Interstellar (open spoilers! after you've seen it)

Ugh. Now I remember why I hate time travel movies. It cheapens every plotline it’s used in. I was so excited to see a new big-budget sci-fi movie… but then it resorts to time travel cliches? Man sends message back in time and saves humanity. Fucking seriously? All that buildup, slightly interesting (if elementary) showcase of relativity… and then fucking superhumans sending shit back through time to solve all their problems. Why don’t the future superhumans just distort gravity to write a sentence, or go back a few hundred years to prevent the global catastrophe in the first place, or whatever… just so fucking annoying to force some random hero to coincidentally yet inextricably link himself to some future critical plot device across all the improbabilities of spacetime, because Only Hollywood Stars Can Save Humanity. Fucking bullshit.

And the oozing sentimentality. Sheesh. Following in Gravity’s footsteps, they seem to choose the astronauts least capable of emotional self-control. Children on Earth we had to pry you away from? Alright, you’re our pilot and mission commander. Frozen space lover on one of our potential planets? You’re obviously the one who should decide which to land on. And why is it always the lead actress who falls to some stupid stereotype about love and the heart and then panics at the exact wrong moment?

And all this bullshit back on Earth. The entire fucking world has turned into some sort of post-apocalyptic dustbowl where survival is dependent upon GPS-navigated robotic combines but… people refuse to believe in a moon landing? What? Why does the daughter of a NASA pilot have issues with ghosts? And why is NASA an underground operation when the entire future of the species in this timeline depends on climate improvement, extraterrestrial exploration, or at the very least genetic reengineering of blighted crops? And what the hell happened to the rest of the world, aside from the one Indian drone? Mission to save all of humanity, and you send one ship with four people and one lander to explore 3 planets??? You couldn’t have teamed up with a few Japanese, Russians, Chinese, whoever, even in secret? Did nobody in this hypothetical world ever read Contact – “Why build one when you can build two at the twice the price?” And speaking of Contact, benevolent godly space aliens, dumb as they are, are still less dumb than time travel.

The more I think about this movie the more it aggravates me, and the more I want to throw it in the pile of movies like Gravity that could’ve been great if not for the shitastic writing. This is amateur time travel soap opera behind a big-budget mask, and if I wanted that I should’ve just watched an episode of Trek or X-Files.

Ugh. I wish I could knock on my door earlier today and leave a ghostly note telling myself to skip the movie and just read the following sentence: Time travel movie about an astronaut who saves humanity by sending a message to his daughter back in time. Silly synopsis for a silly movie that could’ve been so much more.

It was actually a very well made, well scripted and well acted film and I enjoyed it quite a bit. There’s also already a thread about it not too far down from yours.

Very sorry your desire to pick this flick apart, interfered with your ability to enjoy it. I found it quite entertaining. Maybe I’m just shallow.

I know. I just wanted to hear the opinions of others without having to sort through the spoiler tags, reviews, the “I want to watch it too!” posts, etc.

I didn’t mean to pick it apart, I just watch a lot of scifi and time travel is almost universally synonymous for “cheap deus ex machina plot device” and I had great hopes for this one because its production values were so great. Ended up having a plot no better than run-of-the-mill Star Trek, and I guess I was just hoping for more.

I’m glad you enjoyed it though, and thanks for sharing! I’d rather see people enjoying mediocre sci-fi than no sci-fi at all.

I saw it and had some of the same problems as you about the abbreviated description of the crisis affecting Earth. (First the wheat, then the okra? and now the corn was/is devastated by the blight.) But perhaps it’s best not to look too closely into those questions, but just to accept that Earth is going to be uninhabitable. (Or else I’d think about things like wouldn’t it be easier to fix the problems on Earth than to terraform another planet, in a different galaxy?)

Environmental degradation? Population doesn’t believe in science, while depending on science? I just assumed that the film was set in present-day Kansas.

I enjoyed the movie so I muted my persnickity-ness about it, but I also wondered about the Blight. All we know is:

  1. It kills crops
  2. It somehow is responsible for increasing the nitrogen content in the atmosphere.

And other than that, that’s all we know. We don’t know if it’s a biological blight, if it came from outer space… who knows? (My theory - it was planted by Future Man, so we would get our butts off the planet.)

I was a little frustrated about the lack of mention of the rest of the world - was this a US only thing (I assume not, of course), how many people had already died, why was the problem presented as so insoluble, etc. It seemed to me that, even though civilization and humanity was dying.*

However, despite the bleakness and the implied die-offs… things still seemed to be running OK. Teeth were fixed, cars had replacement parts and gasoline (even 23-40 years on (I kept wondering who was working the wells and refineries)), the water was running, people were playing baseball, NASA could build spaceships, etc. And despite the increasing nitrogen content, nobody seemed to have had any trouble breathing (except for dust) and Jessica Chastain had no problem setting a fire.

*Were there any other animals shown in the movie, in any way? Nobody ate any meat, I didn’t see any dogs or cats (or rats or anything), and I don’t think it occurred to anybody to fish in the river where the drone fell. Was the lack of animals a symptom of the blight or a result of it?

Yeah, the lack of structural trophic levels (whether in nature or in industry) really bothered me. It’s like you have failed okra and perfectly healthy humans living to 100+, but nothing in between. Did the blight magically cure diseases too? And then you have people who don’t believe in the moon landing, but a secret NASA base of a few dozen scientists who can travel through time. Wtf. Ordinary society apparently consists of schools, farmers, and elite scientists.

As for the animals, there was one scene where they were eating a meal and there was some sort of casserole/lasagna looking dish, so I assume there were eggs and milk somehow. It’s not really touched upon beyond that. In the post-blight world, there are only Americans and their crops, the rest of the web of life be damned.

Its just a vehicle to sell toys and happy-meals.

I just assumed that meat has reverted to being something only the wealthy eat on a regular basis, most people are lucky if they can afford it come the holidays or special occasions. Over all I enjoyed it, but my biggest issue with the ending was if they’ve developed the technology to build massive Bernal Sphere/O’Neill habitat-starships and maintain their ecosystems then they could’ve covered the Earth with arcologies for everyone to live in for far less cost. It’s an easy problem to fix to; just make the civilization ending problem with the Sun instead of the Earth’s atmosphere. Also why do they even need to settle on a planet if they can build & maintain space habitats like that? And wouldn’t several decades have passed on Miller’s planet making Amelia either an old woman or more likely a corpse surrounded by a few child corpses by the time Cooper finds her?

I don’t think anybody was living to 100+ till after Murph discovered “The Solve”.

What the fuck are you talking about?

I, too, was baffled by the lack of the rest of the world. And vaguely horrified that Americans seem to be the only people who made it to the future.

Consider that a lot of places in Africa and Asia are pretty damn close to war and starvation in the present, then think about a future where most crops won’t grow. India was mentioned in the movie, when Coop said that the drone had been moving independently for over 10 years since India’s mission control went down…I’m assuming that was probably about the time when the Indian government went down too.
Who do you think would be in better shape as far as economy and food growth than the US in that situation?

I just noticed I had a sentence fragment in my post… sorry!

Was originally (I think) going to be

But I got sidetracked by my footnote and f-ed up the original sentence.

I forgot about the drone.

I guess I feel like humans are able to survive in pretty marginal circumstances. If pressed, we can live off of little more than fermented whale blubber and the occasional foraged berry, or a whole range of semi-edible leaves. What we can’t do in marginal circumstances is support large populations of non-food producers: politicians, militaries, priests, artisans, merchants, etc. Marginal land means we have to live in small bands, without much specialization of labor.

Given that future US seems lean (and certainly on the downhill) but still somewhat functional as a complex society (there are career politicians, educators, manufactured goods, leisure time, etc.), I’d guess that places that didn’t have as far to fall probably would still be puttering around. In some ways, they can adapt better, as they’ve already developed famine-time coping methods (foraging, tapping in to non-preferred foodstocks, becoming nomadic, etc.) while our cities rely on such a complex set of systems to keep going that there are so many more points of potential failure.

Not that Africa would rock the apocalypse or anything, but where is China? Japan? Europe? Anyone else? Surely someone is surviving out there, even if it’s a meagre existence foraging some niche planet. If the US is still playing baseball and paying guidance counselors, surely other countries have managed some kind of continued existance.

And sure the US may lead the new world, but surely these other countries are included somewhere? We’ve traditionally at least made a gesture to multi-nationalism in space exploration, but it seems like in the fffuture it’s just NASA and a bunch of Americans-- which seems creepy. Did we not offer anyone else a spot?

Oh, and I forgot to respond to this part :smack: I agree that it was very well made and well acted. I enjoyed the first 60-70% of it quite a lot, and I think I even almost cried at one point (don’t remember why). That’s why it bugged me soooo much when they suddenly resorted to a time travel cliche to solve the plot… I felt like it was such a cheap cop-out after a great start.

They went through all the effort of setting up relativity, using frames of reference to slow down time, even explicitly mentioning the inability to travel back in time, then they take you to the edge of a black hole and you wonder what’s left… they finally get to a black hole and it’s not a stupid zombie movie or a Trek movie, so what’s going happen? So much anticipation. And then… they just send a message back in time, rendering the entire plot before that moot? What a huge let-down!

I knew nothing about the movie before I saw it (I didn’t even know it was being made). I purposely avoid hype and trailers because I like to watch movies with zero foreknowledge. I ended up so disappointed in part because I was so pleasantly surprised at first that it seemed to be a somewhat more “serious” sci-fi, and I didn’t think people made those anymore unless it was a setup for zombies or monsters or vampires or something. If it flew under a Trek or Star Wars name or like a Serenity 2 or something I would’ve gone in expecting popcorn space opera, not sciency sci fi, and probably been perfectly happy with the film. It’s just that the setup promised so much and felt so mismatched in tone with the conclusion. It’s like halfway through they realized they wrote themselves into a hole, and maybe test audiences complained about a sad ending or something so they had to resort to time travel to make it all good again :frowning:

But yeah, I do want want to at least acknowledge that the movie was very well made aside from the story, and the science is seemingly sounder than most sci-fi these days (no midichlorians, at least). I can only hope it and its ilk signal the start of a resurgence of big-budget sci-fi about science and space, not just using the future as a backdrop for action shooters (looking at you, Tom Cruise). Hey, at least Interstellar got me thinking and riled up enough to whine here, whereas most space movies just get a meek “Eh, that was ok”. So yeah. Really wanted to love it, disappointed that I cannot.

Another question I had was about the tidal wave planet was… didn’t they look at the place before landing, seeing mile-high bands of water?

Also, it seemed as if it was set up that they are in “Earth time” right up to the minute they touch down, then they’re in “1-hour for 7 Earth years time” as long as they’re touching the planet. But it really wouldn’t work like that, would it?

My problem with the waves was that they were walking around in water that was just over ankle-deep – For all of the praise over how well they nailed the physics of wormholes, no one seemed to pay attention to the physics of waves. Did it not occur to anyone that a wave hundreds of feet high would have drawn that 18-inch deep water away from them for hundreds of miles?

This was a problem that I had. Since the main ship had to be accessible as soon as they flew down in the transport, and it couldn’t orbit the planet, it had to be sitting pretty close by, presumably at L2 (is there another way to keep it in a position opposite the planet from the black hole?). It should have experienced a significant time dilation as well.

I kinda curious how waves like that could form at all. Did the planet have a super-massive rapidly-revolving moon? Or was the planet itself rotating at high speed and the waves being drawn by Gargantua?