First “Interstellar” Reviews Are Mixed

“Interstellar” has begun to screen for critics around the world and the first reviews are coming in with some intriguingly divided reactions. Pretty much every review praises the visuals, scope, acting and ambition of the project and urge readers to see it on the biggest screen possible.

Yet, quite a few have some big issues with the script, the manipulative emotion and the themes on display. Here’s a sampling of review quotes so far:

“Illustrates the very best and the very worst of Nolan as a writer-director. On the plus side, there’s a stunning portrayal of how far-reaching space travel might work… and a vision of robots like nothing I’ve ever seen in a movie. Weighing against that, without getting into spoilers, is a third act of staggering wrongheadedness, along with female characters whose intellect takes a back seat to their exploding emotionalism and rage…” – Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

“An emotional powerhouse when it isn’t hokey – and a stunning spectacle when it doesn’t get bogged down in plot logistics – Interstellar is the clearest example yet of filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s desire to wow us with ambitious big-budget projects that balance cutting-edge effects and bold dramatic crescendos. Biting off far more than it can chew, this space-travelling sci-fi extravaganza works best in its sweeping brio, in its willingness (and ability) to pay homage to the jaw-dropping awe of the genre’s grandest entry, 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the film’s majesty is mitigated somewhat by a story that doesn’t seem nearly as visionary…” – Tim Grierson, Screen

“‘Interstellar’ is another one of Christopher Nolan’s more personal mindf–k movies which he’s done so well when not directing adventures of a certain cowled vigilante. While it may not be as immediate as ‘Inception’ and it wears most of its most obvious influences on its sleeve, it’s still very much the type of intelligent spin on a specific genre we’ve come to expect from the filmmaker…” – Ed Douglas, Coming Soon

“‘Interstellar’ plays like a confused mix of daringly unique space-travel footage like you’ve never seen and droningly familiar emotional and plot beats that you’ve seen all too many times before. ‘Interstellar’ winds up fitting into a fairly narrow and deeply tired sub-genre alongside films like ‘Frequency,’ ‘Contact,’ and even ‘Field of Dreams’: Dad Issues from Dimension X. It’s impossible to not admire the technical achievements of ‘Interstellar,’ but as Michael Bay and so much more modern moviegoing has proved, rapturous visuals can’t make up for a ruptured script…” – James Rocchi, The Playlist

“Enough of Interstellar is thoughtful, engaging, and visually dynamic that it feels almost petty to acknowledge that the picture doesn’t quite hold together as a movie. It is a well-acted film of ambition and intelligence, albeit one that falls short in overall visceral and overall emotional impact. It is a film about interstellar travel that is ironically at its strongest when it remains Earthbound…” – Scott Mendelson, Forbes

“Christopher Nolan is a profoundly talented artist and he is trying really hard to make a deeply profound movie here. He hired excellent actors who give excellent performances. And not just the much-promoted thee leads. The supporting cast and many of the somewhat surprising small roles are terrific. Much of the film is strikingly beautiful. And there is a lot of really good stuff in the film. However… The dialogue – never a Nolan strength – is downright terrible through two acts. I mean, off-off-off-broadway play kinda stuff. Painful, no matter how beautifully delivered. And it repeats the same ideas over and over and over again, as though we in the audience were too stupid to understand a science fiction movie…” – David Poland, Movie City News

“‘Interstellar’ makes its far-reaching concept utterly believable, right down to an outrageous climax that stretches across time and space with bursts of psychedelic imagery that still winds up making sense. In its final scenes, ‘Interstellar’ struggles to bring every piece in play to a tidy conclusion, but it’s comforting to watch Nolan give it a shot…” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Nolan’s aesthetically beautiful, large-scale sci-fi drama is admirable in its ideas and style, but lacking in its storytelling and execution… The film is high-minded, but ultimately taken down by a mix of both obvious and overly-confusing plot maneuverings. Big mysteries introduced at the start are solvable instantaneously, and far too often, big questions aren’t asked until it’s convenient for the plot. While script elements loosely hold the film together, it doesn’t undercut Nolan’s gift for spectacle, and there are many breathtaking sequences that are honestly set up in the narrative and are visually magnificent. 2.5/5…” – Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend