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lazygecko

The recent surge of science fiction/space themed movies

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What do you think of them? I saw The Martian a couple of days ago, and over the last few months I've also seen Interstellar and Gravity which I didn't see in theatres.

After all the buzz surrounding it, Interstellar turned out to be a colossal disappointment. Its biggest failings are the completely hamfisted and contrived human/emotional elements for the sake of drama, and it weighs down the whole experience so hard I honestly can't say I enjoyed this film much at all. It takes something truly special to make the human aspects seem more ludicriously unbelievable than the science and technology portrayed. It's pretty clear it wants to be a modern 2001: A Space Odyssey but the only aspect where it even comes close to competing is the visual spectacle and cinematogrophy. Where 2001 thrives on ambiguitiy, Interstellar tries to cheaply assert a message by tugging at emotional heartstrings with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It has all the usual problems of a Nolan film like overt exposition and poor sound mixing, but this time amplified significantly. I can't help but suspect that he's turning into a George Lucas in that he's surrounded by a bunch of spineless yes men who won't call him out on his bad ideas due to his strong pedigree.

The Martian I liked a lot better and had pretty much what I wanted out of Interstellar in the first place. And that feels very ironic given Matt Damon's equivalent astronaut role in Interstellar exemplifies what I find so wrong about that movie. There are no token villains or shoehorned personal conflicts here, just smart and qualified people being really good at solving shit (almost literally), and has enough faith in those concepts to make a good sci-fi story out of it.
Gravity I really liked as well. It's too different a film to really be directly compared to the others. It's basically a disaster movie in space that isn't any longer than it really needs to (pretty much feels like the whole movie is seamlessly unfolding in real time with very few jumps) and pulls it off with a miniscule cast. Even though it's a foregone conclusion Sandra Bullock will survive, the movie felt very tense almost all the way through. And it also has some of the most hauntingly detailed depictions of corpses in space that will probably stick in my mind for a while.

Moon is probably the next on my list to watch. This one has also received very high critical acclaim so I hope it can live up to that. I also hope we get more hard sci fi films like these in the near future.

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It has all the usual problems of a Nolan film like overt exposition and poor sound mixing, but this time amplified significantly.

Wow, I've never watched a Nolan film and thought 'this sound mixing is terrible'.  My complaint usually is the film is 40 minutes too long, but I haven't seen Interstellar.

 

Moon I've seen twice and wasn't a fan of the film.  You're watching one person on the screen for 90 minutes which becomes tedious, and I couldn't care about the moral or the big secret of the film.

 

Gravity, The Martian, other recent sci-fi films I haven't seen either although I do want to watch Gravity.  Classics like 2001 and Alien I can comment on.

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Wow, I've never watched a Nolan film and thought 'this sound mixing is terrible'.

 

The dialogue is often mixed so low compared to everything else it becomes borderline unintelligible. I suppose it's not as noticeable for international audiences watching in theatres with subtitles on by default. But when I watched The Dark Knight on DVD I honestly thought something was wrong with my audio, until I learned that this is how Cristopher Nolan does it deliberately. Interstellar is far worse. The music tends to drown everything out, and it's also compounded by the characters mumbling their lines a lot.

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I liked Interstellar very much, ok, the mixing really could use an overhaul but overall it was very enjoyable.
Concerning Moon, I still can't understand why people say it's great, like Skrypnyk said, it's a 90 minutes one person show and the surprise isn't really surprising if you think about it

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 i was happy with interstellar because it had a huge organ, i identified with the movie in that regard.

 

i agree interstellar was a bit forced on the emotions but it still got to me.

 

 

gravity was totally amazing.  blood pressure went up by 10,000 points watching it

 

the martian was great but got a little boring towards the end i thought going back and forth, when you know by then he's going to be saved, it's not like they can have him die at any point.  to me it was more interesting seeing him survive than seeing the NASA people...although I liked that section too.

 

sci fi needs to be more about the people than the spaceships, i'm in a sci fi writers group and almost all of it is tropes for the sake of tropes without saying anything real about human experience, which is why so many people look down on sci fi

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I enjoyed Gravity.  It was exciting and thrilling and I generally enjoy disaster movie elements.  Probably 4/5 stars.

 

You know, I didn't enjoy Interstellar--the 1st time around.  I thought it was slow, long, boring, and I didn't understand Matt Damon's character or acting.  His acting felt off and weird, kind of random.  The whole movie was confusing and pretty blah.  BUT--after I watched it, I thought about the film a lot, and that's usually what Nolan's films do to me.  They leave me in a thought-provoking state.  And the 2nd time I watched it, I loved it.  I watched most of it on my phone.  I guess I kind of knew what I was getting into.  But this time, I was engaged throughout the whole movie; I think my favorite parts were the action/thrilling parts, e.g. ::SPOILERS:: the water planet scenes, the scene where Cooper is able to dock the ship after Mann's catastrophic failure.  I really like how Nolan handles tension and release.  Most things I didn't like or understand the 1st time, I liked/understood a lot better the 2nd time.  The love between father and daughter that transcends space and time--that was intriguing and it was pretty compelling to me.  The general concept of "this planet is failing so we must travel through a wormhole to find a suitable planet or else everyone basically dies" is awesome, and I think they pulled it off well.  I also thought the time dilation elements were really interesting.  Matt Damon was still weird to me, even after the 2nd time.  I know anyone who hated or strongly disliked Interstellar will most likely not watch it again, but I highly recommend a 2nd viewing if you can stomach the idea.  4.5/5 stars.

 

I have yet to see The Martian but I want to.

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Okay, I don't know about you guys, but Gravity actually really bothered me. Specifically, physics doesn't work that way and for a movie that goes that far in terms of realism, that's really disappointing to me. Idk, maybe it's just the engineer/science nerd in me, but there was at least one moment that was extremely crucial to the plot of the movie where they just forgot how physics works for a bit. I was sitting in the theater laughing at that scene which from the music cues I think was supposed to be really dramatic. $0.02

 

Gravity spoilers:

I'm talking about the scene where George Clooney dies in case anyone is wondering. They're in zero gravity and yet some magical unseen force acts on him, causing him to need to let go of the cable and float away to his death.

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