Interstellar - rated - TEPID
In space, you really want to scream...

One of the hottest actors around (Matthew McConaughey) stars with the delightful Anne Hathaway and the talented Jessica Chastain in a film directed by Christopher Nolan (wrote and directed Memento & Inception). Sounds good?

Half-right, actually. This is such a schizophrenic film: I liked about half of it. I admired the technical side: the art direction, the depiction of space travel, the robots, and some of the film's ideas. I also liked some of the performances: McConaughey does his best to keep a straight face and to seem noble in fairly ridiculous circumstances. And Anne Hathaway is always luminous and seems to bring a bit of dignity to whatever role she plays. One other positive was the verbal performance by the super-talented Bill Irwin. He really animated that robot, TARS! But there was so much that irritated me about this film, and combining that with its very long run-time, I was really close to walking out at times.

The film tries so hard to be clever, scientifically accurate (or at least plausible) but there are aspects to it that are just risible! When a space mission is designed to check out various planets to see if they are auitable for habitation by what's left of mankind after some kind of apocalypse, you'd think they'd have all sorts of sensors and probes to check out the plnet's atmosphere and surface before the astronauts disembark. But no, they just (literally) put their toes in the water of the first planet, and they are forced to run for their loves when a big wave comes! Ridiculous! But (schizophrenically) the wave is a magbificent creation, and it is genuinely scary! But why do people have to go out to find the "black box" of a previous mission to the planet when they have a robot that's perfectly capable.  That's just dumb.

And why was it that as soon as I saw Matt Damon, I knew he (SPOILER ALERT) would be a villain. Christmas is coming and I've already had my share of ham after seeing his performance. But even worse, why on earth would astronauts have a fist fight? Wouldn't they both be in mortal danger of death if any part of their suit tore or cracked? I did like the cracking of the helmet visor though. Similarly, when the astronauts come back suddenly into the capsule in a violent entrance, and they bounce all over the capsule, why don't they damage anything? Why don't they damage their suits?

Even worse, how is it that Matthew McConaughey's pilot (fabulous though he is) is able to pilot a brand new space ship through a workhole, even though he has been retired for many years, after just a weekend of training? These aren't just finnickity points. If a film wants to maker us believe it is giving us true science, or at least possible science based on proper theory, you need to get the small details right as well as the big picture. The script is very ambitious, and I'm afraid it doesn't get there.

Another problematic thing was the many many references to other famous sci-fi films. Were they homages (the helmet shots with reflections in the visor, and even the space suits themselves were straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, there were many visual references to Gravity, and plenty to Alien and Blade Runner, and even to Silent Running. But I'm uncomfortable, because I'm not sure they were homages. Could they be echoes?

I was willing to cut this film some slack, but I lost patience. After we saw the film, my husband (a space nut) and I went to dinner and enumerated all the errors we had noticed. We went on for a long time. He said he wanted to scream at times. I asked him about the likelihood of using the edge of a wormhole to slingshot yourself off it and accelerate into space (just as you can do with a planet). He just shook his head. Same with flying into a wormhole. Even I know that that would make you a singularity. And that's not good.

But first he asked a question that, having worked through the logic of the film, we could not answer. (SPOILER ALERT) : who built the wormhole?