Why are so many critics calling Christopher Nolan’s latest film sole-less?
I suddenly realised that Christopher Nolan’s new film, Interstellar, is released in the UK in a fortnight… and I know hardly anything about it. Honestly, about everything I know about this film is a result of doing picture research last night for today’s image, and reading on teletext that most critics think it’s an amazing spectacle, but slight on story and emotion.
A bit like Inception, then, a film that was intellectually interesting and undeniably clever, but seemed to lack any real heart. I liked it – a lot – but I found it hard to love. A bit like MC Escher paintings.
It does make me wonder about all those people on the internet who constantly moan about spoilers. I’m on the internet constantly for my job, yet it was effortless to avoid Interstellar spoilers. I admit that some heinous spoilers do make their way into articles where you might not expect to find them, but some posters seem to moan that features about, say, season three of Arrow give away plot details for season three of Arrow. Well, d’uh. And if you’re really spoilerphobic, you really ought to know to stay away from comments sections. They’re pretty much a lawless virtual wild west, because few companies pay employees enough to 24-hour monitoring of the post, and you just know someone’s going to blurt out, “But when Harold dies in the next episode…”
All of which reminds me of this little piece I wrote for SFX a while back:
How spoilerphobic are you?
Take out scientifically-untested personality test to find out…
1 If someone tells you that a film is fantastic do you:
a) Tell them you’ll make up your own mind?
b) Get all excited?
c) Moan that they’ve ruined the experience of finding out yourself whether the film is fantastic or not?
2 Which of these do you prefer to avoid reading?
a) TV listings?
b) Film reviews?
3 You’re reading a Stephen King novel and he ends a chapter with the line, “In two hours, she would be dead.” Do you…
a) Begin reading the next chapter with a sense of impending dread impressed at the Master Of Horror’s ability to manipulate your emotions?
b) Throw the book down in disgust at an author who spoils his own bloody plots?
c) Think, “Oh God, how many times is he going to use the same literary trick?”
4 You’re watching an American TV show, and it gets to the end of the opening credits. Do you:
a) Cover up the bottom half of the TV screen with a piece you cardboard (which you keep by the TV especially for the purpose), so that you can’t see the list of guest stars just in case an old character is due to make an unexpected reappearance?
b) Read each and every credit with interest, wondering when Alan Dale’s name will show up?
c) Get slightly distracted because you think you recognise that name from somewhere?
5 You’re having a Star Wars watching marathon with your kids. Do you:
a) Watch them in the order IV, V, VI, I, II, III because that’s how they were made?
b) Watch them in the order I, II, III, IV, V, VI, because it would be cruel to the kids shouldn’t know that Anakin will become Darth Vader?
c) Watch IV, V, bits of VI, and then leave the kids to it?
6 You’re watching the opening title sequence to the new Battlestar Galactica and it gets to the end of the wailing music and the ethnic drumming starts up. Do you:
a) Appreciate that the montage of clips from the upcoming episode are a nod and a wink to the original show?
b) Cover your eyes until the drumming stops and pray to the Gods of TV to make it stop?
c) Do a Zulu war dance around the living room?
7 If someone tells you that a film has a twist, do you:
a) Become intrigued?
b) Want to rip their tongue out because now you’ll spend the whole film trying to guess the twist?
c) Reply, “Well, d’uh, it’s directed by M Night Shyamalan.”
8 An episode of Doctor Who is finishing. Do you:
a) Immediately switch off the TV because you don’t want to see the “Next Week” trailer?
b) Get excited about the “Next Week” trailer?
c) Record the “Next Week” trailer, watch it about a 20 times, then discuss ever single shot in minute detail on Gallifrey Base?
9 Is the internet:
a) A minefield of scummy spoilers?
b) An Aladdin’s cave of tantalising spoilers?
c) So bloody slow in Nether Wallop you’re more likely to be spoilt by carrier pigeon or smoke signals?
10 Warning: do not play the video below if you haven’t read/seen Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. Just award yourself three points anyway for managing to keep in the dark this long anyway.
Watch the following video:
Do you think the guy who made this video is:
a) A genius of Jackass proportions?
b) The biggest loser ever?
c) Dead by now, killed by an Avada Kedavra curse?
11 Are “Previously On” sections before TV episodes:
a) A useful memory jogger
b) An insidious spoiler, because even though it’s all footage you’ve seen before, they still give a clue about what plot elements are going to important in the following episode?
c) Confusing to the point of pointlessness?
12 When you go to the cinema do you:
a) Arrive early to watch all the trailers?
b) Arrive late so that you can avoid all the trailers?
c) Not give a toss about the trailers because you’ve seen them all on the internet?
13 What is the greatest invention ever?
a) The wheel?
b) The television?
c) The ignore button on internet forums?
14 Gandalf apparently dies in Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship Of The Ring. And yet the prepublicity for The Two Towers included clips and images of Gandalf The White? Is this:
a) Slightly annoying – I haven’t read the book?
b) Completely fine, the book’s been around for decades? How can that be a spoiler?
c) A heinous display of utter contempt for the audience, and Ian McKellen should have filmed all his Gandalf the White scenes inside a locked studio so nobody knew he was still working on the film, to keep the surprise absolute. And all the cast should have signed non-disclosure agreements not to mention that he was still in the film in interviews. And every copy of The Lord Of The Rings should have been burnt in a huge pyre. Just in case.
15 What was the most despicable spoiler ever?
a) Learning that Spike was joining the cast of Angel before the final episode of Buffy, thus totally ruining his “death” scene?
b) History – I mean, how can you enjoy Apollo 13 when you know the know the outcome?
c) That dickhead who wrote on the poster of The Usual Suspects, “This guy’s Keyser Soze”.
d) The opening narration to Dark City – what’s the point of watching the film now?
e) This quiz – because I didn’t know any of a, b, c and d above?
Tot up your scores:
1 a – 2 points; b – 1 point; c – 3 points
2 a – 3 points; b – 2 points; c – 1 point
3 a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
4 a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 2 points
5 a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
6 a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
7 a – 2 points; b – 3 points; c – 1 point
8 a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 1 point
9 a – 3 points; b – 1 point; c – 2 points
10 a – 1 point; b – 2 point; c – 3 points
11 a – 1 point; b – 3 points; c – 2 points
12 a – 2 points; b – 3 point; c – 1 points
13 a – 1 point; b – 2 points; c – 3 points
14 a – 2 points; b – 1 point; c – 3 points
15 a – 2 point; b – 4 points; c – 1 point; d – 3 points; e – 5 points
Avoid the internet! Avoid magazines! Avoid newspapers! Avoid other people! In fact, avoid watching films and TV – there are spoilers everywhere. Your simple three-point action plan to a stress-free existence is as follows:
1) Never learn to read
2) Have a friend record all TV shows for you, then edit out any credits, “Previously On” sections and “Next Week” sections.
3) Find a friend to do that who is preferably mute, and make NO OTHER FRIENDS. Ever
Spoilers are a pain, but what can you do? You can’t let it affect your life – beyond spending hours and hours on the internet naming and shaming spoiler-mongers, listing all the things that have been spoiled for you this week, and using emoticons like the currency of self-pity.
You don’t usually mind mild spoilers – like knowing that so-and-so is returning to a show, or that someone’s going to die this week. You probably watch “Previously On” sections and “Next Week” sections without needing to check your blood pressure. But you hated it when someone told you there was a twist in The Sixth Sense because then you guessed what it was in the first five minutes.
Spoilers? What spoilers?
You were that git who made that Harry Potter video above, aren’t you?
Off to Wales again for a set visit. Let’s see if you can guess the show – I’ll let you know what it is tomorrow. Here’s a clue, though: I will be meeting an actor who was in Doctor Who this year, and one of the sets is for a “pleasure palace”.
Bet that’s got you intrigued. I certainly am.
And one of these days I will get to see the Wolf Blood finale.
See you tomorrow!
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