by Steve Lancaster 3/26/17
Suppose that G-d, or if you prefer nature/universe, has decided that mankind had spent more time on this planet than necessary and it was time for us to depart. Would we get a 15 day pay or quit notice nailed, where, to the doors of the Vatican? Or something subtler, like a blight that slowly destroys every food crop?
After a world war that kills billions, the survivors find themselves with a stark choice. Stay on earth and slowly die, or find a way to leave earth for a newer and hopefully better planet. Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, is not space opera like Star Wars, nor is it utopian like Star Trek. It is science fiction with a plausible story, characters that have motives, ideals and strive for goals, make mistakes and show their faults.
Interstellar, is directed by Christopher Nolan who also wrote much of the script. Unlike the Batman trilogy this movie is not as dark and brooding even if the plot centers on the life or death of humanity. Once again, we have a movie in which NASA plays a role, but unlike The Martian, it is not a two-hour commercial but simply a plot fixture.
Cooper, (McConaughey) is a pilot who worked for NASA before the war and now is a farmer. Living with his father-in-law and two children, growing the only crop not killed by blight, corn. His daughter Murphy, played with capability by Mackenzie Foy, believes her room is haunted. Books keep jumping off the shelves. She thinks someone, or something is attempting to communicate with her. After a dust storm a message is laid out in binary on the floor of her room and Cooper decodes it as earth coordinates, drives there with Murphy and finds NASA alive, well and planning nothing less than the survival of humanity.
Professor Brand, (Michael Caine) is the director of NASA and is searching for the solution to use gravity as propulsion to lift off earth a life raft of humanity. He needs Cooper to pilot a spacecraft to Saturn and through a wormhole into another galaxy, find a habitable planet and get back to earth by the time Brand has solved gravity. That is plan A, plan B assumes Brand never solves the math and Cooper’s spacecraft is equipped with enough frozen embryos to begin populating another planet.
Anne Hathaway plays Professor Brand’s daughter. She is in love with one of the explorers who went through the wormhole earlier. Love is one of the themes running through the movie. Cooper’s love for his family, Professor’s Brand’s love of humanity, Murphy’s love of her father all play a role in the subtext of the movie.
The movie deals with, black holes, gravity as a force, the impact of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, and time travel. Enough science for anyone not gifted with a physics education. But more than that it is a movie about people who are challenged by extraordinary events, and overcoming those challenges.
Interstellar, has in supporting roles, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and Matt Damon. While watching you will get some links to Kubrick’s 2001, A space Odyssey, and two of the stars are not human, Tars, and Case are robots, originally programed for war but repurposed to space travel. A lot is left out of this review, but the intent is to persuade you to watch an excellent science fiction movie not to give up the entire plot.