PUBLISHED 16 JAN 2017
STEPHEN Hawking recently stated that "I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet". This is the idea that INTERSTELLAR attempts to unravel. If we truly cannot survive on this earth, then where are we to go? In the film, the world’s crops are being destroyed by an unnamed ‘blight', prompting astronaut Coop (Mathew McConaughey) to lead a manned mission into a wormhole in the hope of finding solace on a new planet.
The appropriately named ‘blight' is undoubtedly a metaphor for global warming and, in fact, the whole film is rather accurate when it comes to its depictions of science. The science in INTERSTELLAR has been deemed accurate enough, according to papers published in the American Journal of Physics and in Classical and Quantum Gravity, to have the film shown in schools as a teaching aid. This is arguably due to the fact the executive producer of the film is Kip Thorne, one of the world's leading physicists. He said that "Films such as Interstellar or Contact or 2001: A Space Odyssey are inspirations for young people... if you are going to have a film that really does attract young people to science it had best be scientifically accurate". Nolan reinforced this by saying "We hoped that by dramatising science and making it something that could be entertaining for kids we might inspire some of the astronauts of tomorrow". The whole film is set out to inspire and with its scientific accuracy and stunning visuals it is impossible to say it does not achieve this.
As with all Nolan films, INTERSTELLAR was given a code name, inspired by one of his children; INTERSTELLAR was given ‘Flora's Letter'. In fact, when Nolan took on the project one of the changes he made to the script, written by his brother Jonathan Nolan, was to change the child Coop leaves behind to a daughter. The film focuses purely on personal attachments. The film asks us to be less invested in the survival of humanity and more the personal story between Coop and his daughter. It chooses to focus on the family ties in an attempt to show us that we need this personal relationship to take action.
In one of the earlier scenes, a school teacher accuses Coop of being arrogant because he does not believe that the moon landing was faked, thereby making the film effectively serve as an advertisement for NASA. It could be said that after multitudes of theories about the faked moon landing that we have lost faith in NASA or at least the US federal government has. During the Apollo years, NASA's budget was almost five percent of the US federal budget. Now, it is less than one percent. 1972 was not only the final moon landing but that last time we humans exceeded low earth orbit. Stephen Hawking said "Remember to look up to the stars and not down at your feet", a sentiment that is later echoed nearly word for word by Coop when he says "We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down, and worry about our place in the dirt". The message is a simple one to not give up but to be ever looking forward. While our time on this earth may be coming to an end it means we should not despair but look forward towards the possibilities of the future.
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