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'Interstellar' is an unwieldy mix of the dystopian and utopian

The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway as astronauts who are recruited by NASA to travel through an intergalactic wormhole. The movie's mix of family drama and cosmic esoterica doesn't jell.

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'Interstellar' stars Matthew McConaughey (l.) and Anne Hathaway (r.).

Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Pictures/AP

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In Christopher Nolan’s lumbering sci-fi epic “Interstellar,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain, Earth has become close to unlivable because of a Dust Bowl-like blight. But not to worry: There are planets we can colonize. First, however, we must pass through an intergalactic wormhole. And then there’s that pesky Einsteinian problem: Those who return to Earth have aged far more slowly than the earthlings who stayed behind. 

Nolan, of the “Dark Knight” franchise, is attempting to make his very own “2001,” but the bloom is off that rose. “Interstellar” is an unwieldy mix of the dystopian and utopian. McConaughey plays Cooper, a former engineer and test pilot recruited by NASA to thread the wormhole, leaving behind his precocious and immediately resentful 10-year-old daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy). While Cooper dallies in deep space, Murph, played as an adult by Chastain, grows into an intimidating scientist who still has major daddy issues. (You want to shake her and say, “Get over it!”) Nolan tries to pair the cosmic esoterica with this father-daughter tussle, but the mix doesn’t jell. Visionary movies require a bigger vision. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.)

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