Interstellar: Boldly Going Where… Wait, I Guess Someone Already Did

My opinions about Interstellar are many and complicated, ranging all the way from “eh” to “um”. I saw it. It was a movie. I don’t have any intentions of seeing it again. At this point, that’s the beginning and the end of it.

Fortunately, Honest Trailers has a little bit more…

(Also, SPOILERS!)

No, they didn’t steal it from Event Horizon, guys, they stole it from A Wrinkle in Time (and other stuff since). What, did you like skip the 20th century ENTIRELY?

Interstellar was Nolan’s homage to 2001, with an ending that made marginally more sense than Kubrick’s. (The novel 2001, OTOH, makes perfect sense.) The problem is, the story of Interstellar was just not as gripping as 2001, end of the world or no.

The threat of an AI that’s slowly going insane (and who runs your oxygen and other vital systems) is tangible, and as presented, terrifying. In contrast, Interstellar was a cosmic travelogue, more episodic than 2001, and so less intense.

Of the two, 2001 exploits its premise the best, acid trip kaleidoscope ending and all.

(What do you know, I guess I had a real opinion about Interstellar after all. Huh.)

8 thoughts on “Interstellar: Boldly Going Where… Wait, I Guess Someone Already Did”

  1. Bah. Piffle and nonsense, sir. “Interstellar” was a masterpiece. The plot was very clear and logical, and the ending was brilliant. The scenes on the ice planet with Matt Damon were absolutely incredible.

  2. Interstellar was promoted as a pro-science pro-technology pro-exploration movie to me.

    As a science fiction fan, I’m sort of starving for that sort of thing. Whatever happened to the attitude and spirit inspiring all of those Chesley Bonestell paintings?

    Anyway, it wasn’t the movie I was expecting. :( The *main character* is pro exploration, pro discovery. You can’t really say the same for the setting which is pretty much inimically hostile to man. We already have a universe inimically hostile to man to deal with in real life. We engineers are working on that, it would be nice if *every single piece of modern pop culture* didn’t mock our efforts as either evil or futile.

    (And that’s before we get into the things that make no damn sense: If their AI is that good, why are they sending people on one way trips to these target planets before they’ve been surveyed? Why land at all before they’ve been surveyed? Why pick the planets deepest in the gravity well next to a supermassive black-hole to investigate first if it has such horrendous time dilation? Etc. Why is building space habitats easier than building greehouses on Earth to keep the crop blight off of your food supply?)

  3. Nevermind on that last bit. Remembering: they figured out some sort of antigravity towards the end of the movie. Even so, if you’re going to build fully environmentally closed habitats, sans transport costs, it pretty much doesn’t matter *where* they are built.

  4. “Interstellar was promoted as a pro-science pro-technology pro-exploration movie to me.”

    Well, you can hardly blame Nolan for the way marketing promoted the movie. But really, you didn’t think it was pro- those things? The astronauts made the greatest sacrifice one could make for the purpose of saving the planet, with the coolest robot that’s been in a film for for a long time. Not only that the film showed the evolution of a female scientist (a rare breed) who grew up with a father who promoted her fascination with nature, and despite being left by him (for the best of reasons) she went on, and with her brains saved the human race, her father and had her own family to boot. For a big budget movie, this is Top Gun of science films. Yes, the physics make about as much sense as that in Top Gun, but for a positive depiction of science and scientist, this is as good as it gets. We’re worlds away from the scientists in Resident Evil or Deep Blue Sea.

  5. Well, you’re right – at least in this movie the scientists aren’t an actual force for evil. I may be interpreting it uncharitably.

    The way it read to me was: “The universe is too big, the distances/times are too great, the environment is too inhospitable. You can fling yourself out there in something you call your ‘ship’ hoping to get somewhere and build something, but who are you kidding?: The universe is going to grind you down, the suicidal nature of it will drive you insane, and ultimately kill you. There’s nothing out there for you, the Stars are Not For Man, etc. Oh, but we’ll throw a Deus ex Machina in at the end to give you your happy ending anyway.”

    But that’s probably a little too dark an interpretation. The astronaut’s daughter (sorry, I forgot just about everyone’s name in this movie) did eventually become a gravity expert and figure something out that saved mankind.

  6. The way it read to me was: “The universe is too big, the distances/times are too great, the environment is too inhospitable. You can fling yourself out there in something you call your ‘ship’ hoping to get somewhere and build something, but who are you kidding?: The universe is going to grind you down, the suicidal nature of it will drive you insane, and ultimately kill you. There’s nothing out there for you, the Stars are Not For Man, etc. Oh, but we’ll throw a Deus ex Machina in at the end to give you your happy ending anyway.”

    So, in other words, you basically looked at the movie literally the polar opposite of how I looked at it.

    People misuse Deus ex Machina all the time. Solving the problem through the black hole was not a Deus Ex Machina. Consider:

    . We knew going into the black hole was the only possible solution to the problem beforehand

    . We knew that something odd was going on with the ghost

    . We knew that people, perhaps aliens (but as it turned out, future man), were sending us messages from the future

    . We didn’t know what the inside of the black hole was like, leaving many possibilities open.

    The ending where he sent through the message was not a Deus Ex Machina.

    That doesn’t mean the pieces were WELL laid out, but they were all there. What you’re really complaining about is that the set up was sloppy, but it’s not a Deus Ex Machina.

    Nor was his survival, by the way. Considering we have aliens with ultra-advanced technology from the far future it seems to me a perfectly logical extrapolation that they could spit you out of the black hole alive.

    As for why they didn’t send AI first, I have two points:

    1) In a movie EVERY movie needs to take SOME license. If we need to accept this for the plot to move forward it’s a small thing

    2) It seems to me that it would be extremely important to get humans to test out the planets as well. In fact, the astronauts WERE broadcasting that the planets were habitable (which is what the robots would have done anyway). But the broadcasts ended up misleading. Given that, it seems important to have humans on the planet to verify. That they died is pretty much unpreventable error.

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