reasons to think we aren’t alone as life in the universe. A man in a clown suit hiding behind my house? Certainly realistically possible; all you need is someone with the will and the right timing. What do you think of a bookshelf that forms a conduit for all of space and time? What about a world that has only a few calm feet of water but somehow has mile-high oscillating waves? How about making it alive through a fucking black hole? In fact, now that I think about it… this movie is very much like a modern version of The Black Hole (1979). Which happens to be a Disney film.