I tried. I honestly tried. I never meant to see Interstellar, because I already knew that I would hate it – and, more to the point, I already knew why I would hate it. That said, it’s comparatively lukewarm reception does indicate something of a turning point in Christopher Nolan’s career, and perhaps makes this a good moment to recap my reasoning.
Part of the film’s fundamental awkwardness may be down to the fact that it was originally intended as a Stephen Spielberg movie, broken fragments of which are still visible. John Lithgow is awkwardly cast as a stock Spielberg type – a salt-of-the-earth, blue-collar love-bundle. Good old, grouchy-yet-lovable gramps is supposed to project a homely warmth, serving as a stable, loving core for Murphy’s family, but this is totally at odds with Lithgow’s signature style of effete, uppity aloofness. “It’s unnatural to eat popcorn at a ballgame. I wanna hotdog,” he grouches at one point, sounding for all the world like a man who’s never tasted either.