Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ hits the mark: We ignore the stars to ‘worry about our place in the dirt’

Interstellar black holeChristopher Nolan’s Interstellar is out, and it is ambitious. It aims to be a blockbuster movie, but it is also about big ideas — really big ideas — and it succeeds on almost every level. It is entertaining, but it forces anyone with the least bit of intellectual curiosity to leave the theater with a lot to think about.

On a cursory level, Interstellar is about a group of astronauts who go on an expedition to find habitable planets for humans to colonize. The earth is dying, and Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), must leave his family behind, knowing that he may never see them again.

On a deeper level, Interstellar is about what we seem to have lost as a species. Cooper says early on in the film, “We used to look up in the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”

There are two types of people: There are those like Cooper and Brand (Anne Hathaway), and then there are those like the Orwellian teachers early on in the film who try to brainwash Cooper’s child Murph, played wonderfully by Mackenzie Foy.

Teacher: Murph is a great kid. She’s really bright, but she’s been having a little trouble lately. She brought this in to show the other students. The section on the lunar landings.

Cooper: Yeah, it’s one of my old textbooks. She always loved the pictures.

Teacher: It’s an old federal textbook. We’ve replaced them with the corrected versions.

Cooper: Corrected?

Teacher: Explaining how the Apollo missions were faked to bankrupt the Soviet Union.

Cooper: You don’t believe we went to the moon?

Teacher: I believe that it was a brilliant piece of propaganda. That the Soviets bankrupted themselves pouring resources into rockets and other useless machines.

Cooper: Useless machines?

Teacher: And if we don’t want a repeat of the excess and wastefulness of the 20th Century, then we need to teach our kids about this planet — not tales of leaving it.

Cooper: You know, one of those useless machines they used to make was called an MRI. And if we had any of those left, the doctors would have been able to cut the cyst in my wife’s brain before she died, instead of afterwards. And then she would have been the one sitting her listening to this instead of me, which would’ve been good because she was always the calmer one.

Are we merely meant to run around in the dirt like ants, or are we meant to explore — to constantly seek out new horizons — physically, mentally, and spiritually?

Intersellar Cooper

What are the limits of science? What does it mean for science that the human body might not have the hardware necessary to perceive realities that exist outside of its five senses?

Cooper: You’re a scientist, Brand.

Brand: So listen to me when I say love isn’t something that we invented. It’s observable. Powerful. It has to mean something.

Cooper: Love has meaning, yes. Social utility, social bonding, child rearing.

Brand: You love people who died. Where’s the social utility in that?

Cooper: None.

Brand: Maybe it means something more — something we can’t yet understand. Maybe it’s some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension that we can’t consciously perceive. I’m drawn across the universe to someone I haven’t seen in a decade who I know is probably dead. Love is the one thing that we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it. All right Cooper. Yes, the tiniest possibility of seeing Wolf again excites me. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Cooper: Honestly, Amelia, it might.

It’s hard to comment much more on Mr. Nolan’s film without giving away key details. In short, it’s a touching,  momentarily terrifying, beautiful labor of love by a man who is clearly a master of his craft. Han’s Zimmer’s score is fantastic and all of the primary actors involved did a superb job.

If you get a chance to see Interstellar before it leaves theaters, then I highly suggest making time on a Friday or Saturday night. Then, let me know what you thought. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Advertisements

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ teaser: Escape the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God

Intersteller AstronautUpdate: My review of Interstellar is up: ‘Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ hits the mark: We ignore the stars to ‘worry about our place in the dirt’

If there is such a thing as a flawless teaser trailer, the finished product for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ can count itself a member of the exclusive club. The narration, the gravel in Matthew McConaughey’s voice, the historical images that flash before the screen, and the score all combine to form what can only be described as something “stirring.” It says to the audience: “This is going to be a movie that seeks to tap into something deep inside you — if you’re willing to see just how much humanity is capable and just how often you sell yourself short.”

Here is what IMDB says of ‘Interstellar’:

A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

And here is Matthew McConaughey’s dialogue from the teaser:

“We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments — these moments when we dare to aim hirer — to break barriers. To reach for the stars. To make the unknown, known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements, but we’ve lost all that. And perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers, that we’ve barely begun, and that our greatest accomplishments can not be behind us because our destiny lies above us.

Amazing stuff. I couldn’t agree more.

Douglas Ernst Twitter space

Anyone who has left loved ones behind in search of “bigger and better” things has a pioneer in them. Anyone who has walked away from a stable job for a chance to do what they really love has an explorer in them. Anyone who has taken great financial risk to back a cause they really believe in has an astronaut in them. These days, the pioneering spirit is squashed in its infancy. Public policy is often pushed on the population that locks people in place and prevents them from exercising their entrepreneurial spirit, and as a result it atrophies — we forget that we were meant to reach for the stars.

The teaser for ‘Interstellar’ first seeks to remind us what we’re capable of if we put our minds to it.

We can make infertile land bear fruit.

Intersteller Dust Bowl

We can fly.

Intersteller flight

We can, to quote Ronald Reagan, slip the “surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

Interstellar rocket

We can make the impossible possible because there are always men and women who swallow hard, leave loved ones behind, and find the grit in their spit needed to navigate uncharted waters.

Intersteller earth

The pioneers leave the comfort of family and friends behind, despite the pain and anguish it causes, because there is something deep within that compels them forward.

Intersteller Matthew M

We shed tears in the pursuit of our dreams because a love of the safety and security of “home” pits us against our desire to explore new horizons, blaze our own path and create something unique and special that we can call our own. And when we succeed, we give thanks to the family and friends who encouraged us to take that leap of faith and who promised to catch us if we fell.

Intersteller holding hands

Predication: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ is going to be epic. The man makes smart movies that work on multiple levels. Those who just want to watch characters navigate worm holes for a few hours will be entertained, and those who like movies with more layers than an onion will go home happy. That is the nature of Christopher Nolan’s films, and for that I am thankful.

Christopher Nolan “gets it.” It’s a joy to watch his work and hopefully he’ll be at it for many years to come.

Related: Christopher Nolan creates more jobs than Obama

Related: Inception and Liberalism: America Awakes

Related: The Dark Knight Rises: A conservative review