inflatable dalek
2014-11-20, 05:35 PM
It felt like what you'd get if Michael Bay directed 2001, lots of visual splendor but the more you think about it the stupider and stupider the film seems.

The ending was the main weakness, it was as if 2001 ended with Hal and Dave explaining what was going on during the Star Child sequence. Very slowly. Some ambiguity would have gone a long way, actually spelling it out just made me realise how silly a lot of it was.

Other annoyances:

OK, the film did nicely deal with why they didn't just send robots to the 12 worlds (the ones they have are old and running out, hence the main one having to pull guard and interrogation duties as well as being on the mission), but Dr. Mann having one with him kind of undid that as that's at least one mission they didn't need to waste a human on (I know that, in keeping with the Dark Knight Rises, thematically it's about the power of the human spirit overcoming everything but it still felt a bit odd, especially as that argument is made by the mad Mann and the self obsessed with his own kids Cooper).

Anne Hathaway's character being made to feel guilty about the water world even though Cooper is just as responsible as his need to rush things prevented them taking a more considered approach. Indeed, Cooper is the most annoying sort of parent who thinks that having made a kid gives them the right to do anything and it's OK because it's for their kids, he doesn't seem to give that much of a about anyone else. Throw in him going to extreme lengths to block Hathaway's existing boyfriend (and if he hadn't, they'd have avoided the whole Mann mess as well) and he comes over as fully deserving of being sucked into a black hole.

OK, I get the need to explain things for audiences not familiar with space travel and multi dimensional theories, and you don't want to do the infodumps all in one go . But the exposition is handled very poorly with it seeming that ex-NASA staff member Cooper apparently knows nothing about space travel beyond how to fly the ship and no one has bothered to explain any of the things vital to the mission to him in even the most basic way before they left (and even with there being a rush on, it's not as if the explanations take that long to deliver).

Also, it seems the American government is fully behind NASA's plan here- to the point of keeping it going for decades after the last time they hear from the mission and presumably throwing a lot of money at it. So with all hopes on this long term plan that will require new and younger people to come in and replace those who die and retire to keep it going... they create an education system that goes out of its way to remove any interest in space or anything beyond farming from young minds. How is that not counter-productive?

The worst thing for me (and strangely considering the British talent behind the film), was how annoyingly American the whole thing was. Mentions of other nations tend to be in the past tense, and Michael Caine seems to be the only non-Yank involved in the whole process (and with him you can never tell, that might well have been supposed to be an American accent). More worryingly, there's no real feeling that anyone except Americans were saved at the end either.

Just compare that to our old friend Independence Day, where despite it's much derided "America saves the day" attitude it still goes to the effort of showing that the whole world is involved and playing a vital part even if the American lead actors are the ones who've come up with the plan and will be carrying out the most dangerous part of it. As entertainingly silly as the Tally ho RAF officer is, that movie is trying in a way this isn't.

Which is especially silly when in the present day real world Americans can't send men into space without working with the Russians.

And how the hell old was Caine supposed to be when he died anyway?

That all makes the film sound less entertaining than it is (though it is the sort of annoying dumb movie that thinks it has something profound to say, see also Star Trek the Motion Picture), but just make sure you're brain is switched off, watch the pretty effects and entertaining silly robots (which more than anything suggest that Nolan deep down in his heart would rather be making a film like The Black Hole and don't under any circumstances think about it afterwards.

It was also perhaps slightly undone by Gravity being so recent and pre-empting the effort to give good old fashioned pulp SF some verisimilitude by getting the basic facts right. Indeed, from the amount of times people say "GRAVITY" in this in the sort of tone of voice used in Bond films when they do a title drop it almost feels like that was the original title.