After living for a year in Ucluelet, on Vancouver Island's rugged outer shore, we decided to fulfill another dream and move to the downtown area of Vancouver. These are the adventures, in words and images, of a couple of retirees now based in Lower Lonsdale.

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Saturday, 6 December 2014

What'd He Say???

A couple of days ago, I went and visited my kids in Langley, and we went and saw a matinee at the IMAX of Christopher Nolan's new movie, Interstellar.

Nolan's movies have, for me, pretty much all been winners, from the early, and wonderfully convoluted Memento, to the stark beauty of Insomnia, and his (pardon the pun) magical The Prestige. Then along came the marvelous mindfuck of Inception, with its stories within stories. The trilogy of Batman flicks are very enjoyable too, especially if one likes oodles of violence and explosions etc, and are certainly the best portrayal yet of the famed comic book caped crusader.

I managed not to watch any trailers, or other promo material of Interstellar, wanting to see it without bias. I did, however, see a Youtube video about the sound design of the movie, and one complaint that seemed to be common from reviewer comments was that the dialog was difficult to hear and understand in much of the movie.

This is a movie that is literally made for IMAX presentation, and the visuals are truly stunning. I won't spoil it for those who have yet to see it, but the story is an interesting one and although parts of it seem derivative, it does have some unique aspects.

But... I have to admit that I agree with those who complain about the buried dialog. The Hans Zimmer score is all that we've become used to, epic and powerful, but holy shit, the level at which it cranks out of the surround sound speaker arrays is astonishingly out of balance and in some scenes, you need to be able to lip read to understand the dialog.

Add to this that the sound effects are also pushed to punishing levels in the mix and you are left straining through a good portion of the 2-hours-and-46-minutes of the film, especially in the action sequences, of which there are many.

Nolan's retort to these complaints are that he intentionally mixed the movie this way to tell the story primarily through the visuals, saying he "[doesn't] agree with the idea that you can only achieve clarity through dialogue. Clarity of story, clarity of emotions — I try to achieve that in a very layered way using all the different things at my disposal — picture and sound."

Bottom line: if you are a science fiction aficionado, or a follower of Christopher Nolan, see this film. And if you want to know what the hell they're all saying, get the DVD when it comes out and watch it with the subtitles. :)

Over and out.


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