Interstellar: Roll Over, Stanley Kubrick

Interstellar movie posterThe moment I saw the robots in Interstellar, I thought Stanley Kubrick must be rolling in his grave. By the end, it seems he channeled them from the future.

That’s as much of a spoiler as I’ll make in this post. By now, you have undoubtedly read wildly differing reviews of the movie. They are all true—depending on which dimension you inhabit.

As others have noted, this is a big, ambitious, “high concept” movie. Reviewers disagree on whether it delivers on its promise. The reviews I read all share the same problem: it is almost impossible to discuss the film without stumbling into spoilers.

2001 A Space Odyssey - Apes with MonolithInsterstellar robot TARS

2001 A Space Odyssey - Monolith in Bedroom


I will say this:

  • Anyone who can achieve mass-market appeal for a book or movie featuring physicists, theories about multiple dimensions, and space-time distortions gets a salute from me. Kudos to Jonathan and Christopher Nolan for raising popular awareness of numerous geeky subjects.
  • The cinematography, special effects, musical score and most of the dialogue are top notch.
  • Special effects support the storyline. In too many movies today, computer generated images and other trickery overwhelm the plot or mask the absence of one.
  • This film, like Kubrick’s version of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, leaves many story elements unexplained. Whether that matters is an aesthetic question that viewers will answer differently. Monet left some patches of his Water Lilies canvas bare, and it distracted me a little, but I’m a bit OCD.
  • One scene, shot through the windshield, of Matthew McConaughey driving his truck looks exactly like the Lincoln commercial he made. That definitely should have been cut and may require a recall.
  • Ranking Interstellar among the greatest space flicks of all time is almost certainly premature. I would need to see it again at least once (which I hope to do), and I hate those kinds of comparisons anyway. It may not even be the best movie this year. But it is a damn fine one.

If you have not seen Interstellar, I recommend that you find an IMAX screen and do so. Two hours and forty-nine minutes later, you will feel like you have been on a very long and exciting trip, while everyone else will merely be almost three hours older.

Frazeology end note


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Eric F. Frazier

Eric F. Frazier is an independent writer, editor, book reviewer and co-author of GPS Declassified: From Smart Bombs to Smartphones.