Thursday, November 13, 2014

Idiot’s Guide to Interstellar

The story in about 500 words: Earth is dying. Bunch of people go hunting for better locations through a wormhole near Saturn. Brave souls have gone before on reconnaissance missions and 3 habitable planets have been shortlisted. Planet 1 is a waterworld, and does not work. Planet 2 is screwed up because Matt Damon, the perennial data fudger, went there first.  With no fuel left for the roundtrip to earth, the hero jumps into a black hole with his robot, leaving Anne Hathaway to sling away gravitationally to check out on her boyfriend in Planet 3. And the rest is history. (There is a family undercurrent, but I will let that pass.)

Interstellar is not a physicist’s wet dream as a lot of people would like to make it sound. And no, you don’t have to know too much science to depreciate it. Just let your imagination run a bit wild.  Here’s all the ammo you need:

Wormhole: A thingie that lets you travel far without travelling far. Sort of like a trapdoor in the universe.

Black Hole: A celestial body which performs a function quite opposite to that of a rectum that most non-physicists know of. This one sucks up everything with its gravitational pull, including light. In the movie, we have a “gentle” gargantuan black hole, so that we can avoid a tragic ending. 

Event Horizon: Tipping point associated with a black hole. There no going back once you have crossed it – more like the edge of a cliff. 

Gravity: Duh

Time: What the clock shows. Time is not a constant as we know it. In different parts of the universe, time moves at a different “rate”. Like an hour in “Waterworld” equals seven years in Tibet or any other place on Earth. As in, I could spend an hour there and come back to see my son in High School. Nolan’s fascination with time effects did not end with Inception, apparently.

Drones: Flying pilotless vehicles used to bomb suspected terrorists these days. They feature a drone in the first half – zero impact on the movie. Don’t drones heat up while flying in the air? I dunno, coz people touch it after it lands. And yes, it’s an Indian drone (maybe that’s why) which was being controlled by Delhi Mission Control before they lost control.

Plan A/Plan B: As the names indicate, these are strategic management initiatives to save the world. Not much impact on the storyline, though they like to keep you guessing. 

They = Us.

Love: We know this concept, but its power is less understood, is all they’re saying.

Morse Code: Part of the back to basics campaign. Dots and dashes do script an impossible turnaround.

BTW, except for the farm (thank God, Murph burnt it down) and the township, there are no visuals of any other parts of dying earth, even for some visual effects. Christ, the Redeemer or the Pyramids would have looked good with the dust storms and all. That said, I wonder what was happening in the Middle East at that point.

As an aside, look out for the number of times “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Save the World” are repeated.

Verdict: Did I enjoy it? Not exactly. I was waiting for some magical touch, which never came. No grandiosity, no visual spectacle, and don't get me started about the pathetic screenplay. Watch it, because you will sound uncool otherwise. I will not prefer a second sitting. At around 3 hours, Interstellar is boring in a lot of places, and could use some heavy editing – around 55%. 

At the risk of re-meming:

PS: Un-pixellated video streaming through a wormhole. My foot. I'm no wormhole expert. But that's just not done. And that Romilly guy was there alone on that spaceship for 23 Goddamn years. I hope he had access to some nice stuff. 

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