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Interstellar: A Review

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Released in 2014, Interstellar, a film by Christopher Nolan, is an epic sci-fi adventure in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Featuring award-winning special effects and a boundary pushing plot, Interstellar is sure to baffle the uninformed and enthrall the willing. But is it the kind of epic sci-fi film I would go for?

Let’s see.

• Special Effects

While I wouldn’t consider myself a slave to my vision, presentation is still important. Furthermore, if one is going to utilize computer graphics and other enhancements in film, they must look good. Nothing ruins the experience worse than poorly blended textures and rushed models. Interstellar earned its Oscar. The effects were beautiful, and the depiction of that black hole, at least the outside of it, was gorgeous. The real world settings used for the different planets still managed to look foreign, so nice work there as well. This was a feast for my eyes, which I didn’t realize were hungry.

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•Characters and Acting

The film was decently cast and well directed for the most part, but this movie wasn’t just about selling character drama. The astronauts all seemed scientifically professional if a bit too stoic when faced with new and frightening space phenomena. Anne Hathaway was a standout, but that’s no surprise. I wasn’t put off by any bad acting, but a few roles could have been enlivened so I wasnt immediately guessing who the background characters or the eventual casualties were from the get go.

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•Plot

This is where the movie suffered under my scrutiny. First of all, the pacing was off. While I admired that the very beginning showed us a deteriorating Earth rather than straight up telling us, I wish that same caution has been exercised in other places.

Having said that, some exposition was needed in places considering the highly conceptual science incorporated into the plot. That science was fun to see explored in a story like this. However, I felt the attempt to explain relativity and it’s effect on time was over-explained and lessened drama associated with its effects.

Furthermore, it was obvious to me that the that there were two main plots competing for screen time. One was the exploration of space, work holes, relativity, time dilation, ecological disaster, etc.

The other was Huey Lewis’ favorite: the power of love.

Yes, love.

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Love can cross time, space, worm holes, black holes, and plot holes.

Love can make future men seem like ghosts or monsters.

Okay, I get it.

I appreciate the attempt to fuse the themes of human nature with high science, but it just didn’t work for me here. Just when I thought the movie was over (and a decent ending that would have been), the love story took off and my disbelief was stretched more than spacetime at an event horizon.

Still, the actual ending want terrible, I just want expecting the movie to tear my focus from its attempt at pure logic, to a non sequitur shift to pure emotionalism. Interstellar isn’t the next 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it is a fun ride with a dazzling, if sometimes brutally blunt dash of science thrown in.

Meandering Ponderings: Matter and Time Travel

Contrary to the previous content on my blog, there are other things I do than just watch TV and listen to 90s music. On these sometimes rare occasions, I wonder about things like science, our society, or whether to get frozen or canned vegetables (I’ll save that one for another time).

My recent thoughts have been the implausible notion of time travel and it’s effect on the matter within the universe.

Basically, time travel should be possible if one were to travel faster than the speed of light. That person would then speed ahead of light particles, past ones that occurred in all previous moments, and into the past itself, leaving the present behind.

This leads me to two questions.

The first question I have in this situation is, if I were to speed ahead of light into the past, slow back to normal speed and stay there, would I be able to affect the world and happenings around me, or would I be reviewing a lifeless light show that is barely more than a three-dimensional hologram of the irrevocable past?

This leads to my second and bigger question, which is: is the universe flexible enough that matter can slide around it at will from one time to another, or is matter (or also energy) set firmly within a network of time and space?

I shall begin out of order with the second question and elaborate with an illustration of the issue.

First thing about matter is, it can be neither created nor destroyed. Hold onto that thought.

Imagine the universe as a loaf of freshly baked bread, light, airy, and delicious. It has air pockets and bubbles as well as the soft white fleshy part. Though not with the same proportions, this is like our universe with the galaxies dispersed within the vacuum of space. Everything within that loaf of bread was there in one form or another as an ingredient in the dough from which it rose.

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Now imagine you have a photo of this bread from a few minutes ago and pretend, for the purpose of this example, that that picture is a proxy version of our bread from the past. Pinch a piece of your current loaf (and don’t let your mind wander to nasty thoughts of loaf pinching), and add it to your past-version proxy.

Now we have a paradox. The piece you pinched still exists in the past version, in addition to its future piece at the same time. Furthermore, future version is missing some of its total mass, while the past is in excess.

To be a most accurate example, this all should have happened within the same loaf of bread, but that would be invisible to us, as well as impossible. However, it brings up my point.

The universe has always included the mass that is you, just in different forms. We all came from our parents’ genetic data, and grew in the womb from whatever food our mothers ingested, but that matter has always existed, just as something different throughout time.

If I were to drop dead, my body would remain, it would decompose, its mass continuing to exist as different things. But if I were to pop into the past, our current time would have a void. Like that loaf of bread, there would be a hole in space and my past would have surplus me. So the big question is, space itself is imbalanced, but would time find a way to incorporate excess mass? Does time care? Furthermore, what happens to space if pieces of its mass begin to disappear completely. If humans time traveled en masse, would we leave our present as a crippled universe riddled with holes while we punched holes through the rest of time and space with our travels?

This leads back to my first question. Upon successfully traveling through time, how would our foreign mass interact with its new surroundings? Would we wedge into the current time, stealing space from mass that rightly belonged, or would we be snapped back through time from whence we came, or squeezed out by the time we were invading?

Perhaps I have this all wrong and Time is infinite, and matter can never escape time so it doesn’t matter what chronological sequence it occurs, and rules of causality be damned.

I don’t know. I’m not a scientist, officially. But I’d welcome any insight or discussion on these ponderings.