Tag Archives: space

Review: Interstellar – to infinity and beyond!











Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s latest film. It’s a science fiction adventure about a team of NASA astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of an inhabitable planet, because Earth is dying.
Directed by Nolan, written by Nolan and Jonathan Nolan.

The good; I love the robots. As I’ve mentioned, it’s robot season. In the film there are two main robots, TARS and CASE, they’re reminiscent of the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but they’re move-able with separating joints to make limbs and other shapes, it’s like a big shapes puzzle. The AI that makes these robots have a personality also reminds me of B.O.B. and V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole. I just love that the designs are practical versus form and elegance.

The portrayal of the worm hole was stunning. The visuals in this movie are amazing, you have to go see it on the big screen.

For an adventure movie there sure are a lot of emotional moments. The actors do a great job with these scenes.

The bad; the sound design was a little much in some areas, meaning that the score and the sound effects over powered the dialog. It was hard to hear at times.

For a science based movie, they used “love” as a factor. When the scientists have to make a choice of where to go next, one of them uses love to convince the others… that only hurt her argument. It felt out of place, perhaps a little more set up could’ve made that flow better?

There’s a “plot twist” in the second act, don’t want to say too much, but it felt a bit forced.

People are just dumb, it’s getting increasingly harder to watch a movie in a theatre and enjoy it. Here’s a line from one such “patron”… “I didn’t pay $15 to have a squeaky chair.” To which my reply was, “I didn’t pay $15 to have you fidgeting in your chair the whole movie.”

Overall, I had a good time, I don’t want to say too much about the plot for fear of spoiling it. After seeing the film it elicits conversations, and that’s good here.
The premise reminds me of The Black Hole, the robots remind me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the music reminds me of Philip Glass, space travel and the video messaging is very much like Alien and Aliens, the special effects remind me of Tree of Life, the second act reminds me of Sunshine, the third act’s reveal reminds me of Gundamand so on… If you were to do a double feature, I would pair Interstellar with Big Hero 6, strictly for the visuals.



Review: Gravity – “is working against me…” you got that right Mister Mayer











Waited to see Gravity, worth the wait.  This is a movie truly worth seeing in IMAX 3D.  See it that way and see it often, well maybe not often cause it’s already made $50 million on its opening weekend.

The short of it, astronauts on a routine expedition get caught in a debris storm that leaves them stranded in space, dun dun dunnnnn…

The good; the visuals are amazing. the opening shot goes on for what feels like forty five minutes.  Technically stunning.  This is how filming a mostly CG film is supposed to be, not like those Star Wars prequels.

The only two on screen actors you have are Sandra Bullock, who plays the bio-medical engineer Ryan Stone, and George Clooney, who plays veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski.  Other than that, everyone else is a voice over.  It’s compelling that all you have on screen are these two actors and you’re still right there with them.

The soundtrack is amazing, very driving and atmospheric, pun intended.  With a film like this where they do portray space as the vacuum it is, there’s no sound, leaving a lot of room for the soundtrack.  It’s booming, almost deafening, and yet can be triumphant and moody.

Gravity leans more to the scientific aspects of what would happen in a space disaster.  Reminiscent of movies like; The Perfect Storm, Open Water, Castaway, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In its leaning to the hard science stuff, the film uses imagery from 2001, but doesn’t attempt to touch the philosophy aspects of it.  An example is the shot where Bullock is curled up in the fetal position while in zero gravity, the tether line is the umbilical cord and the craft is the womb…  I like the nod to 2001.

The bad; you should see this in IMAX 3D, there’s no way about it, seeing this film in regular 2D isn’t worth it.  Allow yourself to be immersed completely in a movie.
The trailer… it portrays the film as more high octane action by using sound effects in space, the marketing is mis-leading here.  Those morons expecting a big explode-y type movie shouldn’t be watching this film, so why market to those cavemen?

There isn’t much to put here, but I’ve got to put something.  If anything, the story is nothing new.  But it’s so well done.

Overall, Gravity is one of my favorite movies this year.  It should be nominated for best picture as well as all the technical nominations that it’s eligible for.  This is basically a disaster film but set in space, it’s man against the elements, in this case the lack of elements.  It’s another technical feat brought to us by Alfonso Cuarón.  Bravo!

Review: Europa Report – no not how the euro is doing


The Europa Report is about a manned space mission to Europa, for those of you who don’t know, Europa is a moon of Jupiter.  These astronauts go there in hopes of finding life, in the form of bacteria and stuff, and not the little green men type.

The good; I love sci fi, and I love this hard sci fi stuff.  Europa Report reminds me of these other movies; Moon, Silent Running, Sunshine and 2001.  And to a certain extent Mission to Mars, everything before they actually get to Mars.  There’s something about man facing the elements, or lack of, in space.  Europa Report follows in that tradition.

The science fiction of this movie makes me believe that a mission to Europa could actually happen.  Adding to the science of it is the way the movie was filmed.  We’re watching an uploaded report, inter-cut with talking heads from the team on Earth and other things.  There isn’t much that feels staged, it’s as if we’re just watching the surveillance footage from their mission, just edited together.  It’s using the tricks found in Paranormal Activity but in a sci fi world, and for that I love it.

The bad; it’s predictable.

The story is told in a non-linear fashion… I don’t think that added anything to the experience.  It makes me wonder how the film would be if it were edited chronologically?  I’d like to think that the impact of certain scenes would still hold up, if not more so.  Oh well.

*SPOILERS* When the first victim (Sharlto Copley) bites it, the moment is simple and not an action scene with huge explosions.  Very similar to Tim Robbins’ death in Mission To Mars.  Really liked how they covered that scene.
The end… like with the director’s cut of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind we’re shown too much.  I would rather the film footage be consumed by a bright light than to be shown a glimpse of an alien… *END SPOILERS*

Overall I had fun going on this journey, but was left very in the middle when the credits came up.  The music is done by the great Bear McCreary.  If you like hard science fiction, I would recommend Europa Report, but look past it’s flaws.
But it feels like there was a missed opportunity for a great movie here.