Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Some Thoughts on Interstellar

While I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Nolan's Interstellar, sometimes good and even great films let you down because they're not the film you wanted or needed.

When I first heard that Nolan was working on a space film, its evocative title had me thinking that this would be a story of humanity building its first starship. I imagined a story about a huge human effort, something along the lines of the Apollo program, but on a much greater scale. I imagined a story of hundreds of thousands - millions - of people from across the world designing, building and launching Earth's first voyage to the stars. I imagined a story sprawling and vast and inspirational, a vision of how the species could work together to achieve true greatness in the spirit of peace, innovation and cooperation. I imagined a trip to Alpha Centauri to see what's there.

Instead, Nolan presented a story in which faster-than-light travel is a fait accompli, a gift from an outside agency, a wormhole tossed as a rescue line. And while that story was worth telling and exciting and enjoyable in its own right, it wasn't the story I expected or desired.

Of course, filmmakers are under no obligation to tell any stories but the ones they've chosen, and Interstellar touched on some important issues with a very SF-nal sense of wonder and social responsibility. And the robots were amazing - as I told Pete and Mike after we saw the film, I could happily watch spin-off movies about these clever creations.

I suppose the interstellar movie I was expecting is too optimistic and starry-eyed for this jaded age of austerity and paranoia. On the other hand, those are just the sort of stories our troubled civilization needs. 

1 comment:

Jeff Shyluk said...

I know you've seen "Contact", and it even has Matthew McConaughey, so that fits well within six degrees of separation. Contact also seems to me exactly the film you describe.

I've never read the book, though, and I wonder if it holds up today?