Interstellar ★★★

It's ambitious, well crafted, it wrestles with big concepts and it's a good bit of intelligent, 'hard' sci-fi; so why did Interstellar feel like little more than dust in the wind by the end?
Like many a Nolan brothers joint, it seems intermittently impressive but without ever quite connecting emotionally - and this time it really tries yanking hard on the old heartstrings, and, failing to have the desired effect, it ends up as being just clunkily sentimental.

The film does try to lay it on a bit thick, though not always in a bad way. I know that the sound design and the music on this has come in for some criticism, but, apart from Michael Caine's final, crucial line of dialogue being barely audible, I actually enjoyed when Nolan uses Hans Zimmer's score to physically body slam you into Really Feeling the awesomeness of space travel.
And all of the space exploration stuff was well handled and felt tangible and real, too. Occasionally even exhilarating.

The fact that stupid humans threaten to ruin it might be a meta in-joke to tie in with the film's themes. Maybe not, but the characters are easily the weakest aspect of the film, with the ship's obligatory comedy robot (who, notably, looks like a walking, talking 2001 monolith) having the most personality.

Even though I was never as moved by the human drama as it always wanted me to be; I was never bored during the film's epic length. I enjoyed it, and thought it was a really interesting, if bold and bonkers endeavor.
I was, however, a bit puzzled by the folksy Americana imagery it was pushing as the human ideal; maybe that was due to Christopher Nolan's image as a coolly buttoned-down aesthete, and I know about the Chuck Yeager/Right Stuff stuff in the film's mix, but all that pick-up trucks and baseball diamonds and quaint farmhouses amid golden fields of corn all clotted in the throat a bit with the father-daughter mawkishness on top of it.

For all of its fine, far-reaching ideas, there's a conservatism at the heart of Interstellar. It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz, actually: no matter how dazzling the sights you see on your travels are; there's still no place like home.