Interstellar tries so hard to say something profound about humanity’s place in the universe and our ability to overcome our more self-destructive impulses, but some silly plotting and overwrought dialogue pull the movie into the gravity well of mediocrity. The movie is set on a future Earth that is slowly dying. Crops are failing around the world and dust storms regularly plague the countryside. Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, an ex-pilot and farmer who discovers a gravitational anomaly that leads him to a secret NASA project to save humanity. nASA has discovered a wormhole to another galaxy and has already sent several manned missions to assess the region for human habitability. It now wants to send another mission to check on the scientists from the original mission and determine whether colonization is possible. Cooper is asked to join the mission. Because life is all about just showing up.
The movie does explore some truly interesting ideas regarding time dilation, black holes, and artificial intelligence. At times, I felt like I was watching an updated version of 2001 (a movie that I love). But then the story crumbles in the third act, taking the tone of a late-night, pot-fueled bullshit session between philosophy majors. I’m not sure why so many science fiction movies succumb to this kind of New Age faux profundity, but it completely takes me out of the story. My eyeballs are still sore from the rolling. The movie is worth seeing for the spectacle, but I’m still waiting for the true successor to Kubrick’s masterpiece.