Sci-fi Beckons

InterstellarImage: interstellarmovie.net

Let’s talk about Interstellar. Even before the film came out, I was already a Christopher Nolan fan. I loved The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception. When I found out that the director/ screenwriter/ producer had released another movie, I was obviously intrigued. The teaser trailer only added to this intrigue. The visuals of Endurance spinning in space were enough to give me goosebumps.

This was also at a time I was falling in love with science fiction. I was loving movies like the Star Trek remake, Cloud Atlas, Prometheus, Ender’s Game, Edge Of Tomorrow, Predestination, and the list goes on. So I obviously couldn’t wait to watch a Nolan sci-fi.

When I saw Interstellar, it was a love story. Let me break down the reasons why I loved the movie.

Science fact

The physics of Interstellar was based on real science. Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist was a consultant and executive producer for the film. I always love it when I can learn something from a movie. It ceases to be just two plus hours of frivolous distraction.

I found the physics of wormholes, black holes and gravitational time dilation quite fascinating. For the layman, these are exotic concepts for sure, but the idea that such phenomena exist or could exist is thought-provoking at the very least.

Movies based on science fact are somewhat realistic, smart and intellectually stimulating. This also guarantees a more subtle sci-fi film.

I loved the subtlety. Laser beams, space warping ships, space battles and exotic looking aliens were traded for spectacular visuals of a wormhole, black hole, Saturn, waves the size of mountains on Miller’s Planet and frozen clouds on Mann’s Planet.

The plot was also clean and logical. Some aspects of it may have been hard to grasp, but it was based on logic. Knowing this, the viewer does not quickly disregard the inexplicable parts as pointless nonsense unworthy of further consideration. Instead, these incomprehensible scenes become points of investigation for the real fan.

This realism gives substance to a movie, because the viewer leaves the theater actually having learned something about the universe.

I also wanted to lend this realism into my book. I decided to base my science fiction novel on actual science.

Emotion

Interstellar was moving at times. And because of the fantastic acting and soundtrack, it was convincing. I can recall a few scenes;

  • When Cooper and Amelia Brand returned (to Endurance) from the mishap on Miller’s Planet after twenty three years had passed on Earth (because of time relativity), and Cooper was going through years of video messages from his kids.
  • When Murphy learns from a dying Prof. Brand that the gravity equation would not get them off Earth, and she relays this information to Amelia. The scene following Amelia and Cooper’s receipt of Murphy’s message was quite powerful.
  • The final scene when Cooper sees Murphy on her deathbed.

Like all writers, I’m sure; I wanted to express such powerful emotions in my writing. To help me achieve this, I would, whenever possible base a characters emotions on how I felt in a similar situation. I would dig deeply and honestly. Taking time to empathise with a character is also incredibly helpful.

High stakes

I love epic tales; and what is more epic than the world being at stake? Basically, the goal of the Endurance mission was to save humanity from extinction.

I like it when a story is bigger than the protagonist; when the protagonist’s decisions have major world ramifications. The reader is more on the edge of their seat. They pay close attention to the protagonist’s every move because the consequences of their actions are monumental, and maybe irreversible.

If the Endurance Mission failed, all humanity would be lost. With every mishap, the likelihood of failure (and the viewer’s anxiety) increases. Even the most minor conversations, decisions and actions become thrilling because they have huge consequences.

High stakes usually guarantee the thrill, pace, desperation and maybe even violence we expect from science fiction.

I also wanted the stakes to be high in my book. I wanted to give the protagonist a greater purpose than just saving themselves or a loved one.

Beautiful dialogue

The dialogue was beautiful and smart; the stuff of goosebumps.

They are beings of five dimensions. To them, time might be another physical dimension. To them, the past might be a canyon that they can climb into, and the future, a mountain they can climb up – Dr Amelia Brand, Interstellar.

Pray you never learn just how good it can be to see another face. I hadn’t a lot of hope to begin with, but after so long I had none. My supplies were completely exhausted. The last time I went to sleep, I didn’t even set a waking date. You have literally raised me from the dead – Dr Mann, Interstellar.

Because he knew how hard it would be to get people to work together to save the species instead of themselves, or their children. You never would have come here unless you believed you were gonna save them. Evolution has yet to transcend that simple barrier. We can care deeply, selflessly about those we know, but that empathy rarely extends beyond our line of sight – Dr Mann, Interstellar.

Don’t judge me Cooper. You were never tested like I was. A few men have been. You’re feeling it aren’t you; your survival instinct. That’s what drove me. That’s what drives all of us. And it’s what’s gonna save us. Because I’m gonna save all of us; for you Cooper – Dr Mann, Interstellar.

Just to quote a few.

I wanted my book to be filled with beautiful, smart and original dialogue. Movies like Interstellar show me the possibilities.

Other reasons I loved Interstellar:

  • Amazing visuals and soundtrack.
  • Fantastic acting.

If I could have been granted one wish, it would have been that Christopher Nolan would one day adapt my book for the big screen.

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