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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Interstellar & Big Hero 6


Dearest Blog, yesterday I set off for the cinema with a chip on my shoulder about excessively-long movies. On the docket: Interstellar (ahem) and Big Hero 6.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

First up, Christopher Nolan's newest epic, Interstellar.

With Earth falling to ruin, a group of scientists heads into space to find mankind some new digs.
My reaction to the announcement of Interstellar's runtime: "Are you %&$#@!& kidding me??" Most movies that exceed two hours don't do much to earn the extra screentime, and I well and truly feared I might be lulled to sleep by three hours of Matthew McConaughey's lazy drawl. I repentantly admit I should have trusted in the Genius of Nolan.

Interstellar is not a perfect movie. It's VERY long and, while it's too complex to say, "Cut that ten-minute car chase and we're good!" a bit of cropping here and there would have served it well. The performances are solid across the board, but three hours of McConaughey IS a lot to take, and I can't remember the last time I wanted to punch a fictional character in the face as much as I did Anne Hathaway's. (I'm not among that curious lot who despises Hathaway; on the contrary, she's a favorite of mine, but this character...not so much). Some dialogue is inexcusably cheesy for a movie that so wants and expects to be taken seriously. The score is strangely and obtrusively loud at times.

The good news is none of that keeps Interstellar from being a very, very good movie that easily holds your attention for the duration. Performances are solid across the board. Hans Zimmer's score is beautiful, despite those few jarring blasts. I suspect those even may be intentional, as they create a stark contrast with the absolute silence that follows. Interstellar boasts a smart, intricate plot that takes many turns I did not expect. The pacing is deliberate--almost a full hour is devoted to the setup--but it doesn't feel slow or even all that long. Finally, Interstellar makes Gravity look like a first-year film-school project; it is absolutely magnificent and should be seen on the biggest screen you can find.

Interstellar clocks in at 169 minutes (you heard me) and is rated PG13 for "some intense perilous action and brief strong language."

Interstellar won't be everyone's cup of tea.

The length may seem not just daunting, but pretentious to some, and the story perhaps too convoluted.

To me, though, it's a stroke of pure cinematic brilliance that has (for the moment, at least) cured me of questioning the wisdom of Christopher Nolan.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Interstellar gets eight.

Next on the agenda was Disney's animated feature Big Hero 6.

A group of young scientists teams with the world's cuddliest robot to solve a mystery that strikes close to home.

Well, dear reader(s), you know how I'm always saying low expectations are the key to a happy life? Throw that out the window and have the highest expectations you can imagine for Big Hero 6 and you still won't be disappointed. I loved this so much I hardly know where to start, but.......
...I guess we'll start with the obvious. When it comes to animation, the biggest thing for me is always going to be: How good does it look?

Big Hero 6 looks so amazing it jumps right off the screen, and that's just in 2D. In 3D, I daresay it would be a feast for the eyes like no other. The artwork and colors are stunning, and the action sequences are possibly the most eye-catching I've ever seen. Big Hero 6 has plenty of great messages for kids (and adults), but it never feels like one of those Message Movies that beats you over the head with its point. The characters are terrifically diverse; I can't imagine there's a kid anywhere who won't see himself and his own potential in at least one of them.

The storyline is sad at times--though realistically, not morosely, sad--but a hopeful tone runs throughout. Big Hero 6 is smart, interesting, and laugh-out-loud funny, a perfect movie cocktail for children and adults alike. Annnnnnnd...most importantly, Baymax is the cutest animated lead since Nemo. I want one.

Big Hero 6 runs 108 minutes and is rated PG for "action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements."

Big Hero 6 is my favorite animated film of 2014. I liked it even better than the Lego Movie, and it's guaranteed a spot in my year-end top ten.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Big Hero 6 gets eight and a half.

Until next time...

PS: Ever notice you can always spell "McConaughey" correctly if you only remember there's an "ugh" in the middle?  ;-)

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