A few weeks late to the game, I got to see Interstellar the other night and despite high hopes, I found it wanting. The hodgepodge of science, pseudo-science and fudged nonsense needled at me. But, I could have ignored these if the Interstellar offered something I wanted in return. But, whatever else its problems,  Interstellar failed to provide a sense of wonder and that is all I wanted.

Spoilers follow:

For a movie that laments the loss of an adventurous spirit, and which promises to take us to another galaxy and explore, Interstellar paints a relentlessly grim, insular, narcissistic universe with no one but ourselves to see, or blame.

Each planet we visit, beginning with the dust bowl  Earth, is more barren and foreboding than the last. There is nothing to see beyond Christopher Nolan’s weird obsession with upending spaces, which he does with a giant wave that curves the sea’s topography into a monstrous wall, frozen clouds which put the sky above and below us, and eventually a five dimensional space which fill the perceivable universe with bookcases on every side.

The message, intended or otherwise, seems to be that we are trapped, hemmed in on all sides by the brutal starkness of nature, science, and human heart.

I could accept this depressing vision in a film which ruminated with more success on human relationships, or which stood behind its point of view, but Interstellar sells us a promise of adventure and then relies on an emotionally manipulative plot. Father (a widower, of course) and daughter are separated and ultimately reunited. That  their actions also happen to save all of mankind rests on the border of incidental.

What did I expect? A more hopeful vision of the universe, if not ourselves. But these are the days when we are beset by terrors from other humans and, sadly, there appears to be little hope of seeing anything beyond.



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