Main cast: Matthew McConaughey (Cooper), Anne Hathaway (Amelia Brand), David Gyasi (Romilly), Wes Bentley (Doyle), Jessica Chastain (Adult Murphy), Mackenzie Foy (Young Murph), Casey Affleck (Tom), Timothée Chalamet (Young Tom), John Lithgow (Donald), Topher Grace (Getty), Matt Damon (Dr Mann), and Michael Caine (Professor Brand)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan apparently wanted to encourage everyone to go to space when he co-wrote and directed Interstellar. I can personally think of few people whom I’d like to see get blasted to space and never come back myself. The problem with Mr Nolan, though, is that his movies are starting to mutate into something akin to the self-important navel-gazing output of the likes of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. These movies don’t want to entertain folks as much as they bombard the viewers with the director’s bloated and self-indulgent philosophical yammering. It’s especially impressive that this fellow manages to turn the end of the world into all about his cleverness. This movie is Left Behind with better caliber of cast and credibility shield – people are more likely to think of Christopher Nolan as the smart dude as opposed to Nicholas Cage, so any perceived silliness must be because the average viewer is not smart enough to understand Mr Nolan’s vision.
Anyway, it’s some time in the future, when the heat is soaring and plagues have wiped out all crops other than corns. People are starving all over the place, although this means that in USA, everyone’s a farmer and living just like the good old days, except this time everything is dusty and the school system believes that tales of people landing on the moon are bigger lies than the theory of evolution. Our hero, Cooper, is a former astronaut who is also a talented engineer and a great farmer, although he detests being a farmer because he’d rather do things than grow things. I’m pretty sure he can walk on water too if he puts his mind to it. He is a single father to two kids – Tom, who is okay with everything, and Murph, who spends the whole movie whining that her father doesn’t love her.
Anyway, maybe it’s coincidence, ghosts, or something else, but poltergeist-like events in Murph’s room lead Cooper and her to a secret NASA base that is, coincidentally, run by Cooper’s former boss Professor Brand. Just in time, too, as Professor Brand and his colleagues are working on a top secret plan to bring the remaining folks in Earth to a new planet. You see, the corns will die within the next year, and who knows how long humanity would last after the crops are gone. In the last few decades, the NASA team had sent several astronauts through a worm hole near Saturn to the next galaxy, where each astronaut would land on a planet that may be hospitable to human beings. These astronaut would each send probes back to Earth to let the NASA team know of what they have found.
Now, NASA wants Cooper, the only one who has actual experience flying a space shuttle, to lead a team of scientists to go to the most likely planets to observe things firsthand and then get back to Earth, where Professor Brand would have, hopefully, by then be able to discover a means to power a big spacecraft to take everyone off to that new planet that humans can call their new home.
Murph is furious because her father is leaving her, so she proceeds to throw a huge tantrum. Cooper goes to space, where he realizes that the first and biggest mistake they all have done is to bring Professor Brand’s daughter Amelia with them, because she just screws them up super big time. She basically fucks everything up – the whole mission, everything – because Christopher Nolan cannot create any halfway decent or likable female character ever. Murph continues to sulk and refuses to send her father messages even when she’s a much older person by then, because, you know, she is still mad at her father. When she does speak to her father, it’s to rage at her father and everyone else for leaving her behind, wah wah wah. Meanwhile, Amelia insists that they go to another planet of her choosing because the astronaut that she loves is there and, according to her, love is the most real scientific quantum pancakes best eaten with coffee made from the tears of wounded unicorns and anyone who doesn’t listen to her is an asshole. Understandably, Cooper is like, hell no, they’ll go to the other planet, where everything else that can go wrong will.
Murph continues to wail that life sucks because her daddy doesn’t come back to her and apologize for hurting her feelings, until she discovers that she is the special chosen snowflake who would save humanity by staring very hard at the camera and biting her lips until her father somehow manages to show her how to save the world. Heaven forbid a woman in this movie to actually do something right without being pushed into it by a man, after all.
At the end of the day, everyone discovers that life is a giant literal matrix of shiny bookshelves floating in space, probably fueled by amphetamines and cocaine, and if we wish hard enough, we can talk to people in the past by giving them the finger through the sparkly bookshelves and wanting hard enough for good things to happen. And then Murph dies (hallelujah), and Cooper goes off to rescue Amelia one last time before the credits roll, leaving me to stare at the screen and wonder how the last three hours can stretch like a very special stupid kind of eternity. I end feeling sorry for the bad guy, because at least he’s smart enough to do something for himself, instead just being stupid and selfish and whiny while waiting for Cooper to come clean up their mess, like basically everyone else in this story.
The robots are cool, though, and there are some really lovely visual effects that bring to life the cold beauty and bleak loneliness that is the infinity of space. But it’s hard to appreciate Interstellar when the cast of characters are composed predominantly of whiny, often incomprehensibly dumb people and it’s pretty clear by now how the Nolan men can’t create believable female characters even if their lives depend on doing so.