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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.63%
Worth A Look33.33%
Average: 17.46%
Pretty Bad: 17.46%
Total Crap: 11.11%

4 reviews, 39 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"'Too Many Cooks' was more mind-blowing than this."
2 stars

Is it possible to make a big science-fiction film these days that doesn’t bathe in banalities and sap?

Smaller films like Looper or Moon or Under the Skin manage it, but the more a movie costs, the more it has to appeal to the mass audience or risk fatal word of mouth. Christopher Nolan probably commands the most clout of all the big-movie directors, after having made skillions of dollars from his Batman movies and from Inception, and his big new one, Interstellar, cost $165 million and runs 169 minutes — or about a million dollars a minute. Interstellar tries to tackle one of the biggest (and oldest) questions sci-fi has to offer: What will the human race do when Earth becomes uninhabitable? The answer is surprisingly nihilistic and cowardly: Abandon ship. We’ve ruined this planet, let’s go find another to ruin.

I doubt Nolan, who wrote the script with his brother Jonathan, considers Interstellar in those terms. Indeed, the movie stays resolutely apolitical about the dusty dystopia it depicts: nobody says that our crops are blighted and our land assailed by dust storms because of man-made climate change. This, remember, is the director who tapped into Occupy anger in The Dark Knight Rises only to wimp out of it. Nolan, then, is politically unconscious and perhaps conscienceless, a slick imperialist imagemaker who feels the masses are fairly dumb. In the future world of Interstellar, brains no longer matter; people mostly are groomed to become farmers, who work the dry land to grow corn, the only crop that can still grow (though not for long).

One such farmer, a former engineer and pilot known here only as Cooper or Coop (Matthew McConaughey), makes his way to a super-secret fragment of NASA, which shoots him out into space to find, via wormhole, a more hospitable planet. This mission takes longer than Cooper anticipates: over the course of the film’s two hours and forty-nine minutes, no fewer than three actresses play the role of his daughter Murphy at various ages, while Cooper, in an inverse of McConaughey’s Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, stays the same age. (I’m sure I’m not the first to make that joke, but I couldn’t resist.) There’s much chat about the fifth dimension and the singularity and other recitations from the higher-mind quantum-magick grimoire. What there isn’t is much excitement, either narrative or cinematic, until Nolan tries to work some up by throwing in a bad-guy character whose only function is to try to get Cooper and his crew killed a few times. Pretty much everything to do with this character is terrible, especially when he and Cooper are in a death-grapple on some ice planet.

Nolan usually has too much masculine weight on his mind to bother with decent female characters, but such actresses as Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Foy, and Louise Fletcher sneak in some of the emotions the film’s conception is sorely lacking. The Big Truths we’re meant to take away from Interstellar are the usual bromides about humanity and love finding a way (do we care about saving any other species, by the way? On this topic the movie’s silence speaks damning volumes). The movie isn’t very well thought out or deeply felt; there’s no passion in it. Nolan just wanted to make a big epic sci-fi number, and doesn’t seem at all interested in its implications.

The movie has an unacknowledged rotten core of cold nastiness. But that’s what keeps it bearable during the lengthy tech-geek scenes, wherein buttons are pushed and switches are flicked and directives are issued to robots that have a humor level of 75% (which puts them at least 25% ahead of Nolan). Interstellar is good on all the same stuff that The Right Stuff and Contact and Apollo 13 were good on, the nuts-and-bolts Popular Mechanics stuff. But it doesn’t earn inclusion in the same sentence as 2001 or even Gravity, a minimalist masterpiece that focused on survival and left the cosmological woolgathering out of it. The movie doesn’t even leave audiences with bothersome questions on the level of the spinning top in Inception.

Christopher Nolan, like David Fincher, is a well-appointed mainstream fabulist who uses a great deal of money and technology to no great artistic purpose. And his ideas are very much stale farts wafting through the deep library of speculative fiction.

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originally posted: 02/05/15 11:08:50
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User Comments

2/24/19 Dom V SciFi Junk at its worst. Stale story, boring chracters, completely illogical. 1 stars
10/30/16 morris campbell 2 long 2 dramatic but a cool sci-fi adventure none the less 4 stars
4/23/16 Stephen undeniably flawed, but decent 3 stars
3/05/16 dfgfd you review is shitty 5 stars
2/23/16 Lily "Banalities" in interstellar. Either you're from the future or have brain damage. 5 stars
12/17/15 lars Hilariously ridiculous review, from a guy who gave 5-stars for Borat and Noah! BS review. 4 stars
12/02/15 Fekinawsome Lemme guess, you are on of those who think Spielberg is one of the best directors of al tym 5 stars
11/30/15 CoolDood Spot on review. This movie was over-sentimental trash. Perfect for the morons who loved it. 1 stars
10/17/15 whitedave I saw this movie before it came out, via wormhole...come back yesterday for my review 2 stars
9/21/15 Jason Bang on review. 3 stars
9/04/15 Cole Agreed it has its faults. However, you fail to see the beauty in this film. 5 stars
8/25/15 The only person that matters It was amazing! It was very deep and at sometimes hard to understand but i loved every minu 5 stars
8/06/15 George Too much chat, not enough splat. Liked the wormhole part. 3 stars
7/31/15 TheGreatTone Overambitious, far too long, over-sentimental and ignores climate change 2 stars
7/27/15 J_Cornelius "recitations from the higher-mind quantum-magick grimoire" aka SF BS 1 stars
7/27/15 Kris Fuck your 7 month old review, you fucking cunt. As if this actually affects Wow 5 stars
7/20/15 Johnny Completely ignorant and stupid review. Rob Gonsalves, this movie went over your head. 5 stars
7/17/15 Greg You sir are a hack of a movie critic, and this review is utter garbage 4 stars
7/13/15 zenny relativity forces me to be quick, so one word: wow 5 stars
7/04/15 Bob Dog I agree with Rob Gonsalves - Interstellar is "stale farts". 1 stars
5/03/15 Cooler Great film 5 stars
4/20/15 mr.mike I recommend it to sci-fi buffs only. 4 stars
2/26/15 stanley welles a grand display visually, emotionally and mentally 5 stars
2/19/15 Jack Love behind a bookcase. I can't believe how bad this movie was. 1 stars
2/06/15 Crazy Frog tastes like chicken 5 stars
1/23/15 Langano Well done. 4 stars
12/18/14 star child a classic that will be loved across the threshold of time... i promise 5 stars
11/18/14 MVC If it wasnt for Nolan this would of been straight to DVD 4 stars
11/18/14 The Big D Combines ideas from Inception and Disney's Black Hole--part sappy; part thought-provoking. 4 stars
11/17/14 glzcarl just OK. Don't know what happened to Catwoman, 3 stars
11/11/14 Chris Science is incredibly wrong and Hathaway is a troll 2 stars
11/10/14 KingNeutron 1st half was tedious and needed rewrite, but there IS a pretty good payoff at the end 4 stars
11/10/14 jervaise brooke hamster I want to bugger Anne Hathaway 5 stars
11/09/14 Butt Best & worst of 2001 & Star Trek: TMP with a side of Matt Smith era DW to really mess it up 2 stars
11/08/14 Monday Morning Peter Sobczynski - thanks for the fucking Declaration of Independence, single-spaced. 3 stars
11/08/14 Bob Dog Bad melodrama - it's awful. 1 stars
11/08/14 Darkstar The outer space stuff was amazing. 4 stars
11/07/14 TonyK So wrong on so many levels - appalling! 1 stars
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  05-Nov-2014 (PG-13)
  DVD: 31-Mar-2015


  DVD: 31-Mar-2015

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