It’s big, it’s loud, it’s multi-megastellar and it’s very ambitious. It’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” for the 21st Century—like on steroids maybe. But Stanley Kubrick was a genius, Christopher Nolan not so much. I can’t see Kubrick doing Batman movies, but on the other hand I can’t recall Kubrick giving us a game plan for saving humanity. However, in addition to the “Dark Knight”, Nolan is noted for complex, idea-driven films like “Memento” and “Inception”. Perhaps he is a genius, and I’m just not sharp enough to completely appreciate his cinematic delivery of complex ideas. “Interstellar” could have gone gently into that good night, but didn’t, and I gather Michael Caine reading Dylan Thomas’ famous poem is supposed to lend the movie gravitas.
There are plenty of filmic references to Kubrick’s “2001”—down even to the massive organ blast at the end of Richard Strauss’s opening Zarathustra theme. And it has a talking robot/computer. HAL was the faux-sentient computer in the now 46-year old “2001”—Interstellar has talking robots CASE and TARS. “2001” had the enigmatic black obelisk beckoning mankind onward and “Interstellar” has gravity forming strange binary wave patterns in the dust.
And speaking of dust: There’s plenty of it on a dying Earth in the near future. Matthew McConaughey (Coop) is a retired astronaut turned farmer trying to feed the world and save it from some sort of corn-blight. He’s a widower and lives on this hardscrabble farm with his father-in-law, teenage son and 10-y.o daughter, Murph. Monster storms make the 1930s “Dust Bowl” era look like a walken in the park. No doubt, this has something to do with global warming. Anyway, this flick needed a corn-blight to winnow out some of the schmaltzy plot and acting.
NASA is so underfunded and unappreciated that it has gone underground. But, anyway, Coop via his daughter, manages to find their secret site and guess what? They just happen to have a rocket ready for liftoff and Coop was their best pilot: “Voila”! Now how neat is that. Anyway, Coop and three others blast off for a black hole in the vicinity of Saturn. The black hole via a worm-hole will catapult them into another galaxy where they will search for inhabitable planets. The plot has more holes than 10-lbs of Swiss Cheese, and I don’t mean black holes or worm holes.
Sounds as though I didn’t like this movie. However, there were things about it that I really did enjoy. The sound track and special effects were awesome. During lift-off I had to hold on to my seat. I thought maybe the IMAX theater was headed into orbit. The love between Coop and his daughter Murph transcends time, and the power of Love is a major theme in the movie. I’m on board with that notion. Also, Jessica Chastain, who plays Murph as an adult, is just about my favorite actress. And some of the ideas and themes Nolan tries to develop were intriguing, like the notion that poltergeists are really people from the future trying to communicate with us. Time fascinates me and I resonate with the thought of it being recursive and nonlinear. There is also a completely uncredited surprise cameo by a major star that was a great inclusion. However, at near three hours it was waaay too long for an old fart like me. In the last 20-mins it felt repetitive and my concentration and appreciation for it was fading fast.
Anyway, Nolan’s apparent theme is Science + Love = Mankind’s Salvation. If you’ve got Love and you’ve got Science, then who needs GOD?
But where did Love come from?