The tagline for “Alien” (1979) was, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Good thing. That means they can’t hear you yawn, either. OMG! What a soul-killing exercise. Talk about lost in space. Compared to “Interstellar,” the 2013 intergalactic bore-fest “Gravity” looks like a Super Bowl halftime show and Kubrick’s turgid “2001” is the opening half-hour of “Saving Private Ryan.
If you survive the mumbo jumbo about wormholes, the space-time continuum, black holes, gravity crossing through time and the construction of a fifth-dimensional infinity within the Earth’s third dimension, you’ll still have to cope with the physics of a blackboard-filling binary formula rendered in Morse Code and transmitted to a wristwatch.
“Interstellar” is about the end of Earth. Two and a half hours into this tedious ordeal you’ll be rooting for the end to hurry up and get here.
The plot concerns astronauts hunting up a new world for the human race to inhabit. It seems that man’s shameful stewardship of the planet has killed everything and we need a new home in another ZIP code. In fact, in another galaxy. Noble widower/Iowa corn farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and NASA’s Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) are two such astronauts. They discuss a strategy for slipping through one universe and into another speaking a dialect of techno-babble that will have you sobbing for subtitles.
Somewhere among the robots, special effects and gravity-free flotations there’s a smaller and much more interesting story about a good dad whose young daughter, Murph (played in stages by McKenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and Ellen Burstyn), is really mad at him. She’s inconsolably angry at Cooper for leaving her in order to find a livable planet for the rest of the human race. Their intuitive communication in the final scenes is exceptionally compelling. But, unfortunately, by this time you have already taken poison or leapt off the roof to end your misery.
The very fine cast includes Matt Damon, Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Topher Grace and Casey Affleck. Just about all the acting is very good and McConaughey gives it everything he’s got — which is a lot.
But unless you’re channeling your inner astrophysicist, you’ll struggle with the concepts. The only one that rang reasonable for us was right at the end when Cooper learns that all his zipping between and among dimensions has played havoc with his Earth-years age. By movie’s end he’s 124 years old. We feel your pain, Coop. By the closing credits we felt like 125.