It’s Like Forgetting The Words To Your Favorite Song

I saw Intersteller yesterday.

I have very mixed feelings about it.  The parts that it did well it did very well.  Christopher Nolan is a brilliant visual storyteller.  The principles were all excellent in their roles.  There are scenes in this film that left me breathless.

Unfortunately, about a third of the way into the movie I lost my willing suspension of disbelief, and after that there was no narrative tension for me.

Now, I am not a physicist or an engineer, but I have an interested layman’s grasp of general and specific relativity and a good head for figures.  I felt that the filmmakers set up the rules for their particular cosmos and then almost immediately began arbitrarily violating their own rules to build narrative tension.

It had the opposite effect on me. I felt that everything was arbitrary, the rules were selectively enforced and the filmmakers were just killing time with pretty lights until it was time to get to the ending they wanted, and that it was a forgone conclusion what would happen to whom. I predicted (accurately, as it turned out) the eventual fate of every major character by about 35 minutes in.  After that, there wasn’t much to hold my interest.

If I’m watching a character cross a tightrope between two skyscrapers, I am going to be on the edge of my seat, because I know that one misstep means immediate death.  If, on the other hand, I see the character step off the rope and simply float in mid-air for a while before stepping back onto the rope, the tension is gone.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing this film.  A lot of people really love it, and as I said the visuals are extraordinary.  The characters are very real and the emotional impact of many of the scenes is undeniable.

It just couldn’t engage me intellectually, and without that I wasn’t able to care.  It was very frustrating because it wouldn’t have taken much to make the science internally consistent–they could have told almost the same story and held my interest.  I know they had science consultants on this film.  I really wish they had listened to them more.


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Publishing, On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to It’s Like Forgetting The Words To Your Favorite Song

  1. kingmidget says:

    Nothing is worse than a creative story that establishes a set of rules and then violates them.

  2. LindaGHill says:

    I hate it when that happens. Believability is everything.

  3. Great post with interesting content
    Can’t wait for more!
    Best wishes, R

  4. Green Embers says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I think if it were shorter, this would have been less of an issue. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit but certain things from a writing perspective… were annoying to me. Still though, I now know, Matt Damon is not to be trusted in exploring other worlds 😉

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