I’ve long been a believer that the only thing better than seeing a movie at the cinema is seeing a double bill. (And of course, it follows that the only thing better than seeing a double bill is seeing a triple bill. We have yet to meet the challenge of the awesomeness of a quadruple bill – but I have a feeling that will happen soon enough.)
So, today’s valid reason for dumping the day job early and sloping off to the multiplex was the twin attraction of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Interstellar. (With the lure of Pizza Hut and it’s accursed ice cream machine where you help yourself. Over, and over, and over……)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
“Cowabunga!” - Michaelangelo
I haven’t seen the Turtles for several years. My main recollection of them is watching the cartoon series with Steve when he was a small child and they were everywhere. I saw the original film back when it was released, and didn’t think it was bad at all. Now though, it’s time for a reboot.
As I remember – and please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m going on pure memory here, the Turtles became human sized as a result of some kind of radioactive ooze in the sewer where they lived. They became trained Ninjas (though here in the UK they were “Hero Turtles” not “Ninja Turtles” thanks to some overzealous censorship) at the hands of a similarly mutated rat called Splinter and they were friends with a reported named April, who covered their adventures in the news.
In the new reboot, things have changed somewhat – and you know, it’s needless. April is still a reporter but the Turtles are now her childhood pets who were purposely dosed with a mutagen in an experiment by an unscrupulous scientist named Sacks (William Fichtner playing the swarthy kind of role he always seems to play, world weary evil) who used to be April’s father’s business partner but was working with the villain Shredder on an evil plan causing the father to die when he burned their lab down.
Did we need this? No. We didn’t need this any more than we needed the strange rewriting of established history in the latest Amazing Spider-Man films. Yes, yes – I know “it’s only a cartoon” but surely there has to be a limit to the amount of retooling that can be done to an intellectual property when it’s sold to a film maker.
That’s not the only glaring issue I had with the movie either. Continuity seems to be totally lost here. Whenever the film goes to Sacks’s estate outside New York (established as being two and a half miles outside the city), it and the surrounding area are covered in snow. Yet in the city itself it’s plainly spring with none of the white stuff in evidence anywhere. Even the NYPD aren’t dressed for cold weather. And this happens a few times.
Last but not least – Megan Fox. I liked her in the Transformers movies and felt she was being a little overly pompous when she dropped out of those for fear of being typecast in cartoon movies. (Actually, what I might have said was that she should take her head out of her ass.)
Now, here she is – back as a cartoon character for the paycheque. And her performance is basically dire.
Apart from those quibbles – the film is what it is. There’s no rationalising the concept of six feet tall turtles who are experts in martial arts, are trained in stealth, eat pizza and drive around in a customised van. Like Transformers being alien robots who can become monster trucks, big rigs and sports car – you either accept that or you just stay away. So, the film is what it is.
There’s action, there’s fighting, there’s destruction, wise cracking – but personally, I’d rather watch the 1990 live action film again that re-sit through this one.
“Mankind was born on Earth. He was never meant to die here” - Cooper
For me, THIS was the film I was there to see. A film that had the distinct capacity to be the film of the year. And it almost made it.
I’ve been interested in seeing this since the teasers and trailers kicked in several months ago. It was kind of like this year’s Gravity where the teasers do exactly what they’re designed to, tease without giving anything away. Last year, Gravity just completely blew me away. And it did so with a series of surprises – from a strong performance by Sandra Bullock to special effects and 3D that literally can give a guy vertigo.
Interstellar though is firmly in that ballpark, but to me personally, it’s more like Contact (1997). Remember Contact? When I watched Contact for the first time, I was struck by the beauty of the film, but also felt that its running time was excessive for the story that was being told. Subsequent viewings of the film have altered my opinion considerably. It IS a beautiful looking film, and its running time is not an issue. It’s a haunting tale, told at just the right pace. It’s a film that comes to mind when I’m walking at night and catch sight of the clear night sky. A film that reminds me how small and insignificant we are in the cosmos.
That first impression of Contact is my first impression of Interstellar. As I sit here, typing, four days after I saw the film – I’m of the opinion that it could comfortably be told in two hours or so and didn’t need the two hours and forty minutes it took. But, having said that – I’m very eager to see it again and it will be bought on the day of DVD release. And I’ll watch it in the comfort of my study couch, without the insane mixture of pizza and about a gallon of ice cream swilling around my intestines.
So, what’s it all about?
It’s the future – maybe not too distant, maybe far flung. Not an identifiable future that you can pin down. Crops are dying of a blight. Climate change has accelerated and dust storms are pretty much the norm. Farmers are growing just enough food to sustain themselves. Our time on the planet is coming to an end and we need to find someplace else to go.
NASA however have found a wormhole that can propel a ship to distant parts of the galaxy. NASA’s Lazarus missions have shown that there are three possible planets that could be inhabited and so send a manned mission through the wormhole. Okay that’s as much as you get without plot spoilers.
Let’s go into the Spoiler Zone for the rest.
You know how this works – you don’t want plot spoilers – don’t read on, go and see the movie, THEN come back and read the rest.
Welcome to The Spoiler Zone!
The effects are absolutely astounding, encompassing not only the magnitude of the dust storms that kick up, destroying everything in their path, but also the terrain of the planets being visited by Matthew McConaughey and his team. One of which is a planet covered by a shallow ocean, BUT capable of absolutely huge tidal waves, mistaken initially for a mountain range.
Now, if there’s one thing I love in a film for some unknown reason – it’s a good tidal wave. Loved it in Deep Impact, it was the sole reason I went to see The Perfect Storm and why I checked out the remake of The Poseidon Adventure (okay – with Poseidon what other reason could there possibly be?)
Did anybody else pick up at as soon as time and relativity was mentioned, you knew who the ghost haunting the bedroom of Cooper’s daughter was?
All in all though, the worst part for me was the notion that you can enter a black hole, a force so powerful that neither light nor gravity can escape it, but a father’s love for his daughter will conquer all. That, I found hard to swallow but in light of the excellence of the rest of the film, will overlook.
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