Ad astra Per Aspara..!
Let me accept one thing. I might go too positive about the movie, partly because it’s a Nolan’s, and part due to it being on a space odyssey, filled with the stuff I love the most — black holes, time travel, the fifth dimension, and much more. One must agree, that the movie being filled with such wonderfully scientific stuff, so precise that the black hole depicted in the movie is now an object of research, is due much to the penchant of Nolan, for having a movie that is as close to scientific actuality as possible, and the scholarly contributions of none other than the CalTech astrophysicist Kip Thorne, one of the persons at the forefront of the research going on the issues.
I’ve never experienced complete silence in the theater, maybe its overly ambitious to even ask for it. But as the movie went by, one could feel that intensity in the hall. Maybe I got too attached, but it was there in general. Everybody around were so immersed, that every nerve wracking maneuver Cooper manages in space brought sighs of relief all around. The whole audience acted as one. I don’t know if there are other movies which got that effect, but I do know something. Such a thing is not so easy to achieve. Maybe, Nolan managed to get that as he strongly believes movies to be a medium of mass communication.
As he is quoted in an article, “At the movies, we’re going to see someone else put on a show, and I feel a responsibility to put on the best show possible.”
As he recounts in the article by Kraus, Nolan’s awe for the space exploration leads way back to when he was 7, with the release of the then classics, Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Eds: Watch them too, if you didn’t.)
“Those two movies — one that helped inaugurate the auteur-driven New Hollywood, and one that inadvertently ushered in the era of the reinvigorated, blockbuster-based studio system — have remained his touchstones, and “Interstellar” represents his opportunity to repay his debt to both of them at the same time.”
If Interstellar is a tribute to those movies which arguably were well beyond their time, then Nolan has indeed made it rich. The movie is a spectacular treat, and no one can deny that.
Maybe he too got carried away by the beauty of those movies. As a child, with all the imaginative prowess we have with us, travelling in space would be something which interests us great, talk about looking over the sheer grandeur of the Sun rising over the horizon of Earth, every inch of which shows life thriving, life spreading about on the planet which we call home. Every inch of it bearing the mark of humanity, bracing itself at times against the fury and at times the love of Nature, mustering all luck it can to lead on a happy, momentous time here.
At one point in the movie, Cooper looks at the Earth from Endurance, and reflects on the loneliness of the planet.
“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.”
A big ball of fire shining in the background, and not a single possibly habitable neighbor around, the planet rotates and revolves… suspended right there in the expansive blackness, dotted sporadically with stars — some bright, some dull, some dense enough to engulf light. Everywhere you see, all one finds is an unending expanse of darkness, so gentle… and as just we are about to drive off further, into that enchanting world, we’d be pulled back by Michael Cain reciting Dylan Thomas…
“Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
But again, as Cooper says in the movie, “Mankind was born on earth, it was never meant to die here.” This is exactly the reason why Cooper and his team leaves out into the darkness, on the spaceship Endurance, following the trails left by those brave souls who ventured before them, years ago.
Humanity has a far much deeper purpose than just living. Maybe, the true meaning of the movie would become something much philosophical, if you try to look for it. And such a look out, would be at totally new levels with Nolan.
Part of the reason his work has done so well at the box office is that his audience members — and not just his fans, but his critics — find themselves watching his movies twice, or three times, bleary-eyed and shivering in their dusky light, hallucinating wheels within wheels and stopping only to blog about the finer points.
All this apart, I intended this post to be a cue for at least a few to go and watch the movie. So, I tried my best not to include any major spoilers in here. It is one of those movies which actually leaves something deep within you stirred. Its one of those which can pacify a turbulent mind. Its one of those which would tell its audience to actually “live” their lives. Maybe no dialogues would be exchanged in these lines, but as I’ve told you before, Nolan leaves us with a lot to speculate upon.
Its Life that thrives in the vibrant halls of all alike,
Its that Life, which designs
Your chills the night past
And the thrills of the coming ‘morrow.
It’s that very Life, which took its breath from dust
As a Phoenix that rises from the ashes,
And dust it shall reduce to,
For after all, a Bang was all it took…!
Yes, it all began, with just one Bang, and in the end, we are all nothing but stardust, a mere result of one singularity deciding at the right time to follow the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Yeah, the law traces back there… or probably even further, if at all we find out..!
P.S. : For the citations in italics alone, please refer to this article. (Heck, do it anyway. Its too good to be left unread.) The bold italic font represents the dialogues from the movie.