I was planning to only review Empire’s 25 worst films, but I saw this last night and it fitted in so well I decided to toss it in. Christopher Nolan has made some very good films, for example Inception (though those people arguing it should have won the Best Film Oscar when Toy Story 3 was so obviously superior need to stop sniffing the popcorn fumes). He’s also made some very bad ones, including the Dark Knight Rises (when you supposedly have sixty seconds to save Gotham several minutes of goodbyes aren’t tearjerking, they’re stupid) and worked on the story (was there a story?) for Man of Steel. And now we have Interstellar.
(In case it wasn’t obvious from every other review I’ve done this contains spoilers so massive they could create a black hole, so if you don’t want to know what happens, stop reading.)
Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a hick farmer/brilliant engineer who is trying to survive as ‘blight’ destroys the world’s crops, one by one. Ignoring the fact that a monoculture is precisely the worst thing to do in this situation, and that given the multitude of plants humans can eat the idea that a single disease could kill all of them except one is laughably stupid, he and his neighbours continue to soldier on, growing the same thing (it’s America, so it’s corn) year after year. Instead of working out why they suck at agriculture they decide to go into space.
This film should have come with a warning: may not be suitable for scientists. Starting with a plot point that depends on not understanding biology, they then go on to not understand physics. At one point Michael Caine claimed he needed to unite quantum theory and gravity in order to work out how to make a humongous space station take off from earth, and my friend and I (both physicists) collapsed laughing. It’s like saying discovering the Higgs boson would give you the ability to magic a cheeseburger out of thin air. It’s wrong, and if you wanted a cheeseburger, we already know how to do that. Why not say they needed to invent a gravity reverser and have done with it? According to Wikipedia critics praised the film’s scientific accuracy, which just makes me unbearably sad. To those reviewers: there is beauty and glory and terror in science, and it’s wonderful and amazing and should be a part of everyone’s lives, and this film gets everything significant about it wrong.
Anyway, Cooper is recruited by NASA to fly through a wormhole to another planet, along with a black guy, a woman, and a spare guy. The woman, played by Anne Hathaway, only exists to gasp as Cooper flies the spaceship, and do stupid things that endanger the mission. To be fair, the spare guy also does stupid things, getting killed on the first planet they land on. The black guy is killed by Evil Matt Damon (plot twist! He’s evil). Then Cooper and the woman pontificate about love, and the film descends into ever longer conglomerations of scientific phrases that make no sense. If Star Trek writers spent this long describing a dilithium crystal, they’d be fired. If someone tries to persuade you to see this movie, set your engines to warp factor nine, and engage.