‘Interstellar’: Ambitious, yes; but is it entertaining?

Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar across the board, is ambitious. While most reviews salute the grandeur of the director’s vision, you’ll have a few like me who, at the risk of sounding dim, would go, “What was that really all about?”

There’s so much science in there: musings on wormholes, black holes, the space-time continuum, dimensions beyond the third. Acclaimed theoretical physicist former California Institute of Technology professor, Kip Thorne is on board to make sure the science of space exploration is respected.

Fair enough. But (spoiler alert) if mankind is slowly dying because of “blight” and the loss of crops, I find it hard to grasp in the age of the much-maligned giant food conglomerate, Monsanto. The astrophysics may be palatable for some but the science behind the dying food supply and why we couldn’t solve it felt vague at best.

The film runs at two hours and 49 minutes. It takes a good hour of establishing Matthew Ma-conaughey’s character “Coop,” his relationship with his son Tom, daughter Murph and father Donald (John Lithgow). The barren dusty wasteland of his home is painted for the viewers as well and Nolan takes his sweet time doing so. So there is a good long wait before Coop actually lifts off goes “interstellar.”

Visually it gets very rewarding—there’s a view of Saturn, a warping wormhole a black hole experience, a vast, formidable ocean on another planet. But for all the fascinating visuals and for all the emotional build up at the start, a big part of me felt empty.

What was this all for? What is it a reflection on? Did I miss something because I cannot answer that?

Interstellar has shades of Armageddon (man on a mission far away to save the earth), Gravity, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Prometheus and Contact. But it is uniquely Nolan.

I can’t truly say I was entertained. I actually could have possibly benefited more from watching both the old and new editions of “Cosmos.” I can see people loving this film for being brave but it just didn’t marvel the way I had hoped.

Nevertheless, if only to witness Nolan’s ambition, to engage in a discussion of film, it could be worth your (close to) three hours. It is a completely different animal from Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.

Interstellar is available in digital, 35mm, 70mm, IMAX, 70mm IMAX and 4DX formats.


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  1. To asnwer the question “what is it all for” I think Nolan was able to go beyond all the space science psychobable and discuss human aspects of love, that it is something that we may not fully comprehend but can be the answer we are looking for. The “blight” Nolan is trying to depict is more than just loss of food supply, its Earth in itself, deteriorating–and I think the answer you must be looking for is that man (or some alien force) will find ways to survive, save humanity, and preserve the continuous existence and evolution of the human species when Earth is on the brink of death and will turn to ashes. I thought the character of Coop was well-established, you didn’t even see him working on the field. He even had that conversation with the school, the baseball field where there was a dust storm which wad congruent to the ending where he wakes up and sees children playing baseball. I myself had the question “what was that all about?” But it sparket curiosity more than wanting to be entertained. That relationship between time and space, and how gravity plays a part, how our reality can be different in another dimension, in another galaxy, that the future is connected with the present and the past seems like codes that tell us of our future. Obviously, my close to three hours was worth it :)

  2. Underwhelmed are we? If we expect to be entertained in a popcorn way, go and see Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m sure you’d be tapping your heals to the 80s music soon enough. Kip Thorne should have warned you on what to expect with Interstellar.