I’m a father who loves his children. I’m a pilot who spends an enormous amount of time on the road. I still own the copy of Black Holes and Warped Spacetime I ordered from the Science Fiction Book Club in 1982. Interstellar could not have been more calibrated to my sensibilities if it had been coded to my DNA.
Here’s the setup: Earth is fast becoming uninhabitable. In the first act, scientist Michael Caine tells hero Matthew McConaghey that his children will be the last generation to live to old age. The solution? A journey to another solar system, via wormhole, to find a habitable planet.
That’s a great setup for any number of films. You could go thriller, horror, hamhanded political screed, religious allegory – you name it. Interstellar blends aspects of exploration adventure and introspective head trip to create a film that evokes Kubrick’s 2001 while maintaining a sense of desperate tension. All that, and it provides the best exploration of time dilation in popular science fiction since Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War. There’s even a snappy android played by Sesame Street’s Mister Noodle.
Really, what more could you ask for?
Dark Shadows has all the elements of a solid horror-comedy: a classic vampire, a vampy villain, ghosts, and werewolves. However, it never quite comes together. Its hero is a genuine monster, making it hard to root for him. Its villain has clear motivations that make no sense, its plot is muddled, and its climax says “to heck with it” and departs even from the rules of its own fantasy world.
And on and on and on.
One gets the feeling that some producer decided to exploit his or her rights to a nominally familiar horror franchise, called Tim Burton, and handed him a sack of cash. Burton did his thing, complete with a real live Corpse Bride, but the movie spent too much time in production and not enough time in the word processor.
My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady combines a fairly risible story (once you think about it) with one catchy production number after another.
I like catchy production numbers. I’m still humming “Ascot Opening Day.” I’ll watch this any time it comes on.
The World’s End
The World’s End is lovely. While hampered by a rocky first act, the picture gets to swinging once the world actually begins to end. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, and it’s a winner.
Much Ado About Nothing
Meh. There ain’t no Beatrice and Benedick like Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh’s Beatrice and Benedick.