If you haven’t read my The Art of the Trailer post, read it! I worked hard on that!
If you still haven’t read my post, you know that missing out on Interstellar was one of my biggest regrets of 2014. Christopher Nolan is one of the best in the business. His visionary ability for story-telling, visuals and impactful dialogue are second to none. He’s already made a legacy and it’s only been 17 years since his first film (Following, 1998). He’s 44 years old and I’m confident he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.
The fact that Christopher Nolan hasn’t won an Academy Award yet is flat-out disturbing. His 2001 film, Memento, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay but lost to Gosford Park, whatever that is. Haven’t seen Memento yet, but it’s Christopher Nolan. Seems safe to assume it was great. His other two nominations came in 2010 for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for Inception. The King’s Speech won both of those.
Nolan did not receive any nominations for the Batman trilogy or for this space epic. Wally Pfister was nominated for Best Cinematography for Batman Begins, the film’s only nomination. The Dark Knight received eight nominations, the most nominations for a film based on a comic book, comic strip or graphic novel ever. Heath Ledger snagged the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and the film was acknowledged with the Oscar for Best Sound Editing.
Interstellar was nominated for five awards and its lone winner was for Best Visual Effects and deservedly so, although the argument could be made for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
With the sidebar finished, that brings me to my next point: How has Hollywood not acknowledged the greatness of Christopher Nolan yet?
If you were to ask any major film critic to name some of the best directors of the 21st century, I have to believe Nolan’s name would come up.
Yet Nolan’s Academy case remains empty, which is really sad when you consider Danny Boyle won Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire. Has anyone seen Slumdog Millionaire, a film that won not one or two, but eight Academy Awards in 2008? That film was absolute garbage. If you can win an Oscar for Best Director for a turdblossom like that, how has Nolan not won one yet?
I wasn’t wild about Inception, but it was impossible to ignore the out-of-this-world cinematography and visual effects, as well as the one-of-a-kind story that is sure to throw you for a loop on various occasions.
I read some reviews from my blogging compatriots that said Interstellar did not have the same tonic as his previous films. After witnessing Interstellar, I question what they were talking about.
This film was every bit as good as I expected it to be. If there was anything wrong with Interstellar, it would be the turtle pace the film upholds for every second of its 169 minute running time. For nearly three hours, you will see a story that graciously skips some details that are completely irrelevant but then decides to ponder on others for reasons unknown. People less patient than I will become exceedingly frustrated by this to the point of leaving the experience.
Interstellar is not mindless entertainment. If you hate having to think during your cinematic experience, don’t see Interstellar. You won’t enjoy this. Interstellar is a journey, emphatically inscribing the word onto our minds as we witness the visual effects that won its only Oscar, as we watch Matthew McConaughey act his way into critical acclaim again, as we watch Nolan script a story that touches our minds with insightful dialogue like this beauty:
“We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now, we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
Only a master storyteller can imagine a world that blows our minds and can search through the boring everyday film material and derive not just a few cents worth of original dialogue, but dollars of it.
I just watched the last scene of The Dark Knight on TNT and that scene alone demonstrates the mastery of Nolan’s pen.
He’s done it again and again, with Inception, the Batman trilogy and now this space odyssey if there ever was one, for the gallery of visual shots that is paraded by the eyes of its viewers is splendor, pure and unbridled. Dwelling in space never felt so lifelike for me.
Yet the story that Nolan draws up and the pawns that push it forward may be the film’s greatest accomplishment. In my opinion, the film’s visuals were predetermined. Space is an unknown dimension for most people and filmmakers have the luxury to create it in their own eyes for that very reason. Not all directors are so gifted at doing so, but we’re talking about one of the finest of the 21st century. Nolan is no novice.
A great artist behind the camera can illustrate things to amazing dynamics. A great writer is limitless.
A limitless writer is a rare find in every pursuit of life but especially in film. With the disease of sequels infecting the minds of Hollywood more and more each year, original ideas become less and less, swallowed up by the greed of industry.
Up to this point in his career, Nolan has been unswayed by such motivations and has been rewarded with cinematic gold as well as two of the 19 films to cross the billion dollar threshold (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises). For that, I am forever thankful.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cable Guy, The Cabin in the Woods, Tears of the Sun, Edge of Tomorrow, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Rage, Zoolander, The Expendables 3, Homefront, G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Erased, I, Frankenstein, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Billy Madison)
30-39 Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Centurion, Planet of the Apes, Stonados, Redemption, Pride and Prejudice)
20-29 What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Colony, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, The Grey, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Thor: The Dark World)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Sabotage, Gallowwalkers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Safe, Watchmen)
My score for Interstellar: 90.
Awe-filled and the definition of grandeur, Interstellar’s got some phenomenal acting, great scripting and award-worthy special effects, yet I still can’t recommend this to everyone because I know some people won’t like it.