It’s difficult to imagine Chris Nolan pumping out a bad film. Even “The Dark Knight Rises”, a less-than-epic conclusion to an amazing trilogy, was far from awful. Luckily, “Interstellar” keeps the “trash” label at bay, but this addition to the Nolan canon definitely belongs near the bottom.
At 169 minutes, “Interstellar” definitely wishes it is the next “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Alas, what transpires seems less intentional, like an entirely expository scene between Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a teacher explaining that his daughter’s book about space exploration is fabricated propaganda. We never landed on the moon. We need to stay grounded and worry more about crops. This isn’t even what the film’s about.
And then there’s the ultimate chance encounter, when Cooper and daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy), stumble across a hidden NASA facility researching a black hole neighboring Saturn. Since Earth is dying, that bridge to another solar system is humanity’s last chance. As team leader, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), says, “We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it.” And “Coop” is just in time to be the pilot. (Did I forget to mention he’s an engineer who once trained for space exploration, but he never got a chance before the world went down hill?).
So now Cooper and a few explorers, including the professor’s daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway), embark on a mission without a clear exit strategy, hoping to find a new world humans can repopulate. But they soon learn the clock is ticking when they encounter gravitational pulls that cause time to move slower –– meaning an hour on one planet equals seven years back home.
Like most Nolan films, it’s difficult to completely explain the premise. Remember “Inception”? Unfortunately, the payoff here is less satisfying than in his other films. While a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream made sense, the time lapses and other sci-fi fallacies don’t add up here, resulting in a rather convoluted, albeit beautifully-told, story.
Like Fox Mulder said in the “X-Files”, “I want to believe,” but “Interstellar” doesn’t treat me like an intelligent viewer, as opposed to other Nolan films. Plot holes, predictable outcomes and random characters acting irrationally all mutate into a shadow of something that should be incredible, an Oscar contender — not something entirely watchable yet oh-so forgettable.
‘Big Hero 6’
When Disney bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009, nerds and film enthusiasts alike wondered when we’d see an animated feature based on a Marvel Comics story. Five years later, Disney made an incredible choice, adapting the Marvel manga series, “Big Hero 6”, set in “San Fransokyo” –– a Japanese/American hybrid concept perfect for digital animation. And following Disney’s recent success with “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph”, Pixar should fear Disney Animation for pumping out more memorable films in recent years.
To their credit, “Big Hero 6” is the perfect children’s film complete with an adorable robot and many slapstick moments, and a storyline that older audiences can relate to. What the film lacks is memorable characters.
This is supposed to be a superhero team flick, but the story mainly focuses on Hiro (Ryan Potter) and Baymax (Scott Adsit), a robot created by Hiro’s recently deceased brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney). Tadashi’s old friends — Fred (T.J. Miller), GoGo (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) — arrive just in time for the team up (otherwise the film would just be titled “Big Hero 2”), but they all bring nothing to the screen, save for warm bodies.
The whole point of the story is to find out who is responsible for the death of Tadashi due to a fire during an exhibition of Hiro’s latest experiment, microbots, which swarm together to create any shape imaginable. It all seems like an accident until Hiro learns of a masked man using his technology. To exact his revenge, Hiro needs a team, so Tadashi’s former classmates join him to weaponize their lab experiments to take on an unknown foe. Hiro even creates an “Iron-Man”-style suit for Baymax and combat programming.
It’s all very cute, but the result is more childish than incredible. I know, it’s a kids’ film, what did I expect? The old days of Pixar spoiled me, and I hoped the Pixar bug might’ve caught on. The animation is incredible, but the characters just aren’t very interesting. Hiro’s heartache feels real (you’ll probably tear up a couple times), but superhero teams should be about multiple characters working together. As a superhero origin film, “Big Hero 6” feels more like a generic introduction to a better sequel on the way.
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