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6a00d8341bfb1653ef01a511ba63de970c-christopher-nolan-s-interstellar-scientific-vision-makes-revolutionary-movieWhat’s a wormhole anyway? According to Wikipedia it’s a “postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between.” Huh? Maybe it’s easier to think of them as a cosmic shortcut to the past or future. If Bill and Ted could figure these things out—their first “excellent adventure” saw them sucked into a wormhole to assemble historical figures for a high school project—then so should we.

Christopher Nolan uses these theoretical bridges through time as the bridge through his new space opera “Interstellar.”

In the earthbound portion of the story crop blight has led to a food shortage and a worldwide ecological disaster. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), is a pilot-turned-farmer trying to find a way for his family to survive the impending apocalypse. An answer to his problems arrives in the form of Professor Brand and his daughter Amelia (Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway) who believe a new planet with the possibility of supporting life exists on the other side of a wormhole near the planet Saturn. “We’re not meant to save the world,” Brand says. “We’re meant to leave it.”. Cooper, Amelia and a team of astronauts embark on a year-year quest to find the planet and find humanity’s salvation.

“Interstellar” is twice as long as the similarly themed “Gravity,” but only half as enjoyable. It’s larger in scope—this is Christopher “Billion Dollar Baby” Nolan after all—than the Sandra Bullock movie, and more ambitious too, but it’s a strange mix of sci fi and sentimentality that plays up the idea of the power of love. The only thing missing is a Celine Dion over the final credits.

Nolan reaches for the stars with beautifully composed shots and some mind-bending special effects, but the dime store philosophy of the story never achieves lift off.

McConaughey’s been down this road before in “Contact,” and acquits himself well enough, but the interesting actor who anchored “True Detective” gets lost in space for much of the 169-minute-running time.

On the upside “Interstellar” earns points for not being based on a novel or video game. On the downside, it’s not based on good sci fi either.

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