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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Interstellar movie review: trading worry for wonder

Interstellar green light

Thrilling intellectually and viscerally, full of stirring notions of what humanity is capable of, and full of hope. A wonderfully refreshing sort of SF.
I’m “biast” (pro): love Christopher Nolan’s films; big science fiction geek

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This is big. It’s huge. We don’t make movies like this anymore — we hardly ever did. I’m not talking about big in the sense of budget or even big like epic. We do that plenty: spend the GDP of a small nation to make men in capes fly or monsters stomp or toys sing. I’m talking big when it comes to ideas. Big when it comes to optimism. What passes for science fiction on screens big and small these days is dreary and depressing. Postapocalyptic and apprehensive. We stopped looking out and started looking down, and back, and in. We lost wonder and replaced it with worry.

This is not what I fell in love with science fiction for.

Which is why Interstellar is so thrilling, intellectually and viscerally. It is full of stirring notions of what humanity might be capable of, and follows through with the breathtaking adventure that necessarily follows. Or, well, the adventure that necessarily follows if we chase those possibilities instead of ignoring them. It is full of enormous risk-taking in the quest for something bigger and better for all of us. It is full of hope for humanity. And that is a wonderfully refreshing thing right now.

Interstellar does have looming apocalypse, yes, but that’s merely the impetus for the adventure. In the near future, we are witnessing a slow collapse of nature, a descent into dusty death for all of planet Earth and all her people (and presumably every other living thing, too). And it’s not only nature but human structures and facilities and culture, too, that are stagnating on their way to the end… but even here, a little bit of wonder and excitement can be rustled up by someone with the inclination for it. Our introduction to Cooper (Matthew McConnaughey: The Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyers Club) comes through a chase he leads his kids on to capture a feral surveillance drone — its solar panels and other technological goodies are invaluable salvage — that is free for the taking since any semblance of mission control collapsed a decade back. Coop ain’t happy to have had to give up his dream work as a pilot and engineer to farm dying land to help feed starving millions, but he is thrilled to be able to use his preferred skills where he can… and salvaging that drone is fun.

It’s not just movies that stopped looking up and started looking down, and Interstellar knows this, too. Coop is a lonely would-be adventurer in a world that, like ours, has lost its taste for space exploration. But a few people in a NASA that has been driven underground, literally and figuratively, are maintaining the dream, including mathematician Brand (Michael Caine: Now You See Me, The Dark Knight Rises) and his scientist daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway: Rio 2, Les Misérables). And there’s real urgency to their work, not merely daydreams of space, because they’ve discovered a wormhole out near Saturn that could hold the key to humanity’s salvation: a new planet to call home on the other side. It doesn’t take much for the Brands to convince Coop that a trip through the wormhole to scout for a habitable planet would satisfy both his thirst for adventure and his desire to save his children from the oncoming doom.

That is but the quickest outline of the beginning of a story for which the term epic barely suffices. Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) — writing once again with his brother, Jonathan — could easily have expanded this to a ten-hour miniseries, there’s so much that could have been lingered over here. Yet Interstellar, at nearly three hours, certainly isn’t rushed, either; almost the opposite — this could be a slower-told story from Coop’s obviously slower world than ours today. Nolan takes plenty of time for a sort of deep-space grandeur that was surely inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey: the image of the tiny, tiny ship Coop and his small crew leave Earth in passing in front of the immensity of Saturn brought tears to my eyes with its juxtaposition of the might of nature and the audacity of humanity in the face of it. It isn’t at all unfair to see shades of 2001 in Interstellar, not when it concerns itself with both the most intimate of human emotions and desires — love and survival, loneliness and despair — and the biggest of ideas: the boldness of humans as a species, the future to which we might aspire, the daring it will take to make that future happen.

(This is no art film, though: the other movie I would bet money inspired Interstellar, at least partly, is the 1979 Disney space adventure The Black Hole. That movie blew my mind as a kid, and I bet it did Nolan’s, too.)

This is a film as bold and audacious as the ideas and the adventure it embraces as humanity’s destiny, never dumbing down its science and never pretending that the clash between reason and emotion isn’t something that even brilliant scientists battle in themselves. The most humanist thing about what might be the most humanist SF film in ages is this: it knows that our future is in the hands of all us deeply flawed and deeply conflicted humans, but that there’s still plenty of reason to hope anyway. But we do actually have to try.

See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Interstellar for its representation of girls and women.

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Interstellar (2014)
US/Can release: Nov 05 2014
UK/Ire release: Nov 07 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated MSITETROUAGTTS (the meek shall inherit the Earth; the rest of us are going to the stars)
MPAA: rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language
BBFC: rated 12A (infrequent strong language, moderate threat, violence)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Danielm80

    With all the post-apocalyptic films coming out these days, I’m glad to see a pre-apocalyptic movie. It feels more hopeful than a lot of the movies I’ve seen this year.

    Also, I’ve discovered that if I walk into a newsstand and pick up any magazine or newspaper at random, it will have an article about Interstellar. I think Christopher Nolan is going to save print journalism, singlehandedly.

  • David

    In term of it’s depiction of space, how does this compare to Alfonso Cuaron’s vision in Gravity? I found that previous film to be the most accurate depiction of space ever, with the possible exception of Apollo 13.

    Also, I’m surprised you didn’t put Matthew McConnaughey in the “biast” Con category. You haven’t hated every movie he’s been in but you do tend to not like his performances.

  • AnneMarie Dickey

    OMG I am SOOOO waiting for this one.

  • Not true on McConaughey. I’ve been very impressed with him in his recent films. I am no longer biast against him.

    The space stuff is highly scientifically accurate, as far as I can see. No sound in a vacuum!

  • they consulted THE expert on black holes (the same guy Sagan talked to for creating wormholes in Contact) to create the CGI one they use in the movie… and they even discovered a previously unrealized effect that black holes can produce. http://www.wired.com/2014/10/astrophysics-interstellar-black-hole/

  • okay so we can get the Oscars people to nominate this movie and Snowpiercer for Best Picture to increase the odds of a science-fiction movie winning an Oscar for once? here’s hoping.

  • Anomynous

    May I point out, before you type a review, check your spelling – *bias* not ‘biast’

  • RogerBW

    You might like to check the spelling of the username you couldn’t be bothered to register. Also, follow the link just under “biast” and you’ll see why it’s spelled that way here.

  • Danielm80

    Rice Krispies must drive you completely insane.

  • You’re adorable.

  • Awards season has only just begun, and I have many awards contenders still to see, but I would not be surprised to see this nominated for Best Picture (*Snowpiercer* is less likely). But I would also be equally surprised to see it win, if only because the Academy doesn’t generally know what to make of science fiction.

  • RogerBW

    If I were a betting man I’d agree with you: a nomination to show that the Academy isn’t biased against that science fiction stuff the kids like, and because Nolan’s a name it can live with, but no win because it is thus biased.

  • Bluejay
  • christere

    So is this another film who doesn’t follow through it’s ideas, and instead uses sappy emotionalism to reach as wide audience as possible?.

  • No.

  • Dave

    Thank you for not ruining the storyline of this movie…

  • General Maxwell Smart

    We must build huge big spaceships, armed to the teeth, to seek out alien civilizations and destroy them… before they can do it to us.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    OK, that was cool. At first I assumed it was Thorne playing Hollywood again. But man… I’ve been thinking about Kerr (spinning) black holes for almost 20 years, I don’t think I’ve ever considered how you’d be able to see the accretion disk from behind the thing.

  • Are you under the impression that that’s what this movie is about?

  • General Maxwell Smart

    Yes ma’am, I am. The movie is about the desperate quest to find another planet for humanity before Earth becomes unlivable. Sooner or later, this is exactly what is going to happen: killer asteroid, environmental degradation, deadly pandemics, nuclear war…

    So we will have to seek out habitable, hospitable planets for colonization. What do you think we will do to the lifeforms, intelligent or not, already living there? We will wipe them out, no scruples.

    But the flip side is that somewhere, right now, in the galaxy there are civilizations facing exactly that imperative: colonize or perish. We cannot afford to wait for them to come here. Better to find them and blow them up now, while we can.

  • I SO badly want to see this. My wife, sadly, has no interest. I asked her why, and she simply said that “space” movies don’t interest her. Wow.
    Anyway, I’m thinking of taking my almost 14 year old son to see it. He happens to like space and science, but also gets bored easily. I’m afraid the length of this movie could be daunting for him. Is it genuinely entertaining, or simply thought-provoking? Both?
    I REALLY hate going to movies by myself.

  • MisterAntrobus

    I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson give a lecture in my city recently, and he said he’d been privy to an advance screening of Interstellar. He seemed very enthusiastic, especially about the wormhole travel depiction – so it’s got a legit science thumbs-up. :-) And I’m tickled to see you mention The Black Hole here . . . I loved that movie as a kid, too. Sadly, it hasn’t aged very well, but I remember the sense of awe it gave me as a youngster.

  • Matt

    True.. The article in ‘Wired’ was fantastic. Talks about how Thorne submitted his research to the effects team and was astounded by what they found. Also said he can get atleast 2 scientific papers off the work done on the movie alone.. Stoked to see the movie for sure!

  • Tokyospike

    Robert Heinlein lives!
    And so, yes, that may happen (though it has nothing to do with this movie), but better for all if what we have to trade with the cosmos is an irresistable network of compassion.

  • Danielm80

    Bluejay posted a link to a (somewhat opinionated) article about this movie.


    Here’s a quote from right near the end of the article:

    Art for grown-ups acknowledges the constraints of systems and structures, while preserving some narrow but meaningful field of autonomy for the actors trying to get by within them. It holds these actors to account for the decisions they make. It gently dissipates the wishful thinking that some powerful authority is going to sweep in and solve our problems. It encourages us to be wary of delusion, on the small scale, and demagogy, on the large one. It presumes to tell us that we have an obligation to others, especially the old and the young and the weak. It posits the inevitability of conflict, the incompatibility of desires, and asks for our forbearance and good will in the midst of our frustrations. In sum, it represents the reality principle.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    John Scalzi, is that you?

  • Tonio Kruger

    He doesn’t mention bacon so I guess not.

  • This might be just the sort of movie you need to see.

  • It’s both.

  • I bet Nolan specifically wanted to ensure that Tyson got to see this film and could wax rhapsodic about it. It’s almost the best ad for the film that could be aimed at the geek crowd.

  • General Maxwell Smart

    Thank you, I will take your advice. In the meantime, an article in the journal Nature backs up what I said before.

  • Dr. Rocketscience


  • Danielm80

    I’m not upset that General Smart is a troll. I’m upset that he reminded me of that dreadful movie.

  • Craig

    If you recall… The Lod Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is a sci-fi movie, and it won the Best Picture Oscar, in 2003 or 04. So yeah. This would be the second one, but still, another sci-fi movie to win the Best Picture Oscar. Which would be great!

  • RogerBW

    Obviously, one film that dares to step outside the ordinary world is quiet enough for the next… what? Ten years? Fifty years?
    “Aliens and Gravity.”

  • Lord of the Rings is more fantasy than sci-fi. And the pedigree of LotR being a major literary work put it in the high-art category. I’m talking Sci-Fi like Star Wars and The Matrix and even Gravity and 2001.

  • Is your link meant to be a joke?

  • LOTR is not *remotely* science fiction.

  • LaSargenta

    The only thing that could have made it better was flying monkeys.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If it’s not, tit’s the most epic link copypasta fail OF ALL TIME.

  • James Durand

    Seriously. This film is dumber than “Lucy”. But at least “Lucy” wasn’t as pretentious as Nolan’s film. People must be turning the brains off when they think this is a good, much less great, movie.

  • Why don’t you give us a few examples of how dumb this movie is?


  • 37 Pieces Of Ric Flair

    Not that I pay attention to votes usually, but why is disqus defaulting all comments to 0 suddenly? Is that a new thing?

    Btw, thanks for this Interstellar review. I can’t wait to see this film this weekend. I hope “refreshing” is an apt description. This genre and its fans could use a bit of soul refreshment! :)

  • Not sure what you mean about the comment counts. Everything looks okay to me. May have been a temporary glitch.

  • 1:47 hour video: Is the World about to End? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_8sIq50gsI

    Outside the Traditional Catholic faith there is no salvation, but modern Rome has lost the faith: http://www.vaticancatholic.com


  • Bluejay

    Did he say Nolan’s wormhole traveling was better than HIS wormhole traveling in Cosmos? ;-)

  • Bluejay

    I wonder if Tyson will tweet about it the same way he tweeted about all the mistakes Gravity made, and if he’ll comment more favorably on this one.

  • Bluejay

    I understood that reference.

  • Ooo. Nested references.

  • Kate

    I liked the movie — I even loved some of it. But I was bothered by two things [yes, there are SPOILERS here, but not huge ones]:

    1) There is a difference between a “worm hole” and a “black hole,” right? I’m not a scientist (ha, not even close!), but I felt pretty certain that these two phenomena (as presented in the film) are different. The worm hole was near Saturn, and Cooper’s ship was able to travel through it to the galaxy where the potential planets were located. At the end of the film, Cooper travels through an immense black hole . . . and somehow ends up back near Saturn. How???

    2) The emphasis on “love” as the ultimate answer to our human struggles seemed both maudlin and silly. Anne Hathaway’s speech about love irritated me, as did Michael Caine’s constant quoting of Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle.” And that ending — it just didn’t make sense. [SPOILER WARNING!!!] Finally Cooper is reunited with his daughter (who was his motivation from the start) and what does he do? Does he get to know the generations of his family that only exist because of him? No! He speaks to his daughter for about two minutes, and then gets back in his space ship and zips off to find Hathaway, who’s all alone on a distant planet. Why???

    As I said at the start, I did enjoy this film. And I totally agree that it has thoughtful, provocative things to say about humanity and the world we live in. It’s just that the more I think about it, the more irritated I get about the parts that didn’t work.


    Coop’s motivation was to save his family. Done and done and then some. And we may presume that travel and communication is going to be a regular thing, so it’s not like he’ll be out of touch with his family. Plus: he’s a pilot and explorer. He’s gonna keep doing that.

    As for how Coop gets back home… it’s made clear that the people behind the black hole and wormhole can manipulate dimensions. They got Coop where he needed to be after his task was completed.

  • Kate

    Yes, Coop’s motivation was his family — but to say that “communication is going to be a regular thing,” so he’ll be in touch with his extended family as he’s rocketing off to be with isolated Hathaway just seems silly. He’s been waiting decades to be with his family again, and now we say that after a few minutes with his daughter (and no time at all with the rest of his family), he’s on his way into outer space yet again? No, it doesn’t work. Well, unless it’s a set-up for a sequel . . . oh, but Nolan wouldn’t do that, would he???

    As for the black hole and the worm hole, it’s not good enough to say that “the people behind” them “can manipulate dimensions.” It’s the kind of logic that got the TV series “Lost” in trouble. Yes, “They got Coop where he needed to be after his task was complete.” But the “they” you’re talking about is the writer/director.

    I like this movie. I’m glad I saw it. But let’s be honest about what works and what doesn’t. There’s a lot of good stuff here, but also a lot of stuff that doesn’t fly.

  • Randy Rogers

    Excellent. I was not disappointed. The music was excellent and produced a very powerful effect on the film.

  • There’s no need to be condescending. I *am* being honest. I don’t know why you would presume otherwise.

    But the “they” you’re talking about is the writer/director.

    No, I’m not. Maybe you missed it, but the ability to manipulate physical dimensions is woven into the plot. It’s not just dropped in at the end in an afterthought.

  • Interesting analysis… But, as far as I am concerned, Interstellar can be described as an exquisite product of cinematic art that grapples with the questions of human existence and its apparent insignificance when juxtaposed against the celestial infinity. It has all the ingredients to entertain the casual viewers, and, at the same time, it is capable of making an intelligent viewer think.

    Here’s the link to my complete film analysis:


  • Bluejay

    LOVED this film, and its unabashedly humanist theme; it has the hugeness of vision that I wish Gravity had. And the parallels to 2001 (as well as Contact) are indeed strong and do resonate, although I think Nolan is saying something very different about just WHO exactly is going to intervene in our affairs and save us from ourselves. It’s also refreshing to see a movie like this that DOESN’T use the “untrustworthy AI” trope, which is another way it differs from 2001 and countless others.


    Nolan is saying something very different about just WHO exactly is going to intervene in our affairs and save us from ourselves.

    Exactly. *We* are own own saviors. There isn’t a more humanist message than that one. :-)

  • Tokyospike

    Thanks, MaryAnn. I feel terrible for reviewers who are expected to step out of a single viewing of ‘Interstellar’ and immediately write something coherent and useful. I have been sitting with my reaction for 24 hours now (had ‘Interstellar’-related dreams last night I can’t quite remember), and I still can’t put better words than these to my experience. As with most of Nolan’s non-Dark Knight work, unpacking what the heck he’s actually saying seems to require multiple viewings — and in spite of being exactly his target audience (a father with a daughter, a Nolan fan, a sci-fi film and literature afficianado, a believer in the method of science and the aim of religion, fairly well-read in relativity theory), I suspect it’s going to take a lot longer to come to rest with this film than with any of his others. So . . . does that make it more or less successful? I’m glad it exists, I look forward to seeing it again on the biggest screen available. But I doubt that anything written or said about this film is going to be remotely definitive for years — and that’s probably it’s biggest parallel to ‘2001.’

  • Well, I’ve only seen the film once. I’d like to see it again. Maybe I’ll have more to say then…

  • Tonio Kruger

    I don’t recall Dark Star being that awful a movie though it is definitely not for all types. As a low-budget attempt at social commentary made at a time when sci-fi movies were not supposed to make any attempts at social commentary unless they were either made by Stanley Kubrick or involved Planets full of Apes, it actually seemed pretty interesting though I will be the first to admit that your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

    However, giving the movie’s not-exactly-pro-military viewpoint, its IMDb site does seem like an odd response to General Maxwell Smart’s post.

  • Jonah

    I don’t agree that the film’s focus on love was ‘silly’. Hathaway’s “Brandt” is characterised as someone who appreciates the power of love, and her actions are hereby biased. The same applies for McConaughey’s character; his actions are influenced by love, therefore demonstrating the constant conflict between self preservation (embodied by dr mann) and humanity’s continuity.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    I’ve been waiting for movies like this. It’s not driven by cheap action, violence, or conflict. It was also incredibly meaningful to me how Cooper’s quest in space merges with his role as parent, and even for the betterment of all humanity. I’m in a time of my life where I’m really starting to enjoy so much of what I do as a mother and part of it is that it merges with my own dreams of zipping through the universe observing, or doing something scientifically significant. Not only because I see where I am at as a part of the universe, and who I serve as worthwhile, but because learning to take better care of myself has enabled me to engage more. It is fascinating how all those components relate to one another.

    Oh, and, one more note: the theater was SILENT during this film, except for some laughter during the funny bits. It is a distinctive pleasure to be a part of this kind of movie audience.

  • Rod Ribeiro

    I saw the film twice, and I have to agree with Kate. That ending doesn’t work well.

    All Murph needed was to know that her father hadn’t abandoned her. She knew that when she discovered he was her “ghost”. There was no need for him to come back after that.

    Plus if Cooper needed to go to space in order to manipulate gravity to tell his younger self where NASA was, then he had no choice but going once he saw the dust stuff (or you’d have a time-space paradox). I’m sure someone as smart as Murph would have figured that out.

    And if love is the key etc. why would Cooper rush back to Brand, who never showed any kind of affection for him?


    I think Coop sees that life for *everyone* else has moved on, and that he doesn’t quite fit in anymore (or still!). How little the farmhouse on the ship they’ve set up to commemorate him means to him says a lot. And he’s surrounded by people whom he doesn’t know, even though they’re family. He is motivated by love, yes, but he’s also motivated by a desire to explore. The future that he had wanted for himself had been denied him, but now he can claim that… secure in the knowledge that his family is safe.

  • tugaguyd

    His family was his daughter and son, who were about to die or already died. His grandchildren and great grandchildren are practically strangers to him, with whom he has little emotional attachment. Staying around wouldn’t make up for all the decades he lost. But outside his daughter and son, being an explorer was what he loved the most, and he had some affection for Brand (for all snarking they did share some very intense moments together), so his decision made sense.

  • KF

    Good point. And that also ties into the film’s themes about parents and their children on some level, I think.

  • James Durand

    It’s a month later. But I have to say that 20 years from “Interstellar” will be viewed as the dumbest movie of this generation. And your review of it will exist till the end of man.

    That “Interstellar” is an idiotic exercise in film making is an obvious conclusion. You’re the only one of my favorite modern film reviewers that I respect who actually think this is a great film. But You really missed the boat on this one.

  • You still haven’t given us even a tiny example of what is “dumb” about this movie. Instead of negging me, why don’t you try some critical thought on the film? I mean, if it’s so “obvious,” it should be easy for you.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    It’s refreshing to see McConaughey in a role outside his up-to-now career type. (Have not yet seen Dallas Buyer’s Club.)

  • James Durand

    I’ll tell you what’s dumb about “Interstellar”. In this pile of adolescent heavy-metal-deep pseudo-sci-fi philosophy, the meaning of humanity (or lack thereof) depends on how “cool” something looks onscreen.

  • Danielm80

    It’s clear that you thought the movie was shallow (and don’t like heavy metal). If you want to convince anybody else, though, you should probably quote a line, or describe a scene, that came across as dumb and superficial. Otherwise, you’re asking us to trust your argument on faith, despite the fact that we’ve never met you.

  • the meaning of humanity (or lack thereof) depends on how “cool” something looks onscreen.


  • CB

    When I saw the snippet of Hathaway’s “love is the only thing that spans all dimensions” speech in the trailers, I was really worried that while the movie would feature science and knowledge, ultimately love would turn out to be, in some literal sense, the only power that could save mankind and all the science and knowledge was useless.

    But instead love was put into its proper place — not as the *answer* but as (one possible ) driving force for those seeking the answer. Love is what made McConaughey keep fighting. It wasn’t what won the fight. Hathaway’s speech was purely metaphorical.

    And that’s a “power of love” theme that I can get behind, and so willingly present my heart strings to be tugged. This movie plucked them just right.

  • Constable

    What about this film did you dislike? I want to have a discussion here.

  • Constable

    Not exactly. It brushes shoulders with many cliches while presenting something fresh. It’s worth seeing if you love science fiction.

  • Constable

    -2 months ago-
    oh… what did you think? Were you surprised?

  • Constable

    I just saw this today. If you haven’t seen this wonderful film SPOILERS!!!

    Did anyone else love the design for the robots? They looked so awkward at first, but seeing TARS roll through the water to help Brandt was awesome. I loved the nods to past greats such as “Apollo 13” and “2001.” The docking scenes were so intense. I loved how each planet was different yet familiar to home. I loved this movie. Fan-gush over. I will now clean the dust off of every surface in my office.

  • christere

    No I was not. It was the usual sentimental Hollywood trash, dressed up in science fiction. Well they have to sell tickets I guess. The father-daughter thing was just ridiculous Well that is what American cinema is like, so no surprises there.

  • Constable

    Their relationship? or the deus er, human ex machina that hinged on their connection.

  • LaSargenta

    Finally saw this last night (in a theater, it’s still playing). Loved the physics made visible. Good story. But, something occurred to me: SPOILER…ALTHOUGH ITS BEEN MONTHS NOW…When they figure out how to make Cooper Station, what about the food? Aren’t they going to be carrying the blight with them wherever they go? They couldn’t solve the blight at home.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Colonel Mustard: There’s one thing I still don’t understand.
    Mrs. White: One thing?

    This movie is kind of rife with fridge logic problems.

  • Someone132


    “It is full of stirring notions of what humanity might be capable of, and
    follows through with the breathtaking adventure that necessarily

    More like of what America is capable of; the idea that no other nation would work on preserving humanity and sending people to space is laughable. The film seems to explicitly pander towards the American South with all the loving shots of the corn fields, the strawmen liberal teachers who dare to disbelieve Murica’s achievements for utterly contrived reasons, etc.

    The characterisation is very poor; the Romello is only there to deliver exposition and be a token minority, while the other guy who dies on the water planet really has no character at all and is promptly forgotten after his death. The way neither him nor Romello received any logs back from home was a gigantic missed opporunity and made it truly clear that for Nolans, they’re simply plot devices and not real people. If they don’t care, then why should I give a damn about boring, predictable action/tension scenes, like that ridiculous attempt to outrun the wave? And of course, it’s sad that Donnie Darko (itself far from a great film) understood the paradoxes of time travel more than this one did, as the remainders of plot’s internal logic basically collapsed at the end.

    In all, a very dissapointing film. 4/10

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