GeekWire was transported to other galaxies yesterday — wandering through worm holes on a quest to save the human race.
Yes, we played hooky Wednesday afternoon and took in Christopher Nolan’s two hour and 49 minute epic space drama Interstellar, watching the action unfold on the giant IMAX screen at the Pacific Science Center.
The big-budget movie — released this week and starring a very impressive Matthew McConaughey as space traveler Cooper — left different impressions for our team.
We debriefed after the movie where many of us thought Interstellar attempted to be a modern-version of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Here’s each of our takes, with a letter grade. For a true science fiction geek’s perspective, check out GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano’s review here: “Interstellar: Dramatic awe, with a science-fiction flaw.”
Monica Nickelsburg, digital producer at GeekWire
“The first half of Interstellar was just what I wanted it to be. It was visually stunning and entertaining enough, a perfect film to see in IMAX. However, if you’re going to take on a project of that scope — that explores the nature of time, space, relativity, physics, and survivalism — it should probably have a satisfying ending. Too often filmmakers attempt epics and bite off more than they can chew. I think the film will leave most audiences wanting more than ‘love is the answer’ as its summation. That’s just not what viewers are looking for in a space odyssey.”
Jonathan Sposato, chairman at GeekWire
“I loved this movie. Here’s why. It fired on all cylinders for me. The science was cool. Obviously, the effects were cool. You know I am into space and NASA and astronauts and that stuff, so that was there for me. I loved the homages to famous science fiction films — 2001: A Space Odyssey and I thought that was a nice Capricorn 1 reference to the space program being a big hoax. A lot of these classic films that I grew up with in the 70s, there were shades of that, and that was really cool. The final reason why I loved this movie was because of the emotional resonance of it as a parent. There is this very strong thread — forget that it is a science fiction movie and the physics and the science of it and all of that stuff — there was this aspect of what came through — stronger than any other film, drama or otherwise, where it was like: ‘Hey, being a dad means, don’t let your kid down.’ That really struck me, and I was moved to tears a couple of times. I saw a couple of you guys wipe your eyes too. That is why we go to the movies.”
Daniel Rossi, chief business officer at GeekWire
“I would look at a movie like Forest Gump that is telling an epic story in chunks as the winner. That is the one that does the best job of getting across this big message. This is a big effort story, and there are pieces of the epic that just didn’t come through. I think they did a really nice job until they got into that fifth dimensional bookshelf, and I had a hard time swallowing all of that. I thought it was definitely entertaining, but there were times when it dragged a little thin, and little slow.”
Tricia Duryee, staff reporter at GeekWire
“Well, there was a men’s line in the bathrooms afterwards, and no female line, so it was totally awesome. I am giving a B+ just for that, because you need to go to the bathroom after this movie. I wasn’t uncomfortable, like in some long movies I get uncomfortable in my seat. I want it to end. I am looking at my watch. I didn’t have that. It held my attention. I think it started out slow and it sped up and sped up and sped up. It was like: ‘Oh, my god, this is going to be a really long movie. Hurry up here.’ A better pace throughout the whole (movie) may have been better. But, being my first movie since having my child at a movie theater, it definitely exceed my expectations.”
John Cook, co-founder of GeekWire
“I walked out and leaned over to Taylor (Soper) afterwards and said: ‘Man, I wish I didn’t get a C in my high-school physics class.’ I felt like you needed a PhD in physics to figure out the final third of the movie. Something got really jumbled and lost, and something just broke down there. I still think it was a good movie. It was entertaining, and fast moving. It was better than I expected after reading some of the initial reviews. I actually liked the beginning a lot — the history, and the toss back to the Dust Bowl.”
Taylor Soper, staff reporter at GeekWire
“I liked it, but the last 45 minutes just didn’t come together for me. I liked Gravity better. I came out of the theater after Gravity, and was like: ‘That was a great movie.’ This one was good, but it was not amazing. I didn’t know Matt Damon was in the movie. That was cool. The 5th dimension thing, I didn’t quite get. I need to read about the physics.”
Frank Catalano, columnist at GeekWire
“I liked it, I will say that. I thought it was a movie about scale — the scale of time, and the scale of nature — and that came off with the visuals and a lot of the science in it. As a science fiction movie, I didn’t like it nearly as much as I thought. I think anytime a movie dives into a black hole, it risks pulling the entire film itself in after it. And I think this did that in the last third. I enjoyed it. It didn’t feel long to me. But I also didn’t feel really satisfied in the science that was promised at the beginning. I would watch it a second time, because I am sure I missed some things. But it is not something I would download to keep on my Tivo.”
So, there you have it. Unfortunately, Todd Bishop and Blair Hanley Frank were unable to attend, but we’ll update this post once they see the movie, if they still want to after reading these reviews.