I think I liked Interstellar better when it was The Black Hole. That’s a cheap shot perhaps, and certainly unfair to some of the actors[1]. However it reflects my unhappiness with a film that was reaching for something beyond director Christopher Nolan’s grasp.

I don’t consider Interstellar to be a space movie in the same sense as the others[2] that I’ve reviewed.

Too much of Interstellar felt like Hollywood physics, and bad Hollywood physics at that, driven by Rule of Cool. It seems that I’m looking for space movies to be more grounded in reality, and less in theoretical or Hollywood physics. Another key theme that I’m apparently looking for is humanity against space, rather than humanity against humanity[3].

That said, some of the Time Loop effects, and scripting, were actually quite cool, but the reveals came too late to really save the film. Against that, some of the interpersonal drama in Interstellar didn’t really work for me, and left me cold.

Interstellar is also a very long film, just short of 3 hours. I resisted the temptation to pause and tweet sarcastic comments whilst I was watching it, but it was a close run thing. I don’t know if it was the “are you kidding me” reaction to some of the physics, or a failure to connect with the characters, or a mix, but I was never as deeply invested in Interstellar as I was in The Martian or October Sky. This was particularly an issue as the final stages of the film seemed to drag.

On the bright side, Interstellar looks and sounds great throughout[4]. Most of the leading cast, especially Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway[5] deliver strong performances[6].

Ultimately Interstellar is ambitious but flawed.

There are aspects of Interstellar that I think might improve on a second viewing, particularly the character relationships and the time loop aspects, but I’m not sure I’m willing to sit through it again to find out. Overall, I do think Interstellar is worth seeing once, but probably not more than that.

[1] In particular Jessica Chastain whose performance as Murph Copper is the highlight of the film.

[2] In order of being reviewed: The Right Stuff, Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise, Apollo 13, October Sky, The Martian.

[3] I will need to think further on why I’m looking for that. If I clarify it in my mind I’ll write something on it.

[4] Noting that that Blu-Ray UI for selecting language and subtitles is really bad, and it may take a few attempts to get it right.

[5] Albeit to a lesser extent than the other two.

[6] I don’t rate Michael Caine’s performance as highly as Grant Watson does here though.