13 Films That Tried (and Failed) to Become the Next Interstellar
These films do make a very entertaining watch – it's just they all kind of lack something that made "Interstellar" a cinematic masterpiece, and, well, it's not the Nolan's budget.
1. The Space Between Us (2017)
Gardner Elliot, the first human born on Mars, is a result of an astronaut's unexpected pregnancy during a mission. Living his entire life on the Red Planet, Gardner's only connection to Earth is his online friendship with Tulsa, a teenager living in Colorado. When he finally gets the chance to visit Earth, it's not the warm welcome he'd imagined. His body, adapted to Mars' environment, struggles with Earth's gravity and atmosphere. The film follows Gardner's race against time, exploring Earth, experiencing its wonders, and seeking out Tulsa while his health deteriorates.
2. Passengers (2016)
Imagine waking up 90 years too early on a 120-year journey to a distant colony planet. That's the nightmare Jim Preston (Chris Pratt ) faces in "Passengers" after a malfunction in his hibernation pod. Alone on the luxurious starship Avalon, Jim eventually wakes up Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence ), and they fall for each other amidst the silent stars. But as the ship's malfunctions increase, they uncover a dire secret that threatens all 5,000 sleeping passengers on board.
3. Life (2017)
"Life" throws us into the cold, silent realm of space where a team of astronauts aboard the International Space Station discovers the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. Excitement turns to horror as the organism, named Calvin, grows rapidly and becomes hostile. One by one, crew members face terrifying encounters with Calvin, leading to a life-and-death game of cat and mouse in the confined quarters of the space station.
4. The Wandering Earth (2019)
In this Chinese sci-fi epic, Earth is being moved out of its orbit to escape an expanding sun. Gigantic thrusters push the planet towards a new star system, but the journey is treacherous. When Jupiter's gravitational pull threatens to crash Earth, Liu Qi, his sister, and a group of astronauts must restart the planet's engines to escape destruction. Despite its visual spectacle and ambitious plot, "The Wandering Earth" struggled to resonate globally, perhaps due to its heavy reliance on CGI and a plot that felt too grandiose.
5. High Life (2018)
A group of convicts is sent on a mission towards a black hole to find an alternate energy source, under the guise of having their sentences pardoned. The ship's doctor (Juliette Binoche) has her sinister plans, conducting experiments on the crew. The film, starring Robert Pattinson, delves into the psychological and physical horrors of space travel but doesn't achieve the narrative and visual brilliance of "Interstellar" – not by a long shot, sadly.
6. Gravity (2013)
In "Gravity," we're thrown into the terrifying silence of space with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). Disaster strikes when their shuttle is destroyed, leaving them alone in space, tethered to nothing but each other. As they spiral into the dark void, their oxygen depleting and the haunting silence of space enveloping them, they must fight to return to Earth.
7. Oblivion (2013)
Tom Cruise stars as Jack Harper, one of the last remaining men on Earth, in "Oblivion." Earth is nearly uninhabitable, and Jack is part of a mission to extract the planet's remaining resources. He's a drone repairman, and his memory is wiped clean for security purposes. But when he rescues a stranger from a downed spacecraft, his perception of reality unravels. The truth of his existence, the war that ravaged Earth, and the alien invaders all come crashing down.
8. The Martian (2015)
Matt Damon stars as Mark Watney, an astronaut presumed dead and left behind by his crew on Mars in "The Martian." But Watney is alive and must find a way to survive with limited supplies until rescue is possible. He engineers life-sustaining solutions, grows food on the Red Planet, and communicates with NASA, sparking a daring rescue mission.
9. Arrival (2016)
In "Arrival," Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks, a linguist enlisted to communicate with alien visitors who've arrived on Earth. As nations teeter on the brink of global war, Banks and her crew race against time to decipher the aliens' language and intentions. The film's exploration of time, language, and human nature is profound, but it doesn't quite touch the cosmic spectacle and emotional journey that "Interstellar" offered.
10. The Midnight Sky (2020)
In a post-apocalyptic tale directed by and starring George Clooney, Earth is left uninhabitable due to a mysterious global catastrophe. Clooney plays Augustine, a lonely scientist in the Arctic, racing to prevent a group of astronauts from returning home to the planet's dangerous conditions. The astronauts, led by Sully (Felicity Jones), grapple with the reality of finding a new home.
11. Stowaway (2021)
A mission to Mars goes awry when the crew discovers an unintended stowaway shortly after takeoff. With resources dwindling, the team, including a ship's commander (Toni Collette) and a medical researcher (Anna Kendrick), faces an impossible decision. The moral and ethical dilemmas intensify as the survival of the stowaway conflicts with the safety of the mission.
12. Space Sweepers (2021)
Set in 2092, Earth has become nearly uninhabitable, and humanity lives in space. The crew of The Victory, a space junk collector ship, discovers a humanoid robot named Dorothy that could change the fate of humanity. The film is packed with action and visual effects but lacks the profound emotional and philosophical depth that characterized "Interstellar."
13. Ad Astra (2019)
Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride, an astronaut who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens human survival. The journey reveals secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. Despite the film's stunning visuals and Pitt's performance, "Ad Astra" was criticized for its slow pace and introspective focus.