Day 33. 77 pages, 36,815 words.
Well, I had a think about whether I was going to bother reviewing this one so late in the game, but what the heck, I’ll give it a go. I won’t go into too much specifics, though, since I really don’t have much to say.
This was a visually stunning movie, obviously, and the message – let’s get the fuck off this planet before we kill it or (way more likely) it kills us in self-defence – was pretty clear and something that has always been important to me. I would love to still be alive when we head out into the stars, even if I am John Lithgow-age and end up having to stay behind, or don’t live to see humanity arrive at their destination. As long as somebody is out there.
And that’s what this movie was really about. Forgetting the individual desire in favour of ensuring the survival of the species. And how we are very likely to fail that test at every opportunity. Indeed, the movie itself sort of failed that test, simply because it had to pitch itself to an audience of supremely selfish beings. So yes, it had to offer a bit of closure to the daddy-daughter story, even if in a more realistic movie daddy would have just been creamed by the black hole and humanity would have survived without ever knowing who had saved them. And without daddy and daughter ever reconciling. Because the universe just doesn’t give a fuck.
“Maybe if we stuck this doohickie to this doodad, and performed a slingshot operation around the n-dimensional event horizon of the whatchamajigger … yep, the universe still wouldn’t actually give a single fuck.”
I liked how the story was nice and non-specific about the way the world – or specifically humanity – was dying. Dust storms from over-cropping, this nitrogen-feeding ‘blight’ that sounded like a new ascendant form of life on the planet adapting to the atmospheric conditions and incidentally eating all the rest of the organisms … it was all very nicely done, leaving no doubt that we were in trouble. And, at the same time, not making it an immediate this-instant (or even this-generation) threat. It was very realistic, actually – the caretaker generation was a really nice idea, and the way educators and other officials were trying to sell the idea of people giving up and just working themselves to death for the next couple of generations, so their grandchildren could have a decent planet again. Turns out that probably wasn’t going to work for them anyway, but it was a really interesting look at a hypothetical downfall. It’s probably not going to happen overnight, asteroid impact notwithstanding.
I wasn’t at all sure about the five-dimensional bootstrap-lift that humanity apparently performed on itself, by sending info back through the black hole / wormhole thing in order to get humanity off Earth and give them a place to go to in order to develop enough to create a wormhole and provide a way for humanity in the past to get off Earth … and the less said about Cooper morse-coding “STAY” to himself when he knew that didn’t work … well, hard to say. Although obviously changing the past through five-dimensional wossnames did work, at least on a large scale, because the human race didn’t become extinct, right? That sent-back info did change the past. So what if Cooper had succeeded in not going out there, and the entire mission had failed vastly, or at least the “Plan A” aspect of it? Gaah.
But somewhere along the line you just have to go “meh, time travel” and let it slide. So they could only get out there in the first place if they were out there in the future sending info back and creating wormholes, so they should never have gotten out there. Big deal.
The robots were super-cool. They were beautifully designed – I was dubious about them at first, but all their different articulation settings were really clever. And it was a welcome relief to see the robot not turn out to be evil, despite the very cute 2001 references. They even looked like the monoliths from the books / movies.
The family relationship drama was – I suppose – vital, but maybe it could have been better-handled. Cooper could have just had one kid and had all the necessary issues, I think. The son and his suffering family, lost kid, and refusal to abandon the family farm was poignant – plus they got to have the ‘give up on your dreams and be a peon for the sake of the future’ side of it with him – but they could have worked all this into the daughter’s storyline. As it was, it really came across as Cooper only caring about his brilliant daughter and not giving a single crap about his dirt-farming clod of a son.
The psychedelia of the black hole and wormhole scenes, as well as five-dimensional space, were beautiful and rather more well-thought-out than their 2001 counterparts, but I like to think this is because we know quite a lot more about space than we did when 2001 was made, and have generally forgotten about the 1960s. It all hung together rather nicely.
Also, in the scene where Cooper was saying goodbye to Brand as he prepared to let himself fall into the black hole, I could have sworn there was somebody sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. Was that a subliminal time-travel overlap thing?
Anyway, a really excellent movie and purely brilliant performances from basically the entire cast. Damon was perfect, McConaughey made me seriously re-evaluate his acting chops, and Lithgow, Hathaway, Caine and (younger) Affleck were all excellent. All in all this was a solid and totally inspiring movie.
Let’s get a move on, shall we?