Interstellar – spoiler alertNovember 16, 2014
All in all, a pretty good movie. Very creative in many respects. If you like science fiction, I recommend it.
Spoiler alert – The following observation about the movie “Interstellar” will give away part of the plot.
In the movie Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) flies through a wormhole to find several previous expeditions that have been exploring planets in another galaxy for colonization by humans trying to escape a dying Earth. Each one of these planets has been visited by a single astronaut to collect data to determine its suitability. The situation is desperate. A series of mishaps reduces Cooper’s resources and forces him and his crew to choose a single one of the planets to visit and to abandon the others.
They make their decision based on the data they have already received from the competing planets. The astronaut on one of the planets is a famous scientist named “Dr. Mann” (Matt Damon). His data is compelling enough to cause Cooper to choose his planet. Cooper uses his remaining resources to find Dr. Mann and his planet, only to find that Mann had fudged his data and that his planet is a wasteland. Mann insists he fudged his data for the benefit of mankind – right up to the moment the liar gets sucked into the vacuum of space.
I wonder if the producers of this movie picked the name “Mann” for some political reason. I can dream can’t I?
Update 11/16/14 10:30pm:
Noah Gittell at The Atlantic is upset because global warming is surely the culprit for the Earth’s demise in Interstellar, it is never explicitly named. He says…
Climate change is never mentioned by name in the film, but writer/director Christopher Nolan uses its imagery to define the terms of his story. Interstellar is set in a near-future Earth on the verge of total ecological collapse, with drastic changes in weather patterns and devastating food shortages driving human beings to the brink of extinction.
This upsets Gittell, so he says the movie is a “good space film, bad climate-change parable.”
Really? Maybe that is because it is not a “climate-change parable” at all.
The movie explains the planet is being ravaged by crop blights. The drastic weather changes the The Atlantic refers to are depicted in large part by real interviews with elderly people who lived through the dust bowl (lifted from Ken Burns Dust Bowl documentary). But in the movie these interviews are supposed to be from elderly people in the future looking back at their experiences during the demise of the planet.
Global warming, climate change, and CO2 are never mentioned. However, the character Professor Brand (Michael Caine), vaguely explains something to the effect of decreasing Oxygen levels in the atmosphere due to the crop blights.
So, according to Gittell, Interstellar is describing global warming by using references to the dust bowl, which occurred in the 1930s before significant increases in CO2 and by referring to crop blights, which have been occurring since humans have cultivated crops.
Not too bright Gittell.