This movie is so boring compared to the classic science fiction movies I grew up with, like THE OMEGA MAN starring Charlton Heston. And yet it's funny, because the opening situation is much the same. It's a post-catastrophe environment, where technology has failed and mankind has gone back to a more primitive, tribal way of living. Only there's this one scientist who still believes in science and thinks he can bring mankind back from the brink with technology and courage. And when the society that's left finds out about his attitude it's big trouble!
Well, that's where the comparison falls apart. In THE OMEGA MAN the last surviving scientist is a bad ass, with an arsenal of weapons, an awesome bachelor pad, a fleet of sharp sports cars, and a cocky, man about town attitude somewhere between Joe Namath and Hugh Hefner. Each day he fights a one man war against hundreds of mad mutants who want him dead!
In INTERSTELLAR the last surviving scientist is a boring shlub who mopes around on a small farm worrying about next year's wheat crop or something. Each day he fights a one man war against a couple of narrow-minded teachers who want him to admit the NASA moon landings were fake.
In THE OMEGA MAN the stakes are high. Neville and his sworn enemy Matthias are playing for keeps. Every night. Gun battles, ambushes, people getting burned at the stake. In INTERSTELLAR the stakes are pitiful. Kids flunking at school, drones crashing in cornfields, the high school principal vaguely hinting that the hero's lifeless son "might be happier as a farmer." Oh no! And as I said, the flaky thing is, both movies basically explore the same conflict between the scientist's need to know and society's need to keep from knowing. But one movie is full of explosive action, and high drama, while the other one is full of cheap sentiment and melodrama.
The contrast between INTERSTELLAR and THE OMEGA MAN reminds me of Mary McCarthy's famous remark about Arthur Miller's DEATH OF A SALESMAN, and in particular the climactic "attention must be paid" speech. Mary McCarthy said that it was "the roar of the old Left theater, reduced to a dull whine."
INTERSTELLAR is the roar of Seventies science fiction reduced to a dull whine.