Saturday, November 8, 2014

D.O.A. at the Movies: Interstellar

The Earth is running out of food for its people.  The world has become a huge dustbowl with monstrous storms making life nearly impossible, and certainly miserable. Crops are down to corn alone.  All other food crops have succumbed to a blight.

Matthew McConauhey’s  Cooper is a former pilot who now farms with his young son and daughter, aided by father in law Donald, the grumpiest John Lithgow I’ve ever seen.

On top of everyday problems, daughter Murphy feels as if there is a poltergeist or some other phenomenon in her room trying to send a message.   Her father helps her decode a message, which gives the coordinates to a hidden NASA base. 

At the base, Michael Caine’s Professor  Brand and his daughter Amelia-- Anne Hathaway are working with a huge crew to pilot through a wormhole (which mysteriously appeared near Saturn 48 years ago).  Other missions called the Lazarus Missions went through in the past.  The new mission hopes to find a place to colonize beyond the wormhole, saving the last bits of humanity in two ways:

Embryos which will be activated at the new planet.

The scientific base they’re working in is a space station which can lift off and save a number of people.

At the heart of the rest of the film is finding a real home beyond the wormhole for colonization, and doing so within the lifetimes of family left behind.

Time on the other side of the wormhole is different.  This is made worse by a Black Hole called Gargantua.

Three viable seeming signals are received by the team, and they have to decide which is the best bet for finding life.  There is a possibility that all or any of the signals is old and that the teams are already dead.

I found the discussions between the crew members trying to decide what the best chances would be to be fascinating.  They hadn’t the fuel to simply look at them all.  The nearest of the choices had such close proximity to the Black Hole that time would be very warped there-- 7 years passing for every hour spent on the planet.

As a film of traveling into the unknown reaches of space, without hopes of rescue, with limited resources and time being an enemy in every way, it was superb.

The closeness of Cooper to his family and his determination to do what would save them no matter the cost to himself, was really a great emotional core. 

The element of aliens who could put a wormhole out near Saturn, and who likely existed in five dimensions, and the plot developments leading from those things…dicey thinking.
All in all, a fine film, lots to think about, including the many moral choices made by everyone involved.

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