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Top Three Questions of Interstellar

I can count on one hand how many movie going experiences so profound that they have shaped and formed me. And when watching Interstellar, I found myself feeling nostalgic and wonderfully inspired at the same time. If even for just one split moment I felt inspired as I did watching Star Wars or Star Trek as a child.

That one day I could maybe touch the stars, or travel among them and leave Earth behind. And in that wave of nostalgia I realized how vital it was to the movie going experience.

The simple notion of nostalgia was always funny to me, after all are you truly nostalgic about the act of playing 8 bit video game? or the act of playing with a toy from the mid 80s? or watching a movie that technologically far inferior to even the lamest Redbox movie you could choose from?

No the nostalgia and feelings you experience from these things in your past, stem from memories, the second in time which you can reconnect for the briefest of moments. Reliving that flash and recalling this time in your head, that’s what nostalgia is all about.

So in this very manner, let’s just say I had a lot of nostalgic moments from watching Interstellar. I’ve had very few of these impactful moments as I get older, but Christopher Nolan’s heady saga Interstellar, both inspired and scared me at the same time.

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Much like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, Interstellar was far from perfect but still enthralled me to no end.

I’ll be reviewing the movie here shortly, but wanted to take a moment to go over my Top Three questions of Interstellar, or at least the questions that bugged me to no end.

3. Why is Cooper such a dick?

Don’t get me wrong, as the protagonist Cooper is both flawed and heroic and in this he strays from typical tropes you would find for this kind of role. He’s a complex character that’s not a very good father, and yet the movie succeeds at making you care about both he and the plight of the human race.

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Here’s a few observations about the character of Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey.

A . Cooper could care less about his son Tom.

Outside of Cooper’s fierce defense of his dim witted son Tom in the PTA meeting, there’s little evidence that Cooper actually gives a shit about his son. Interactions between both he and the actor that plays the young Tom, Timothee Chalamet are cold and lacking care.

Cooper’s demeanor towards the young Tom seems to signal a rough upbringing around a no-nonsense father, which doesn’t seem to match John Lithgow at all.

When tracking down the Indian drone, Cooper immediately hands the laptop and controls over to Murphy his daughter. When awakening from his improbable rescue outside of Saturn, Cooper isn’t shown asking about his son, his grandson or anything of the sort.

I mean what gives? I’m supposed to like this guy right?

B. Cooper seems dissatisfied with anything that has to do with Earth.

Let’s face it, Cooper hates Earth and hates being a farmer in the post apocalyptic Earth. He mentions travel and exploration so much that it’s clear that he would rather be out in the stars with his hair on fire than with his family.

Image via Reddit

Image via Reddit

McConaughey is excellent in this role, although the first third of the movie I just couldn’t shake the fact that he was the lead role. He’s broken out of his mold of playing the same laid-back, cool surfer character that he’s always been associated with, but it was rough going early.

While traveling past the wormhole, Cooper assures Romilly by telling him they are “explorers” and to basically stop being such a baby. Continual references to looking downward into the dirt instead of into the sky, and his bias against his son  becoming a farmer are just a few indications.

C. Cooper leaves

This part bugged me quite a bit and felt like a pretentious forced ending to an otherwise fantastic movie. Minutes after awaking in Cooper Station, our protagonist has one beer and states how he doesn’t care for the life on this base.

Coop continues by saying he wants to know where “we” are, presumably talking about the human race, and where we are going.

Father and daughter are split the entire movie, which centers around their relationship, and when they are finally reunited, Cooper leaves again.

Really, really can’t wrap my head around that one. If Murph’s true desire was to die without her father being there, I can respect that but can’t excuse Cooper for leaving. He’s made serious choices that have endangered the mission, centered around returning home to his daughter.

When he finally does so, he sticks around just enough to kiss a grandma’s hand and bounce.. I mean WTF seriously.

2. Why is technology the villain?

Everywhere you turn in the movie Interstellar, technology is being made out as the bad guy. While the reasons behind The Blight are never fully fleshed out, it stands to reason that technology and pollution are major contributors.

Corn is the only crop that’s viable? what the hell is Cooper drinking in those beer bottles then? Why is it dying? We already have so much processed food that a few decades from now we’ll have lost this ability?

But what’s with the Apollo moon landing crap? the rewriting of Murphy’s schoolbooks? I am seriously confused and kind of angry that Christopher Nolan went this route. Apollo moon landing conspiracy theorists, for lack of a better word, are dumb.

Taking this route not only reinforces the silly notion that the Apollo moon landings were faked, but it sends a confusing message.

On one hand you have this grand movie, shot with meticulous care and with millions of dollars put into production. Clearly meant to inspire a new generation of space travel and the possibilities of space travel, it becomes undone when a teacher in a movie claims the moon landings as “clever propaganda meant to bankrupt the Russians”. 

I’ve had many discussions and arguments since this movie came out, and to my dismay the “fake moon landing” conspiracy has some real legs. It goes without saying that I think the whole textbook thing did not advance the story or contribute to the plot in any significant way.

If Nolan’s intention to show Murphy’s intelligence, I would suggest there’s more responsible ways to do it then imply that the Apollo moon landings were faked. We have enough sheep in America that this kind of filmmaking is borderline irresponsible.

Surely you cannot suggest to me that Christopher Nolan of all people, with Kip Thorne as the lead scientific advisor, entertains such fancy dancy thoughts of a moon landing hoax? Please.

This aspect also scared me, the concept of the future generations of America not caring about space, or losing interest in space travel. Growing up I loved the idea and notion of space and space travel, and its definitely something I want my own children to experience.

I pray that the future doesn’t look anything like this technology hating bunch of loons depicted in this movie. What is going on with mankind in Interstellar? Did the Monsanto corn seeds kill our brain cells too?

1. Why is Dr Mann a Macguffin device?

Yknow when I first heard of Matt Damon being in this movie, I groaned out loud. As if I wasn’t going to have a hard enough time trying to ignore that Matthew McConaughey was on screen, now I have to deal with Matt Damon? Who is next Leonardo DiCaprio?

But Damon is superb in this role, and really shows some range with his acting. It’s pretty clear that something is off, almost immediately when Cooper, Brand and Romilly awaken Dr. Mann. He’s so subtle and efficient in how he delivers his role, it’s excellent and only to be really appreciated on multiple viewings of the movie.

After the second or third time watching the film however, it’s clear that Dr Mann is just a Macguffin device. He has no clear plan, and his choices are questionable at the very best. The man that’s almost driven insane by solitude, suddenly destroys one ship and strands another to do what exactly?

Why even prevent Cooper from leaving anyway? What was he going to say upon returning to the Ranger? That Cooper slipped and died somewhere? Wouldn’t the rest of the scientists become suspicious when they discover the planet is dead and not inhabitable?

Dr Mann being “the best of us” as mentioned several times throughout the movie, is nothing more than a plot device, and a flimsy one at that. His “plan” lacks any thought, or course of action that would be beneficial to Dr Mann in any way. He wants to be rescued and NOT alone, and yet takes the first chance to strand the others.

Had Dr Mann been a tech, or a pilot his actions would have made a lot more sense. As a scientist and a supposedly brilliant one at that, I have a hard time suspending my disbelief that anyone would be so colossally stupid.

What was his master plan exactly? To take the fertilized eggs and what? kidnap the rest of them? There is no motivation for Damon to be doing what he is, and yet nobody really questions that.

But who am I kidding, this movie is fantastic. Discovering just how much work and money went into the design of how the black hole Gargantua looked and in IMAX this movie blew me away.

Interstellar is a great movie and easily one of the all time favorites, and those are my Top Three Questions of Interstellar.

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