Sooner or later every major film director wants to go into space.
But, the question you have to ask is just what planet Christopher Nolan, Britain’s heir apparent to James Cameron, is on?
The Dark Knight trilogy director Nolan’s intergalactic blockbuster runs to an Avatar-style 166 minutes.
With ads and trailers you could be sitting there for more than three hours, which means the film’s bookends are so far apart it requires a feat of memory to connect them.
The good news is that this is often a brain-stretching, heart-pounding thriller, powered by a stunning Hans Zimmer organ score that is bombastic enough for an all-in-one coronation, state funeral and Deep Purple concert combined.
Interstellar’s themes are universal and some of the dialogue really resonates too.
With the Earth’s ability to produce enough food rapidly declining, the world needs farmers, not astronauts.
This year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) plays Cooper, a former test pilot and engineer now growing crops.
Once he dreamed of the stars, now he says “we just look down at our place in the dirt – and worry about it”.
Meanwhile, a small group of scientists are trying to salvage the space programme, eventually opening the door to Cooper’s lifetime ambition.
Yes, he can finally go into space – and on what is mankind’s most important journey of all time – but how long will he be gone from his family?
Two other Oscar winners help to provide the surprising answer, including Nolan’s now five-times trusted regular star Michael Caine.
Cooper answers a call from Professor Brand (Caine) to lead a mission to locate a new planet capable of sustaining human life.
“We’re not meant to save the world. We’re meant to leave it,” explains Brand.
His scientist daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway) will be part of Cooper’s four-strong crew which includes pilot Doyle (Wes Bentley) and astrophysicist Romilly (David Gyasi).
Interstellar comes off like Gravity remade somewhere between Mel Gibson’s crop-heavy Signs and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, another sci-fi thriller that was shot in the extraordinary landscape of Iceland.
Cinematography is by Swiss filmmaker Hoyte Van Hoytema (Let The Right One In), now set to shoot the new Bond 24 movie.
The ambitious script, written by Nolan and his brother, Jonathan Nolan, tries hard to explain relativity, quantum physics and more. But with Zimmer’s score and McConaughey’s drawl combining to muffle key parts of the dialogue, Interstellar sometimes feel like a longer journey than Nolan probably intended.