Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mortals! You Defy The Gods! [Review: Interstellar]

Heroic archetype Cooper (Matthew McConnaughey) leaves behind his family and pilots a ring-shaped starship through a wormhole created by mysterious, godlike entities. His voyage takes him across an unfamiliar galaxy, accompanied by a crew who spend most of their time in stasis and a robot with a disturbed sense of humour. Yes! As you have probably guessed, Chris Nolan's new film Interstellar is pretty much a re-make of Ulysses 31.

Interstellar is space opera with a 21st century feel. The first act takes place on a bleak, near-future Earth where the farming ecosystem is slowly failing. The interstellar mission of the middle act is never a voyage to seek out new life and new civilizations but a desperate last chance to avert the death of humanity, and the story remains personal at all times, helped by some soul-wracking performances by McConnaughey and Anne Hathaway.

There are one or two silly scenes - the father-promises-daughter-he-will-return-home subplot (although it's there for a good reason), and the scenes where the Endurance crew brainstorm complex maneuvers and solve physics problems too quickly - it might be totally justified but it sounds like plot-hole technobabble.

On the other hand this is a compelling vision of the future, with so many elements that do make sense, including the technology. No Ulysses 31 remake would be complete without NoNo, but TARS and CASE are worthy additions to the canon of science-fiction robot companions, with their original physical design and programmable levels of honesty, sensitivity and humour. As you would expect from yet another Chris Nolan / Lee Smith collaboration, the cinematography, effects and editing are superb.


Big D said...

Blimey. Somebody else who remembers Ulysses 31.

I always like your reviews. Short and informative - I wish I could write like that.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I totally remember that show too! It sounds like a thoughtful movie.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

It's really pleasing to hear how many people remember this show - I could eat a bucket of bolts!

Thanks Big D - now if only I could make them as funny as your album cover analysis I could die happy.