Saturday, March 07, 2015

Interstellar (Movie Review)

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I have to say that Interstellar was definitely more entertaining than Gravity: more characters, less monologue and more storyline (though if you really try to understand most of the conversation it really doesn’t make sense; time warps and wormholes and theories that sound deep but actually make no sense at all). This review contains spoilers, so if you wish to avoid spoilers altogether, you may want to look away.

Interstellar is set in some distant future where food is scarce and everyone is struggling to survive as the earth is hit with drought and dust storms. From the technological 21st century, Interstellar’s world has been reduced to a backward society where exploration and science is deemed unnecessary and more people are required to farm (the slowly dying corn). Things are so desperate (survival vs. exploration/science) that the government alters their history books to blot out traveling to space and even landing on the moon; society has become backward and anything to do with technology (e.g. engineering and exploration) are shunned.

The story begins with Cooper, a successful corn farmer who once worked for NASA but since the change in the climate (e.g. sand/dust storms are a common occurrence and the only remaining crop that can be grown is corn, but even that is soon about to die off) and shortage of food, everything to do with science and technology is shut down. As a result, Cooper uses his engineering skills to modify tractors and ends up being a successful corn farmer.

Things take a interesting turn when Cooper’s daughter, Murph (named after “Murphy’s Law”), discovers a ‘ghost’ in her room which seems to be sending her messages in the form of Morse code, which she decodes and tells her father. The decoded message turns out to be coordinates that lead them to a secret underground NASA facility.

At the NASA facility, Cooper and his daughter discover a secret project that has been ongoing for some time: with the climate changes and dying crops, there is a need to find a new home somewhere out there in outer space. Apparently, NASA had received information about 3 possible planets that could be their new home, but with the planets being so far away they have no sure way to determine which planet is the most live-able. To get to these planets, they would have to travel via a wormhole and from there make their exploration. Years back NASA had sent a team of explorers out to determine which planet would be more suitable but none of them have returned. The plan that NASA has is to send some explorers to check out the planets and determine which planet is live-able.

With the arrival of Cooper, they decide to put him in charge of this mission, which he takes on with much reluctance: the time in which it takes for him to travel to and back from this exploration might take him a long while due to the time continuum in space, time so long that his young daughter, Murph, might be old by the time he comes back, if he ever comes back.

Despite this, he still perseveres and makes the trip. By the time his team arrive, and in order to save time they decide to explore the one of the planets, but due to the time difference they end up spending more time there, wasted at least 2 decades and have one less teammate who was swept away by the strong waves. Now left with little fuel, they have to make a descision between the 2 remaining planets. Their decision leads them to discovering a conspiracy by the explorer who landed before them: he wanted to make them believe that his planet was live-able despite it being an inhabitable place. As a result they lose one of their team members and that explorer when escaping.

Left with little fuel, they decide the split into 2 groups - Cooper and one robot to try and make his way back to earth or contact them with the coordinates for their last remaining planet (and hope), and Amelia with another robot to explore the other planet and set up base with Plan B (creating humans from scratch).

Now this is the part where the story gets weird as Cooper is goes through a wormhole and ends up being that "presence" in his daughter's room trying to communicate with her through Morse code. He ends up being able to send her the coordinates through a watch he left with her before he left earth.

On earth at the same time, things are not looking good as the dust storms get worse and people (especially) are dying from respiratory issues. Murph has started to work with NASA and is trying to find a way to contact her father. Through some trail and error she manages to decrypt the message sent to her via the watch. In doing so, she manages to save the population and bring them to safety.

Than, we are shown that Cooper is thrown out of that wormhole and floating out in space where he gets picked up and sent to a station, which has been converted into living quarters for the inhabitants of earth. The station is named after his daughter, Cooper Station, because she saved the people and brought them to escape. Cooper is still the same age as when he left due to the time warp of the wormhole while his daughter has aged to an old woman of about 80 years old. He is just in time to see her as she departs from life. After coming to terms with everything, Cooper leaves the station and goes to look for Amelia.


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