In an apocalyptic future where global warming has destroyed the environment and plagues have killed off almost all food crops, ex-astronaut Matthew McConaughey must join NASA’s last mission to try and save mankind.
There are things in this review that might be considered to be SPOILERS.
When I was 9 years old, my good friend Banjosirena invited me to come with her and her dad to see 2001: a Space Odyssey at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood (over an hour’s drive) when it was new. It was an amazing experience, and I have loved that movie ever since.
And this is a worthy successor, in many ways:
- It’s big and beautiful. The special effects, like its predecessor, are really good, and mostly really believeable.
- There is a lot of made-up science-ish stuff. Because the premise of the movie, again like its predecessor, requires that there be a super-race for humans to evolve into, to make the ending work out and save the day. The fact that they are/will be us keeps the power to control our own destinies from being taken out of our hands. And of course it’s all storytelling, since we are not yet sure that we will become superpowered multidimensional beings. Although it would be nice.
- The main character spends quite a bit of time blue-screening. McConaughey did it very well.
- The space flights are state-of-the-art looking, which is nice.
- The tech will look incredibly dated in twenty years…I read somewhere (and had never thought about it) that when you watch 2001 now, what they do NOT have anywhere in their computer-controlled world…is keyboards. Because back then, nobody realized how ubiquitous they would be as an interface. I can’t wait to look back on this in twenty years and realize where we have gone that these filmmakers didn’t envision…
- There are great computers. HAL-9000, of course, is the famous one from 2001; in Interstellar, it’s the four-part mobile computers, notably TARS, that are the stars; they were great. I don’t know if they are feasible, but they were an interesting idea for the conjunction of robots and computers.
The plots are not really similar; 2001 is man vs crazy computer, whereas Interstellar is man vs the disaster man has made of the planet and the desperate search for a way to keep the species alive.
There is a section with Matt Damon as one of the scientists who was sent ahead through the wormhole and found a planet, who wants to be rescued at any cost; Mr. Otter thought this was bad writing, but I do not agree. Not only did it add some much-needed action to the story, and cause the event that precipitated McConaughey’s desperate entry into the black hole, which ends up saving everyone, but it was really believeable; I could totally see someone doing this, rather than nobly dying alone on a distant planet.
So yes, even though, as Spider Jerusalem says, most of the science is crap or made up, this is, as he went on to add, a really good movie anyway. I saw it twice in a week, and enjoyed it very much both times. Even though I am no longer 10 years old.