Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Mathew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain
I look forward to some movies the same way that kids look forward to Xmas. The agonising wait, the excitement as it gets nearer, the pretty packaging and finally the day comes and you get to experience the magic. But sometimes that great big present you couldn’t wait to unwrap turns out to be a real disappointment. Interstellar is that present.
Directed by the man who bought us the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Memento. Starring three Oscar winners. Award winning screenwriter and composer. What could possibly go wrong? Simply put, dear reader, just about everything. This movie is a mess! It made me think that the production team had spent a weekend bingeing on Sci-fi movies. They watched Gravity, 2001, Contact, Close Encounters and a couple of Star Treks and threw bits of all of them into a blender and this concoction is what came out.
Set in an unspecified time in the future the Earth is rapidly dying from some form of eco disaster that is destroying all the crops.
Cooper (McConaughey) is a widower who lives with his father in law and two children on their farm, eking out a living from the dwindling resources. His son Tom is destined to be a farmer but his 10 year old daughter Murph is a gifted young scientist.
In a dragged out first act it is established how much “Coop” loves his kids and in a totally irrelevant segment where he and the children find a redundant drone aircraft buzzing above them he illustrates how technically adept he is by taking control of the drone with his laptop, landing it and taking it home!
Murph believes her room is being haunted by a poltergeist as books and objects appear to jump off the shelves. During a violent sand storm she runs to her room and finds strange strands of sand appearing vertically before her eyes. When she shows them to Coop he believes the lines to be a binary code giving map co-ordinates which he decides to follow…still with me?
He sets off believing to be alone but Murph stows away in the truck and when they reach the destination it transpires that they have arrived at NASA which appears to have survived as a cottage industry akin to an illegal distillery.
“Space Central” is run by Professor Brand (Michael Caine) who is thrilled to pieces that Coop has “stumbled” onto them as he was previously his star astronaut and needs him to pilot the craft that is going to help save the planet.
It was at this point that my faith in the film started to run downhill rapidly. If he needed him that badly why didn’t he just pick up the phone or send an email? What’s even more obscure is that it doesn’t take long for Coop to make up his mind to accept the mission.
Allowing for the fact that you may decide to ignore my review and trust the hype I will not give too much else away except to say that the plot – as it is – relies heavily on the time space continuum, the theory of relativity and quantum physics. None of which I know much about but I do know when science is manipulated drastically just to make a story work.
Suffice to say the mission involves visiting three planets accessible through a worm hole. Previous astronauts have been sent out to ascertain whether life could be sustainable on any of them so that mankind can exist anew beyond our known galaxy. Coop and his crew are meant to rescue the other explorers and return with their data intact. The downside of all this is that time through a worm hole is completely different to that on Earth and it is expected that by the time they return from the mission thirty Earth years will have elapsed.
This film is so convoluted it’s just not true. The dialogue is clunky and at time so clichéd you have to laugh, for example…”Is love the real fifth dimension?”
At sixteen minutes under three hours it is and feels way too long. The space scenes are ok but have all been seen before and are nowhere near as immersive as those in Gravity. The acting is just about passable when you consider the script they are working with and the reveal as to the true nature of Murph’s ghost is so unbelievable I actually felt my eyes rolling. Moreover, the final twenty minute resolution happens without any explanation and begs the question “if they have done that eventually why didn’t they do it in the first place and avoid the entire movie”?
Did I like anything? Well, Hans Zimmer’s score is quite impressive and helps add a degree of tension and atmosphere when there really is very little and the robot, TARS, is the real star of the show. The underlying message of the movie is that family love transcends space and time. Highly commendable but there has to be a better way of getting the message across other than an overlong space opera.
Certainly not one for the kids as it takes itself far too seriously and frankly I think most adults will find it as tedious as I did. I could be wrong and you’ll agree with all those five star reviews that are featured in the ‘ads. If you do please let me know what I missed.
Rating: Two out of five stars
If you liked this you will also like: Gravity, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Contact, 2001 A Space
Odyssey and Apollo 13.