"Our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us."
That's the guiding light throughout "Interstellar," Christopher Nolan's ninth feature film, in theaters now. It tells the story of mankind's greatest struggle for survival, requiring a conflicted pilot and family man to navigate scientists across the universe in a bid to find a new home for humanity, with Earth only a handful of years from becoming uninhabitable.
It's a big and ambitious film, one of Nolan's largest yet — and given the filmmaker's catalogue, that's saying something. But is "Interstellar" a hit with everybody? Some critics have rejected Nolan's latest, while others give two thumbs up for the intergalactic ride.
Here's a sample of what reviews have to say about "Interstellar":
"We’re a few decades in the future and Earth is dying; What’s left of society lives a doubtful and dusty agrarian existence. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widower and former astronaut, impatiently fritters his days away on a heartland farm with teenage son Tom (Timothée Chalamet), father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow), and adoring young daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy).
"NASA is down to about 25 people in a desert bunker, and the father is drafted by his old mentor, Prof. Brand (Michael Caine), to go aloft in a rocket for a reconnaissance mission. Some larger intelligence — there’s much discussion of who — has placed a handy wormhole next to Saturn, a trap door for mankind to explore the far-flung corners of space. Three astronauts dispatched a decade ago have sent word they’ve found habitable planets. Cooper, along with Brand’s scientist daughter, Amelia (Anne Hathaway), and her colleagues (Wes Bentley and David Gyasi), has to pick one to be our new home." — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
"With more than an hour of footage shot with IMAX cameras ... and a heavy reliance on practical effects, Interstellar looks amazing, and its otherworldly images have real weight and substance. When the crew heads to a harsh, icy planet, the desolate cold is palpable. Aided by cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, Nolan creates overwhelming, often breathtaking suspense in a number of sequences." — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
"McConaughey is a good sci-fi hero, his stoner-cowboy drawl making even his overexplanatory lines sound flaky, and though Hathaway still has the look of a drama-camp kid eager to prove herself, there’s something dear about her. She has gumption. Foy and Chastain are an excellent tag-team Murph (though Chastain basically recycles her 'Zero Dark Thirty' performance), and Matt Damon pops up on an ice planet to look shifty and bite his lip to keep from breaking into his peerless McConaughey impression." — David Edelstein, Vulture
The Good News
"What sets this film apart from the usual sci-fi drama is the amount of character development, human interaction and pure emotion. Add in the spectacular production work and the intelligence Nolan brings to the film and you have a winner. McConaguhey’s astronaut, Cooper is at the heart of it but there are outstanding performances all around. It might get a little confusing for some but stick with it. You will be richly rewarded." — Pete Hammond, Deadline.com
The Bad News
"Whatever his strengths may be, Nolan lacks the human touch. His movies are numbingly sexless, and by that I don't mean they need sex scenes or nudity — those things are rarely really about sex anyway. But in all of Nolan’s films, human connection is such a noble idea that it’s beyond the grasp of flesh-and-blood people. Nothing in 'Interstellar' is ever ragged or raw or dirty (though there is, admittedly, a lot of dust). Characters gabble on about taking risks, about needing one another, but they never leap toward anything so dangerous as intimacy. 'Rage against the dying of the light!' Nolan urges us, and he himself burns through a great deal of electricity and gas to keep his spectacle glowing for as long as possible. He has so much invested in showing us. He just doesn’t want to get close enough to touch us. Space suits him just fine." — Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice
The Final Word
"It's damn near three hours long. There's that. Also, 'Interstellar' is a space odyssey with no UFOs, no blue-skinned creatures from another planet, no alien bursting from the chest of star Matthew McConaughey. It reveals a hopeful side of filmmaker Christopher Nolan that will piss off 'Dark Knight' doomsayers. And, hey, didn't Alfonso Cuarón just win an Oscar for directing 'Gravity'? How long are audiences expected to get high on rocket fumes?
"Blah, blah, blah. Bitch, bitch, bitch. What the neg-heads are missing about 'Interstellar' is how enthralling it is, how gracefully it blends the cosmic and the intimate, how deftly it explores the infinite in the smallest human details." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Interstellar" is in theaters now.