After seeing the wonderfully silly sci-fi blockbuster Interstellar, I have decided not to go into space for the following reasons:
1. Space travel is like riding the subway for 300 years and getting off in Greenland.
2. How many times can you look out the window and say, “Earth looks so small”?
3. Your average space station is basically a dorm room at a really nerdy college, so imagine the smell.
Still, I enjoyed Interstellar, because it’s like a science fair project by the third-brightest kid in the 11th grade: it’s very earnest about the future of humanity, and it dares to inspire the following questions:
1. What would happen if we shot Matthew McConaughey through a wormhole in the time/space continuum? Would he remain tan? Would he still seem like an affable stoner trying to solve Rubik’s Cube?
2. Who maintains Anne Hathaway’s early-Liza bangs while she’s travelling to Saturn? Does the onboard robot have a styling function? Anne is totally adorable as a spunky scientist, but do we ever really believe that a movie star has a doctorate?
3. Is Anne deliberately dressed as Taylor Swift in the Shake It Off video, in a black top and black leggings? Doesn’t this outfit demand a beret? Even in zero gravity?
4. Is it an essential law of quantum physics that minority actors get eliminated first?
5. When Jessica Chastain stands at a blackboard scribbling an endless scientific formula, just like Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, did she want to add, “And have a great spring break everyone, and come back ready to learn!”?
6. Did director Christopher Nolan feel that only recent Oscar winners could save the human race? On the set, did Matthew and Anne refuse to eat lunch with Jessica, because she’s only been a nominee?
Sci-fi movies most often come in two categories: with aliens and without. The non-alien movies are usually inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, and ask important questions about time travel and faith, while the with-alien movies, which are inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek, require Tom Cruise to ingeniously defeat something much taller than he is, aside from the female lead. Interstellar is one of the more serious movies which still feature spacecrafts with tons of blinking lights and digital readouts, all of which are clearly powered by two D batteries. Interstellar follows a batch of intrepid space travellers, as they seek a new planet which can sustain life, and I kept waiting for Anne to say, “Let’s find a really fun planet, with outlet stores! Does Jupiter have a hipster-y downtown, with lots of funky shops and cafes?”
Because space travel takes such a long time, every sci-fi movie includes a set of sleeping pods, which always look like tanning beds, or that hyperbaric chamber which Michael Jackson used for naps. The astronauts in Interstellar are first zippered into large plastic bags and then lowered into water, as if they were DelMonte products being shipped across country. After many years of intergalactic slumber, they wake up looking exactly the same, and when the crew finds additional pods on another planet, I was sure they’d defrost them and Susan Lucci or Jaclyn Smith would pop up.
Because Christopher Nolan is a masterful director, Interstellar looks amazing, but I started to hope that maybe Jabba the Hutt or Leonard Nimoy might drop by. Because, while I know that searching for real estate in other solar systems is a life-or-death matter, I wish that Interstellar had taken an HGTV Househunters approach, where the earthlings could’ve been shown three possible new planets, and then picked one, even if it needed a new kitchen and an updated powder room. I wanted Matthew and Anne to decide, “Pluto is really us” and have a housewarming, if you ask me.