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In 2010, Christopher Nolan released Inception, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. It is stunningly artful and imaginative, as well as dramatically gripping and emotionally powerful. (See my review here). Then, four years later, Nolan released Interstellar, which is almost as good. It may seem silly not to want to “spoil” a film that has been out for six years, but if you haven’t seen it, I want you to see it. Thus I am going to talk about the basic story and themes while skirting large chunks of the plot.

Interstellar is set sometime late in the late 21st century. Global technological civilization has undergone a collapse. There has been war, famine, and technological regression. And it is only getting worse, because some sort of blight is destroying plant life all over the globe. Those who do not starve will suffocate as the blight destroys the oxygen supply.

But the ultimate end is a closely guarded secret. Official policy in what remains of the United States is that things will get better, but the current generation are caretakers. They need to hold on, produce food, and have children to repopulate the earth. School textbooks teach that the moon landing was a hoax, while NASA works in secret on a way to perpetuate the human species on other planets. Plan A is to save the people on Earth by finding them a new home. Plan B is to send human embryos to a new world.

Nearly fifty years before the events of the film, a wormhole appeared near Saturn giving mankind a path to a new galaxy. NASA managed to locate twelve potentially habitable worlds. Ten years before the film present, they dispatched scientists to those worlds. They called them the Lazarus missions. Most of the scientists were never heard from again. But some promising data came back. Now they need to send a follow-up mission, which will be headed by Joseph Cooper (Matthew McConaughey).

Three planets show the most promise, named for the scientists who were sent to them: Miller, Mann, and Edmunds.

Miller’s planet is near a black hole. It is covered with shallow water, but the gravitational forces create mile high waves that relentlessly sweep its surface. There is no life. Because of its proximity to the black hole, time passes at different rates on the planet in orbit above it. The landing team is gone only three hours, but for the rest of the universe, 23 years have passed. The scientist who remained on the ship has grown old and the families of the landing party have, of course, changed dramatically. The children they left behind have become adults and have had children of their own, while people in their parents’ generation have died. The whole sequence is enormously imaginative and deeply moving.

The next planet was explored by Dr. Mann (Matt Damon), who claimed that it was habitable. We never see the surface of the planet, because Dr. Mann has made his base on a cloud. The planet is surrounded by layers of frozen, solid clouds, which is again highly imaginative and surprising. Mann’s world is not, however, habitable. Dr. Mann has gone mad in his solitude. He sent back false data simply because he wanted people to rescue him. He was willing to risk the future of the whole human race out of sheer selfishness.

Only Edmunds’ planet is left. But the crew does not have the fuel to get there. Much of it had been burned up in the 23 years they orbited Miller’s world. So Cooper takes the ship back to the black hole, hoping to use its gravitational force to sling the ship to Edmunds’ planet. But Cooper has to stay behind. He detaches his small lander and falls into the black hole while the ship speeds its way to Edmunds’ planet. Their encounter with the black hole has taken only a few minutes, but 51 years have passed back on Earth.

After being sucked into the black hole, Cooper is deposited back our solar system, near Saturn. He discovers that in the last half century, humanity has built an armada of vast space ships that will eventually pass through the wormhole to Edmunds’ planet, which will be humanity’s new home.

In an incredibly moving final sequence, Cooper meets Murphy, the ten-year-old daughter he left behind, now an aged woman surrounded by her vast brood of children and grandchildren. As a child, Murphy begged her father to stay and resented him for years after his departure. But she is at peace, because he helped save her and the entire human race. She tells him that he should not stay around and watch his own child die. He needs to go back out there, to Edmunds’ planet, where Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) is waiting in hibernation; he needs to find her, awaken her, and help prepare humanity’s new home.

Interstellar, like all of Nolan’s movies, is a deeply serious work. There are four themes that are especially poignant.

The first is the tension between rootedness and exploration. The world of Interstellar has officially given up on space exploration. They are pledged to be caretakers on a planet that is becoming uninhabitable. Their political and educational system is dedicated to constricting people’s horizons. Caretakers live within their limits. Explorers go beyond and set new limits. Cooper used to be a NASA pilot, but now he is a farmer, and he hates it. He wants to be among the stars, not scraping a living from the dirt. As Interstellar shows, however, on a dying Earth, one can’t be a caretaker unless one is an explorer. To survive, one must aim at more than survival. But, then again, the ultimate goal is a new place to put down roots.

The second theme is the difficulty of saying goodbye, especially when Cooper leaves his children behind on a mission from which he may never return. A great deal of Interstellar’s emotional power derives from the pain of separation, exacerbated by the time differentials. (One of the best traits of James Gray’s Ad Astra was its meditation on what traits of character and beliefs would be necessary to sustain such explorers. See my review here.)

The third important theme is the role of lies in society. The school system teaches that the Moon landing was a hoax, but it funds NASA in secret. The ultimate fate of the Earth is top secret. Amelia Brand’s father, Professor Brand (played by Michael Caine), claims to be working on Plan A, but has concealed the fact that he has failed to solve the “gravity problem” that will allow mankind to leave the Earth en masse. He lied to give people hope. The robots have an honesty setting, because it is understood that perfect honesty dissolves society. This a theme in The Dark Knight Trilogy as well.

ORDER IT NOW

Finally, Interstellar is about racial survival, which is a particularly poignant issue for whites, since we are on the path to extinction. When faced with extinction, the feminist idea that having a career grants higher status than motherhood is quietly forgotten. Plan B presupposes that women will bear enough children to make exponential growth possible. And although Cooper’s daughter Murphy plays a very important role in saving all of humanity, she also has a large family surrounding her at the end of her life. (The adult Murphy is played by Jessica Chastain. The aged Murphy is played by Ellen Burstyn.)

Interstellar is not flawless. For some reason, McConaughey insists on speaking with a twangy, mush-mouthed accent that none of his other family use, so it just seems fake. Time travel and an almost literal deus ex machina also play important roles, which I found annoying. I have no scientific quibbles because this is science fiction, so the jargon only has to sound good. And it does.

But the virtues of this film are immense. The story is gripping, the script brilliant, and the acting is uniformly excellent. This is my favorite McConaughey role. Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Ellen Burstyn are all outstanding. The sets, equipment, and special effects are also quite dazzling.

Special mention is due Hans Zimmer. Frankly, I am not a fan, but this is his best score. To my ears, it sounds like the took the organ pedal from the opening fanfare of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra and turned it into a minimalistic but often emotionally shattering accompaniment.

I’ve said quite a lot about this movie, but I guarantee that if you watch it for the first time, it will still be filled with surprises. In a time of social distancing and immense anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, Interstellar is the best kind of escape: imaginative, enthralling, inspiring, and cathartic.

 
• Category: Arts/Letters • Tags: Hollywood, Movies, Science Fiction 
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  1. Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

    It looks impressive in parts but is utter crap. Nonsensical and pompous. It just might have worked as dry high-concept sci-fi but goes for heart-tugging sentimentality.

    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY has the courage to go the full distance. In Buddhism, reaching Nirvana means to let go of familiar attachments. It is about gaining higher consciousness and leaving everything behind. When Bowman goes through the Stargate, he is made anew. He reaches the next stage of evolution and understanding.

    But in INTERSTELLAR, the guy enters into multi-dimensional hyper-drive and breaks through barriers of time and space… but it all comes down to, “Me and my little girl playing fifth-dimensional patty cake through the book shelves.” The movie wants to shoot past into the unknown and infinite, but it’s all just a circular voyage to soapy sentimentalism.

    In this, it is similar to Tarkovsky’s treatment of SOLARIS. Lem’s novel was about man confronted with the unknowable and coming to accept this mystery of the universe(and the soul). Tarkovsky has the astronaut emotionally and spiritually ‘returning home’ despite his vast separation from Earth. No wonder Lem didn’t like the film. And Tarkovsky himself felt that his thematic treatment of SOLARIS didn’t quite work: Mother Earth in Outer Space.
    Still, the saving grace is Tarkovsky’s work, though misconceived, isn’t soft, sappy, or sentimental. The ending has emotional depth and a sense of spiritual tragedy.
    In contrast, the ending of INTERSTELLAR is pure goo. It’s “Look, my dad sent me a greeting card through the 7th dimension.” It’s sillier than even CONTACT by Zemeckis, the favorite movie of J.F. Gariepy the clown.

    If corn is good, get some in a can. No sense watching this movie again.

    • Replies: @IvyMike
    , @Franz
    , @Dumbo
    , @Pericles
  2. I like a good science fiction film, but as priss factor points out, this thing was awful. It ranks as one of worst, and seemingly longest pieces of shit I’ve ever sat through. My wife and I were laughingly quoting the stupid sentimental schlock filled dialogue for weeks and I even jokingly recommended it to someone just to hear thier reaction. Alas, I couldn’t do it to whomever that was .

  3. MEH 0910 says:

    Half in the Bag: Interstellar

  4. IvyMike says:
    @Priss Factor

    As an old and life long Buddhist I don’t find much of Buddhism in 2001. I believe the wedding scene should point one towards the Kabbalah, it seems a richer source for Clarke and Kubrick. Although considering the evolution of human intelligence is depicted as through the intervention of a more advanced race the Monoliths have some resonance with the little appreciated truth that the true Dharma is transmitted non rationally rather than through words.
    Science fiction from the start has centered around interstellar travel at many times the velocity of light. This is impossible, I much prefer the William Gibson approach to Sci-fi and haven’t seen an interstellar travel type movie since 1977 when I waited in line for the premier of one of the worst movies ever made.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  5. songbird says:

    I liked the robot. Not that I think that robots would be built like that, but it had an interesting look. And it was clever how they brought it to life.

    I felt the same way about BB-8.

  6. I felt that a big chemical rocket taking off Earth vs a little tiny craft landing and taking off a large planet were completely contradictory and ridiculous.

    Especially with Kip Thorne being a scientific consultant.

    • Replies: @Kudzu Bob
  7. @IvyMike

    No, I don’t mean 2001 is Buddhist or inspired by it.

    I mean it has something in common with Buddhism in understanding that the higher or deeper truth exists on a whole new level.

    INTERSTELLAR, in contrast, is about going far far beyond but it only loops back to sentimentality of familiarity.

  8. “INTERSTELLAR, in contrast, is about going far far beyond but it only loops back to sentimentality of familiarity.”

    Fairly certain that was the entire point which you either missed or didn’t care for but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well done and appreciated by others even if not to your particular taste. A great deal of science fiction especially of the ‘Golden Age’ speaks to and about the human condition. Interstellar did this in a fairly clever way even if it took some serious liberties with physics and reality as we understand it to get to that place.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  9. Franz says:
    @Priss Factor

    INTERSTELLAR, the guy enters into multi-dimensional hyper-drive and breaks through barriers of time and space… but it all comes down to, “Me and my little girl playing fifth-dimensional patty cake through the book shelves.”

    Good way to put it.

    It was even more asinine when he finds out the (future) station isn’t named after him but after his daughter, who takes credit for what he risks his life for. It was already established that his daughter is the most repellant character in the history of science fiction… and that includes Princess Liea, not an easy honor to snag.

    Nolan makes slick and gimmicky stuff. Sometimes mistaken for genius. More usually worse than old TV cheapies without the charm of nostalgia.

  10. dimples says:

    I thought the film was basically stupid. Mankind needs to find a new planet, magic wormhole appears! Man goes into black hole, comes out the other side in one piece! Man in wormhole (I think) conveys scientific information to daughter by wiggling watch in another dimension! Why do they need to find a new planet anyway, just fix the blight boxheads!

    However the robots were very classy and saved this typically awful Nolan picture (Dunkirk must be the worst film I have ever seen, a totally self-indulgent wank) from being a total loss.

  11. Dumbo says:
    @Priss Factor

    I agree. Inception was overrated. Ok a first time, but I wouldn’t watch it again. Interstellar was even worse. A mess. Nolan is a director of superhero movies. In fact his best film was Dark Knight, with the Joker which was a great character. And Memento was interesting too. The rest mostly sucks.
    Trevor Lynch is a bad film critic.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  12. RodW says:

    One of the best traits of James Gray’s Ad Astra was its meditation on what traits of character and beliefs would be necessary to sustain such explorers.

    These film reviews are almost more boring and pretentious than the films themselves.

    Ad Nauseam was only interesting in that it hinted that space travel is inherently dangerous in the extreme, even the bits that rely on apes. It calls into question the whole space adventure, but without explicitly doing so (because to do so explicitly would puncture the whole illusion).

    As a thoroughly (((Hollywood))) production, the answer to the ‘meditation’ on what qualities will be necessary to sustain explorers is (((diversity))). Big surprise there.

    This is the last of these ‘meditations’ I bother to read.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  13. @Dumbo

    Trevor Lynch is a bad film critic.

    Critics shouldn’t be judged by their likes/dislikes but power of reasoning and argumentation.

    Too many excellent critics love movies I detest and hate movies I love.

    The critics I read most were Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris, Simon, Dwight MacDonald, and Stanley Kauffmann. There’s a good collection of writings by Vernon Young. Jonathan Rosenbaum is first-rate with certain kinds of movies. Dave Kehr and J Hoberman stood out among their peers. They all strongly disagree with each others, and I’ve been surprised/appalled by their likes and dislikes. But that’s how tastes and perspectives go. And everyone has his own biases, be their personal or ideological. It’s just it goes.

    Now obviously, if a critic writes intelligently but keeps making bad calls — say, rating WEEKEND AT BERNIE’S over CITIZEN KANE — , he becomes suspect. After all, it is possible to write cleverly to push nonsense. Lawyers often spin lies into ‘truths’.
    That said, we should expect critics to have views going against ours. Their main value derives from the quality of reasoning that led to the conclusion.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
    , @Presocratic
  14. @RodW

    Sailer said AD ASTRA is APOCALYSE NOW IN SPACE. He said he didn’t hate it but was unmoved by it. He’s right about the APOCALYPSE comparison but I found it insufferable and interminable. Like ANNIHILATION, it is copycat trash trying to pass itself as Art.

    A movie doesn’t have to be an art film to be good or even great. But film-as-art should be practiced by real artists, not by hacks who lift superficial features of true film artists.

  15. @Apex Predator

    Fairly certain that was the entire point which you either missed or didn’t care for

    Yeah, I didn’t care for it. It’s like someone climbing the highest mountain and then doing a selfie with his smart phone and sending it to his girlfriend.

    • Replies: @Sulu
  16. Kudzu Bob says:
    @siberiancat

    Yeah, that bothered me too. It was clear that that the characters possessed some pretty advanced rocket technology that made Saturn V-type vehicles obsolete. But I still liked the movie quite a bit.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  17. @Priss Factor

    Their main value derives from the quality of reasoning that led to the conclusion.

    Back in the day, there was a reviewer who wrote for my local paper (since vanished) who people seemed to love to hate.  I read all his reviews anyway.  His tastes were radically different from mine, and I would have hated most of the films he liked, BUT… I could tell from his reviews whether or not I would like something.  And that, not congruence of tastes, is the worth of a reviewer.

  18. @Kudzu Bob

    As a lifetime rocket geek, I found the balonium around rockets and physics in general annoying.  First, anything in the seriously time-dilated vicinity of a BH has no stable orbit; it is going to fall in within a fraction of a circle.  Second, getting in to land on it is going to require ΔV figures a goodly fraction of the speed of light; getting out again doubles that.  If you can do that, you can send ships direct to nearby stars within a human lifetime; you don’t need a wormhole created by time-tweaking distant descendants of the human colonists.

    Yes, this eliminates most of the opportunities for drama within a small cast.  That means that the scriptwriter wasn’t smart enough to figure out legit ways to create drama.  In the golden age of SF, many writers were solidly grounded in the physics and took pains to get stuff like time-dilation correct.  Such grounding is conspicuously missing today.

    • Replies: @Kudzu Bob
  19. I’ve watched INTERSTELLAR once, INCEPTION twice and MEMENTO at least thrice, if memory serves, and that reflects my personal enjoyment …

    INTERSTELLAR just left me underwhelmed without leaving much impressions, like ARRIVAL and ANNIHILATION. FX driven blockbuster style and high concepts didn’t work for me.

    On second viewing of INCEPTION I thought it was OK, and I also began strongly to suspect that some ideas were lifted from the works of late amusing Pop philosopher, scammer “anthropologist” Carlos Castaneda, especially the team work of the dream navigators and a “Power Object” thing…. if memory serves some big names were thinking about back in the day filming Castaneda, like Fellini, maybe Jodorowsky too … Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari – A Thousand Plateaus; Capitalism and Schizophrenia, part two tells in a chapter called

    HOW DO YOU MAKE YOURSELF A BODY WITHOUT ORGANS

    In the course of Castaneda’s books, the reader may begin to doubt the existence of the Indian Don Juan, and many other things besides. But that has no importance. So much the better if the books are a syncretism rather than an ethnographical study, and the protocol of an experiment rather than an account of an initiation…. the body without organs has replaced the organism and experimentation has replaced all interpretation, for which it no longer has any use. Flows of intensity, their fluids, their fibers, their continuums and conjunctions of affects, the wind, fine segmentation, microperceptions, have replaced the world of the subject.
    Becomings, becomings-animal, becomings-molecular, have replaced history, individual or general. …and when you become-dog, don’t ask if the dog you are playing with is a dream or a reality, if it is “your goddam mother” or something else entirely.

    MEMENTO benefits from the smaller scale and focus. The experiment didn’t need fantasy or scifi elements.

    One can succesfully combine high concepts and the blockbuster style, for example the original TOTAL RECAL, easily a TOP 5 Arnold, TOP 3 PKD movie, and maybe TOP 4 Verhoeven movie …
    couple of recommendations:

    MANDY starring Nicholas Cage (great performance!) combines trash and Art nicely.

    THE LOCKET, a film noir from 1946 has an avantgardist flashbacks inside flashbacks inside flashbacks, mise en abym (?) structure with a satisfying symmetry and some non-annoying Freudianism Lite …

    • Replies: @botazefa
  20. roo_ster says:

    Lynch largely gets this one right and many commenters have missed the point of the film and most science fiction.

  21. I enjoyed the movie for a lot of reasons – it isn’t perfect, but it is very well done. Quibbling over the physical and technical inaccuracies of a sci-fi movie seems a bit silly to me. As a father of two daughters I found the the underlying theme regarding Jesus Christ’s – sorry, I mean Joe Cooper’s – relationship with his daughter to be very moving from his point of view – the sacrifice, regret, sense of duty and protectiveness and how those things conflict.

    The character of Murph is a significant detraction to the film however. The character herself is as unrealistic as she is unlikable, loathsome in fact. Nolan perpetuates the myth of super genius female science girl, and wraps it up in a callus, frigid, vindictive and cruel (refers to her brother’s dead child as “waiting for your next kid to die” right to his face) harpy. The childhood Murph is mostly just annoying, but the adult Murph’s un-likableness is amplified by the wretched Chastain, who comes off as an insufferable wretch in every performance I’ve ever seen her deliver. The grudge the adult Murph holds against her father even into her thirties is selfish and immature – does she not yet realize what the fuck her father left for? I mean, she’s only working at the NASA facility that knows the truth about the fate of humanity. Get over it your selfish bitch.

    Lastly, the obvious dig that Nolan directs towards the real life but fraudulent “hockey stick” climate alarmist Dr. Michael Mann was also amusing: Placing the character of Dr. Mann (played by climate alarmist Matt Damon) on a frozen planet devoid of any warming, and thus any life at all was well played.

    • Replies: @botazefa
  22. botazefa says:
    @A. Hipster

    Thanks for the MANDY hint. I’d never heard of it. 91% on rotten tomatoes ain’t too shabby. Looking forward to watching it tonight with my wife if I can get her to agree to a Nick Cage movie.

  23. botazefa says:
    @MikeatMikedotMike

    … the wretched Chastain, who comes off as an insufferable wretch in every performance I’ve ever seen her deliver.

    I agreed with you on Chastain till I saw Molly’s Game, which was pretty fun and based on real life events.

  24. Pericles says:

    It certainly had its flaws, like time travel woo and forced weepy sentimentalism. However, I liked how it was shown that the colonization idea wouldn’t work out.

    Hence, I interpreted the ending a bit differently: after visiting a number of hostile, inhospitable worlds, when Cooper comes back through the black hole (just writing that makes me shudder), we find that humanity figured out another way to survive while he was gone — building and living in human-friendly Elysium/O’Neill-style space habitats. Implied in this, I would say, is furthermore that Earth can be regained at some future point rather than abandoned. However, time has passed him by and Cooper elects to instead go back to the failed colonization venture and get the girl. No Adam to her aged Eve.

  25. Pericles says:
    @Priss Factor

    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY has the courage to go the full distance. In Buddhism, reaching Nirvana means to let go of familiar attachments. It is about gaining higher consciousness and leaving everything behind. When Bowman goes through the Stargate, he is made anew. He reaches the next stage of evolution and understanding.

    Ahem, there was no Nirvana, Bowman is even explicitly reborn at the end, as I’m sure you recall. One might instead guess he’s now a vulgar sort of Nietzschean superman. (Clarke’s book 2001 more than hints it.)

    https://archive.org/stream/SpaceOdyssey_819/2001_A_Space_Odyssey_-_Arthur_C_Clarke_djvu.txt

    The whole stargate trip felt more like Lovecraft than Buddhism. Insignificant human who can only watch undescribable cosmic weirdness and perhaps horror. Somewhere towards the end, Bowman is briefly shown as having gone crazy during the trip. It was just too much for him.

    (One might also ask whether it’s Bowman or some clone or construct that returns. Viewing the hotel-sequence right before the end straight indicates there could be a couple of clones.)

  26. Kudzu Bob says:
    @Mr. Rational

    What worked in the pages of Astounding back in 1947 does not necessarily translate to the big screen. Audiences don’t want to hear characters saying, “Well, Dr. Zarkov, it certainly is a good thing that back in the year 2050 we learned how to make antimatter in milligram quantities so that we could use it to fuel single-stage rockets able to make powered landings and then return to the mother ship!” If there were enough rocket geeks out there to make sci-fi movies profitable, that might not be the case, but the Cold Equations of Hollywood are what they are.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  27. @Kudzu Bob

    There’s a huge difference between a ΔV of 5-10 miles/sec and 100,000 miles/sec.

    • Replies: @Kudzu Bob
  28. Kudzu Bob says:
    @Mr. Rational

    And there’s a huge difference between the number of rocket geeks, who are maybe %0,01 of the population, and the number of ticket-buyers needed to make a movie profitable.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  29. @Priss Factor

    Critics shouldn’t be judged by their likes/dislikes but power of reasoning and argumentation.

    And their style. Excellent criticism is an art form, no? H.L. Mencken was an outstanding critic of letters less for his ideas and more because of a prose style that surpassed all others in wit, verve and energy. See H.L. Mencken’s Smart Set Criticism (edited by William Nolte).

    I’ve read some of your own film criticism, and in style and insight and breadth of knowledge it is excellent, even if challenging to read because of its immense scope and free form presentation, and its many digressions and side bars.

  30. @Kudzu Bob

    Look at how many people went to see “The Martian”, with a script that was deliberately written to be true to the actual science and engineering (if slightly speculative, such as the drive system for the ship).  It made plenty of money.

    If there’s some plot element that requires taking ridiculous liberties with physics, the solution is to replace it with some other plot element that doesn’t.

    • Replies: @songbird
  31. Gast says:

    Another inane review by Trevor Lynch aka Greg Johnson.

    I could only watch half an hour of this pretentious nonsense.

    The first twenty minutes were marred by a feminism which was as blatant as you get in most of the commercials these days: Of the two children of our protagonist the girl was talented, especially in mathematics, whereas the son (fun fact: played by the upcoming Paul Atreides) was just a mediocre mind who humbly accepted the fate of being outshone by his sister. And the father did not hide the fact that only the girl was near to his heart. I do not doubt that these cases exist somewhere. But I suppose they are quite rare and I don’t want to see them in a blockbuster which is supposed to entertain me.

    Then the audience was expected to believe a space program could have hidden out between the corn fields in an luddite country. And, you guessed it, this space program was headed by a negro.

    I decided to cut my losses there (thank God, I only watched a stream on the Internet and I had not payed for this which I never do btw. Don’t support evil by paying for Hollywood products). The further prospect of watching a love story with the most unsexy Hollywood star Anne Hathaway played a role in my decision too.

    Honestly, the love which Johnson has for the mediocre flicks of Christopher Nolan is baffling. It was embarrassing to watch at his site “Counter Currents” how he treated the childish (by the nature of the genre) Batman-movies of this individual as gifts from God which would play a major role in the upcoming liberation of White people from the shackles of Modernity.

    So the interesting question for me is: Is Johnson just a joker who mocks the gullibility of his readers when they are presented with his nonsense (I remember he had some good words for the uplifting message of Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” at the now defunct The Occidental Quarterly site) or has he really such strange aesthetic sensibilities and has ended up in the movement only by accident when he would be better served as a snobbish wannabe-Brit film critic at a Jewish owned newspaper?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  32. KarlS says:

    Silliness and bad science.

    Matthew McConaughey plays Cooper, a former astronaut turned farmer on a dying earth. He mumbles a lot and often goes slack-jawed and breathes through his mouth.

    He finds a gigantic, secret underground NASA research center/launch silo similar to something you see in a James Bond movie. Since NASA had been defunded decades before, how they managed to find the hundreds of billions of dollars to build this and launch interstellar space ships is anybody’s guess.

    Batman’s butler is trying to solve the mystery of gravity and has a lot of formulas written on a chalkboard.

    They show Cooper a picture of something near Saturn and he asks: “is that a wormhole”. I couldn’t stop laughing – how would he know what a wormhole looks like? They are possible in theory but have never been seen or detected anywhere in the observable universe. Some think they might be possible only on the atomic or sub-atomic level.

    They recruit Cooper (the practical one) to pilot a space ship he had never seen or piloted before through the wormhole. The rest of the crew is a politically correct assortment of egghead scientists. They are going to try to find some people who had gone before.

    They land on a planet orbiting so close to a gigantic black that there is extreme relativistic time dilation. Since black holes can’t emit light, how there is light on this planet is a mystery. Why the planet hasn’t been torn apart because of the tidal effects of the extreme gravity is also a mystery.

    They make some impossible visits to one or two (I can’t remember) other orbiting planets. Of course Cooper is piloting the ship manually.

    Somewhere along the line, the female egghead scientist decides that “love is a ‘force’ that transcends dimensions just like time does.” Gag me with a spoon.

    For some reason, information can only travel one way through the wormhole. They can receive it but they can’t send any back – something like Netflix streaming.

    Why they haven’t been killed by the high-energy radiation emitted by things swirling into the black hole is never explained.

    They then decide to pass through the event horizon and enter the black hole. Of course, the tidal forces from the unbelievably strong gravity would stretch and tear apart any ship or person that tried to do this. The remains would be lost forever inside the black hole.

    I could go on and on.

    Even without CGI, Kubrick’s 2001 was visually superior to Interstellar – and the music was a heck of a lot better, too.
    Rate this post positively

  33. Though not the best article for this — obviously.

    Goodbye Brian Dennehey, you will be missed . . .

    thanks for great performances.

  34. @KarlS

    When the Apollo crews could go unharmed through the Van Allen radiation belts in fact (?), what’s the problem with going through worm holes and black holes in fiction?

    • LOL: Justvisiting
  35. Matthew McConaughey is so smug, disingenuous and annoying in this film, he ruins it.

  36. songbird says:
    @Mr. Rational

    “The Martian”, with a script that was deliberately written to be true to the actual science and engineering

    Perchlorates would have killed Mark Watney. There were other things that probably would not have worked out, but I do think the author deserves credit for trying.

    If there’s some plot element that requires taking ridiculous liberties with physics, the solution is to replace it with some other plot element that doesn’t.

    Some used to go with the theory that it was okay to have one ridiculous idea in science fiction, as long as everything else made sense. I really liked the movie Fantastic Voyage (1966), even though it was ridiculous on many levels. The premise and the weird lighting inside the body allows the audience to explore some of the science of the body.

    I think it is definitely possibly to go too ridiculous, Lost in Space being one example. But anytime you translate a genre onto a screen format, that probably means the average IQ of the audience is dropping. Bigger problem today with globalism, when movies are made for an international audience.

    • Replies: @Mr. Rational
  37. @songbird

    Perchlorates would have killed Mark Watney.

    You can wash or bake perchlorates out.  That’s not really a problem.

  38. @Gast

    I could only watch half an hour of this pretentious nonsense.

    I could only take about 1/3 the first time.

    Couple of years later, I forced myself to see the whole thing, and it was one of the most stupefying movie experiences ever.

    The key difference between the remarkable INCEPTION and ludicrous INTERSTELLAR is the former is all of a piece. Even though the plot grows complicated, everything grows out of a simple logic of how dreams operate. At the foundation of everything is a simple formula of dream and time. It’s like a tree, however big and tall, grew from the DNA within the seed. INCEPTION is like a single cell idea evolving and expanding into bigger variations of the idea. In sync with this basic idea is the plan to plant a seed of an idea in the recesses of a young man’s mind so that it may grow into an inspiration all his own. Brilliant.

    Also, I love the tension between the rational/logical and personal/emotional. No matter how logically the plan is mapped out, there is the X-factor of trauma and guilt. The agent(DiCaprio) and the target(the inheritor) share something in common. They work in fields of ruthless calculation but are haunted by personal demons, one dealing with a dead wife and the other dealing with a dead father.

    In contrast, there are too many things in INTERSTELLAR that simply don’t gel with the core idea or theme. Too many characters, too many plot lines, and too many complications. They keep falling apart and kept together by hammer and nails. And even though sci-fi isn’t real science, I simply didn’t buy the wormhole thing at all. It seemed like something out of WIZARD OF OZ.

    Whether the technology of dream espionage is possible or not, it was believable within the world created in INCEPTION. But I didn’t buy a single minute of INTERSTELLAR’s notion of wormhole travel to whatever and ever. It was as ill-conceived as Shyamalan’s LADY IN THE WATER. LADY and INTERSTELLAR are works by highly creative and fertile minds, but they failed to fit the pieces together. They are like taking pieces from different puzzles and forcing them to fit. The result is clump and unsatisfactory.

  39. Pericles says:

    Perhaps someone would like to review The Science of Interstellar by CalTech professor Kip Thorne, since then also Nobel Prize winner (Physics)?

    Haven’t read it myself, so who knows what the relation to the movie turned out to be. All the knocking behind the shelves and so on is still woo as far as I’m concerned. But I do believe Thorne was some sort of scientific consultant for them.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  40. @Pericles

    The Science of Interstellar

    LOL.

    I heard James Cameron consulted real scientists before he made AVATAR. I have no idea what he learned as there isn’t a single thing in AVATAR that is remotely plausible as science.

    People can be smart but have no sense or taste. Richard Dawkins is a DOCTOR WHO fan. Lots of smart nerds read STAR TREK novels. Embarrassing.

    But even among cultural snobs, smarts is no guarantee for character and sense. Peter Greenaway is smart and erudite but one of the biggest pains in the ass produced by cinema. He did make one masterpiece with THE DRAUGHTMAN’S CONTRACT but rest is total garbage.

    • Replies: @Justvisiting
  41. I remember the first time I watched this movie I really hated Ann Hathaway’s character. For putting her own feelings first and also for stupidly causing the delay on the water planet and getting a crew member killed. Of course if everyone had listened to her to begin with and gone to the planet her lover was on, they could have avoided a lot of problems in the first place.

    • Replies: @songbird
  42. Unfortunately, one shouldn’t need a primer to understand the film in my view.

    In my ignorance here’s my layman’s take.

    The film should have covered the debate about the what occurs inside what is probably one of the most perplexing forces in all of space to comprehend. While many think the matter is generally settled on the side of the former plumber turned physicist who spent a good deal of time working with vortex forces., Dr. Susskind’s analysis is fascinating assessments that within a a black hole — time essentially doesn’t exist and our understanding of reality simply disappears because the forces with are create a environment where a myriad of possibilities can occur so many that if one could choose a reality, that would possible. The known science science and mathematical equations all simply fall apart in dealing black holes. And there is of course return to the original claims that black holes simply don’t exist at all, I think is where Dr. Hakwing eventually came full circle to concluding. At least they don’t exist as we understand them or think we see tor experience them.

    There was plenty of time to actively engage in that discussion in the film. So for me, the end made more sense or maybe was more interesting than in how they got there.

    ———————

    The only love and relationship matters message is lost amongst all the machinations concerning his daughter’s achievements — in the end she of all people should been astounded, over joyed and sing his praises . . . it made no sense that she didn’t comprehend the sacrifice given all that was taking place.

    Gender pandering hurt the gender pandered to.

  43. “They then decide to pass through the event horizon and enter the black hole. Of course, the tidal forces from the unbelievably strong gravity would stretch and tear apart any ship or person that tried to do this. The remains would be lost forever inside the black hole.”

    Well,

    based on the unknown science, as I understand it, the forces at play near and inside a black hole simply blow known science asunder, once you accept that, it leaves room for myriad of possibilities and sadly the film does not engage that debate or discussion. In my view, it was essential for laying the ground work for some of what took place.

  44. songbird says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    for stupidly causing the delay on the water planet and getting a crew member killed.

    I don’t blame her for that. He clearly could have made it, if he hadn’t watched TARS rolling, and had instead run straight for the door. But the writers wanted to kill him off to simplify the plot, so he never had a chance.

  45. “But the writers wanted to kill him off to simplify the plot, so he never had a chance.”

    Laugh.

    It was her fault. And i agree that the plot line of love maters more drove the incident.

  46. @Priss Factor

    I read a lot of science fiction–and never even considered evaluating it based on whether it was “scientific” or not.

    Most of what was “scientific” in the year 1000 A.D. would be laughed at today, so imho “science” is not a relevant criteria for writing about the distant future.

    I enjoyed Avatar and did not enjoy Interstellar–but of course neither were “scientific”.

    One thing I look for in the best science fiction is internal consistency to the premises of the story–Interstellar was just a mess in that area.

    The best “time loop” writer imho is Robert Charles Wilson. I don’t believe any of his novels have been made into movies.

    A great place to start the journey into his science fiction:

  47. “The best “time loop” writer imho is Robert Charles Wilson. I don’t believe any of his novels have been made into movies.”

    “Groundhog Day” was pretty goo.

  48. Sulu says:

    Trevor,
    Jesus H. Fucking Christ on a crutch! You think Interstellar was a great movie and Gattaca was dumb?

    Interstellar was pompous, pretentious, and disjointed. It was obvious the director was trying to say something but apparently the plot was on a need to know basis. And the audience had no need to know. It was like he was in a partial coma and trying to tell us something by blinking his eyes.

    And the ending? It didn’t work at all. I don’t think I have ever seen a worse ending to a movie except perhaps the remake of Planet of the Apes. It’s obvious the director didn’t know how to end it so he just pulled this out of his ass and hoped the rubes would see it as intellectual. The entire movie was a dumpster fire set next to an over ripe outhouse. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it a 1. And that’s just because it did manage to have moving pictures and sound. The only movie I have seen recently that approached Interstellar in awfulness was Ad Astra. And even it was not quite as dumb as this one.

    Please tell me you were a journalism major in college. It would make me feel better because I don’t want to even consider the possibility you have ever had any education in science.

    Sulu

  49. JulianJ1 says:

    This film was very poor – I’d forgotten I’d seen it before, only remembering when Michael Caine arrives. The whole thing is a farrago of plot holes, scientists/engineers acting like adolescents (which Kubrick, whose superior 2001 is extensively “hommaged”, would have hated), and thumping music which tells you what to feel in the most pathetic on-the-nose way.

    (Spoiler alert)
    If Matt Damon has gone mad and is plotting to kill his rescuers, why isn’t he better at it? He’s had years to plan. I very much doubt airlocks explode if they haven’t got a proper seal.

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