The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler


Posted on | November 20, 2014 | 16 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

I was extremely fortunate to get a comp ticket to see Interstellar at the National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center out by Dulles; first because the theater there is one of those ginormous IMAX installations, and second because Interstellar is a pretty good movie. Christopher Nolan deserves a lot of credit for not gunking up the movie with a lot of expository jibber-jabber; the world our characters live in is just there, not explained ad nauseam, and we move right along to the action. Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a NASA pilot unwillingly working as a farmer, until the “poltergeist” in his daughter’s room reveals the coordinates to a secret NASA base whose intention is to save mankind from a dying Earth. It seems there are half a dozen Earthlike planets orbiting a black hole accessible through a wormhole near Saturn, and Cooper’s wanted for the mission that will follow up on the initial probes. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course; Cooper has to leave his kids (the rebellious but talented Murph and the steady farmer Tom) behind, hoping that despite the time dilation imposed relativity he can make it home to save them, and of course this is a voyage of exploration, so there’s more than a little risk involved.

The visuals were almost overwhelming in IMAX, and the soundtrack, while mostly unobtrusive, has a way of sneaking up on you and yanking on your emotions. The actors all do an outstanding job, even Matt Damon, and both Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Chastain are looking mighty good while delivering their lines. I am not an astrophysicist, but I am assured by people who are that the science is reasonably accurate up to a point, and you’ll know that point when you see it. Finally (and this isn’t spoiling anything) the robots get some of the best lines. Definitely recommended, on as big a screen as you can stand.


16 Responses to “Interstellar”

  1. Kirby McCain
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

    I’m not a big fan of Nolan but if you liked it then I think I’ll try to take it in this weekend.

  2. Adobe_Walls
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

    I don’t go to the movies much but thanks for keeping the home fires burning.

  3. Wombat_socho
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:25 pm

    I’m just sorry I couldn’t get up and do Live at Five this morning.

  4. Wombat_socho
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:26 pm

    Let me know what you think. I think there were parts of it that hit me harder, having raised kids and all.

  5. Bob Belvedere
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:40 pm

    I’m sure that I speak for many when I say that: We have no complaints.

    HAIL WOMBATICUS – The Black Holes Tremble At His Presence.

  6. Adobe_Walls
    November 20th, 2014 @ 8:56 pm

    Oughta to be a big one tomorrow.

  7. Wombat_socho
    November 20th, 2014 @ 9:05 pm


  8. Wombat_socho
    November 20th, 2014 @ 9:06 pm

    Meh; it’s remarkable how little the news affects the size of Live at Five; the top story usually gets 3-4 links plus whatever links I throw to other bloggers who are going on about it.

  9. Matt_SE
    November 20th, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

    I agreed with the audience rating at rotten tomatoes: 75-80%. It was a decent movie, I’m not sorry I saw it. But there were about 2 times that I lost the immersion due to sophomoric philosophizing or unbelievable character actions.
    Oh, and the liberties taken with physics near the end (since I used to be a physics major). All the more jarring because up until then, the relativistic effects of being near a black hole were very well represented.
    Still, not a bad movie. Very good in many parts.

  10. Quartermaster
    November 20th, 2014 @ 11:36 pm

    Non-mainstream Sci Fi movies can be jarring to Engineers and Physicists. Kinda like war movies to those of us who actually served. More than one trooper wished he could get wonna of those “infinity clips” before going back into the maelstrom. You just gotta suspend all that “book larnin” from time to time.

  11. K-Bob
    November 21st, 2014 @ 12:21 am

    Thanks for the review, Wombat! The first few trailers I saw had me rolling my eyes at the huge number of space, superhero, fantasy movies that have been pouring out, now that the green/blue screen method (enhanced by CGI) has proven to be viable. So I’ll look forward to seeing it.

    My favorite IMAX movie (as in “made for”) was of the Blue Angels, and I saw it at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fl. A place I heartily recommend people visit when travelling anywhere near New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, or Panama City.

    The fun fact of the film was that in a few scenes, the jets on screen were actually larger than real life. That’s a damn big screen.

    The best part of the museum for me was the huge aircraft display. Seriously, don’t miss it, if you get anywhere near the area.

    The only mainstream film I ever saw at an IMAX theater was at Greenfield Village, near Detroit. They were hosting a showing of the third Harry Potter movie (PofA) right when it had been released to theaters. The Night Bus scenes had us feeling like we were in one of those simulators like they have at Universal and Disney.

  12. K-Bob
    November 21st, 2014 @ 12:26 am

    At least it wasn’t another James Cameron deal.

  13. RKae
    November 21st, 2014 @ 2:11 am

    My criticisms with it are all structural. The “surprise” wasn’t a surprise (and I am NOT one of those people who tries to solve the puzzle early; I just let it happen; even so, it was obvious). The story rambled toward the end and it had a terrible problem finding a place to end. The movie seemed over and there was another scene and another scene and another scene and another scene… Sheesh! I hadn’t seen that sort of mess since “A.I.” And even before getting to that part, it had already felt too long.

    The magic of a long movie is making it seem short. There are some classics, like “Amadeus” and “Braveheart,” that seem like they’re 90 minutes. Then you look at the clock when it’s over and say, “You’re kidding me! That was 3 hours?”

    It was OK, and I’m glad I saw it. But I went on discount night, so that’s my review right there.

    Christopher Nolan? I’m no fan. I loved “Memento,” and thought I saw a great career developing, but “Dark Knight Rises” was the worst turd of bad storytelling I’ve ever had to endure. So I guess you could say I consider him hit-and-miss.

  14. RS
    November 21st, 2014 @ 8:20 am

    The Naval Air Museum is the best. Some years ago, we put that together with a trip to Battleship Park in Mobile. My boys loved it. Even more so than the beach in Destin.

  15. Quartermaster
    November 21st, 2014 @ 8:49 am

    You misspelled Ave.

  16. K-Bob
    November 21st, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    Oh yeah. Taking your sons to places like that is amazing. Another cool place to take them is the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. They have a “Space Camp” there, too. Nearby to the place is the massive training pool that they use to train for EVAs. They have tours of that facility. When we went there, they had excellent mockups of the space station you could walk thru.

    And of course, no parent should pass up a chance to take their kids to the memorials and Arlington National Cemetery, in D.C. The museums are educational and all, but nothing affects your kids like walking among the resting places of heroes, and the memorials to them. Boys get it, too. When they see grown men crying at the Vietnam Memorial, and talk to the volunteers who hang out there, it stays with them for the rest of their lives, long after they forgot about the cool exhibits a the Air and Space museum or the Smithsonian.

    What shocked me was that it has the exact same effect on you to walk through a memorial to the fallen in some other country. Especially a Commonwealth country, or the Philippines or some other place Americans died alongside British, Australian, or Canadian men. The Anzac Memorial in Melbourne, Australia had me in tears.

    Geez, I get misty eyed just thinking about it.