peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2021 01 23 Contact


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I'm not a big Zemeckis fan. This is his followup to Forrest Gump, and really it would've been more fun if it had been its sequel. This is despite a well-used stellar cast. Jodie Foster plays a soulless scientist; in cliche terms, she gets enough props for doing dreamy, risky science as a woman in a ruthless male-scientist world to debate some theology. (She still looks about as girlish as she did in Taxi Driver, and her thick-skinned enthusiasm is critical to things working even this well.) But really I was there for some misguided McConaughey completism; he was young once, and beatific, and seems to have always had that Interstellar kind of lurv. David Morse. Angela Bassett. John Hurt has some fun in an ambiguous gender, ambiguous race role that Tilda Swinton owns now. James Woods unleashes some vintage snarky insinuation. So strange to see Slick Willy once more. Those were the days, but who was to know?

In essence this is about humans blindly building a machine from alien blueprints. They don't understand how it works or what it does, much like current-day capitalism, but the plans state that it will transport a human somewhere. Inevitably there's a star child and when science hits its limits even our soulless scientist reaches for spiritual imagery. Of course a multi year trip to inner Alienstan (or was that Heaven?) isn't going to fly when you've got a boy waiting back home, so they bend Einstein all out of shape to reduce the universe's immensity to human dimensions. All this makes it hard to square the science-respecting talking with the Hollywood action.

So quaint to see CRTs everywhere. The machine (essentially a stargate McGuffin) falling apart reminded me of the classic UTS crane fire meme.

Roger Ebert got starry eyed in 1997. Stephen Holden tried to take it seriously. The Star Wars trilogy? Those were the days. He's right that the best part was that reenactment of the crowd watching the moonshot launch at Cape Canaveral from across the water in 1969.