Interstellar has been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so let’s get one thing out of the way: I know 2001. I love 2001. And Interstellar is no 2001, any more than Dan Quayle is Jack Kennedy. Nor even is it Gravity, and reaching under the sea nor is it The Abyss.
I mostly agree with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, except for the part about expectations from Nolan, which I’ll get to in a moment:
Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.
Critics are sharply divided over this movie. Some are calling it a must-see masterpiece, which it certainly is not, while others have panned it. Joe Morgenstern for the WSJ:
Christopher Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness.
That had me laughing! I’m in the middle. Lots of holes share space with entertaining, well acted sequences and moments of true wonder to fill this overlong movie. But there’s a lack of clear, penetrating vision here, and we can blame only one person.
Christopher Nolan does not have the ability to construct a cohesive narrative. I thought Memento completely implausible; Insomnia let the raw power of its concept and acting talent slip from its grasp; I remember little about Inception other than not liking it. And when it comes to Batman, although I appreciate the darker, more authentic shading of the Dark Knight tales, I’ll take Tim Burton over Christopher Nolan any day of the week.
After all that you might think I’m saying thumbs down to Interstellar. But the good parts outweigh the bad, if barely; so I give it a marginal recommendation. To all the normal caveats add a theater with a very good sound system, good enough to shake the walls and your seat during those extra-loud moments. 6/10
ALTERNATIVES: If you’re in the mood for some truly outstanding science fiction, check out my post Sci-Fi Do or Die.