The movie Gravity was said to have established the standard when it comes to movies depicting fairly accurate scientific laws and theories. But ever since the release of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, it seems that Gravity does not hold this recognition any longer – not because its depiction of science wasn’t in the same level of accuracy than Interstellar, but rather that Interstellar depicted a mind blowing and beautiful visualization of theoretical physics that seemed more enticing than “flying space objects”.
Of course, such comparative analysis may seem shallow as it sounds like I’m only tackling the visual effects – but it is not easy to simplify theoretical physics in such a way that the movie utilizes it as several plot devices spread over to transform its narrative. Indeed, to “laymanize” theoretical physics alone is an amazing feat in itself. But what Interstellar did was to go beyond the said challenge, using scientific concepts as a device in telling a great story!
The movie begins upon the premise of Earth’s impending doom. Mankind is challenged by the notion that sooner or later, it must find a new home somewhere in the stars. While seemingly sounding like another “doomsday movie”, Interstellar refreshes the theme by asking difficult moral choices both implied and explicit throughout the decisions and dialogues of its several characters. The machiavellians clash with the liberals within the film, of which Interstellar drums up the dramatization just enough to get its audience hooked while leaving out the cheesiness. This movie is definitely for the “thinking layman”. For every morally grey question posed by the film, it entices us to ask ourselves if the survival of humanity is worth the actions we decide. It’s through this constant self-assessment to which Interstellar hooks its audience until the end of the film.
As mentioned, science as a utility plays a deep role within the story. Interstellar is able to simplify the complex mumbo-jumbo of theoretical physics mostly through dialogues among the characters. While this serves as a challenge for the film to keep its audience interested, such tactics worked for Interstellar. This is because the movie never bothered to separate morality from science itself. Instead, the movie’s narrative presented it in a single package, to which these ideas sometime clash – and at other times play in unison. In fact, the narrative presents its characters as being challenged and flabbergasted by this question.
“Does it necessitate to sacrifice our humanity to save humanity?”
Once you watch the entire movie, you will probably understand this question even more. And that’s what makes Interstellar so compelling. The fair accuracy of its science is great, but the movie’s continuous focus on morality – and the hard truths that come with it – is what gives this movie the potential to become an Oscar-winner. The manner to which the scenes are presented are done so in harmony of the movie’s general themes. The characters are relatable in a way, but not necessarily through their characteristics; but more so through their struggles. These struggles were presented and directed in a visually tense form, compounding the already great narrative of the movie.
There have been some minor issues that I faced with the film, such as in some of the scenes where I could barely understand Matthew McConaughey’s accent. But such “nitpickish” problems did not stray me away from the movie. There’s so much more for me to say about the film, but I’d rather that you watch it yourself.
Of course, there have been those who may have been confused with some of the science depicted in the film – and it’s alright if you got a bit confused with those scenes mentioned. Youtube and 9gag have several charts and videos to help you untie those confusions. Yet, I’d personally say that the experience of watching Interstellar is even greater if you at least understand some of the basics of general relativity and quantum mechanics. It makes the movie experience so much better.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to read on the hard maths of general relativity. Wikipedia is there to the rescue!
Overall, I’d give the movie a 9/10. Fairly accurate science, great story, and more exciting than Gravity in my point of view. And, of course, theoretical physics is sexy!