INTERSTELLAR - A Review by Matt O'Donnell

I grew up loving space. Outer space. That day I first pointed my telescope at Jupiter and Saturn, seeing the Great Red Spot, the bands, the rings, the moons ... these wanderers in the heavens looked more like paintings in the sky. I'll never forget the utter joy and happiness I felt when I first saw them. And how it changed me.

So yeah, I went to see Interstellar. How could I not? My review in a moment. No spoilers, either.

NASA is always fighting to prove its relevancy, ever since the honeymoon of wowing the world and landing a human being on the Moon ended. Why are we spending so much money to float things into space? Isn't it too dangerous? Shouldn't we be spending taxpayers dollars for people at home? Don't we belong here?

Sure, NASA has proven to act like a bloated bureaucracy at times, which is typical when you are part of a massive institution known as the US federal government. When I saw Interstellar this week, I felt as if Christopher Nolan summed up in so few words why NASA has been reaching past our planet's atmosphere - and why the agency, and more broadly we as a planet, should continue.

"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." - Cooper

The Kardashev scale, proposed by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in the 1960's, classifies human civilizations this way:

Type I: Able to utilize all of its home planet's resources

Type II: Able to utilize the energy of the star in its home solar system

Type III: Able to utilize the energy of its home galaxy

The great theoretical physicist Michio Kaku (whom I had the distinct pleasure in meeting one day years ago) says we may not even reach full Type I status until sometime well after 2100 AD. Yes, we as a human race have a long way to go. Don't let all of those iPhones, Segways and wrinkle-free jeans fool you. Our civilization is barely an infant when it comes to advancement.

Do we keep trying? Or is this all there is?

Kings and queens laughed at the European explorers when they announced plans to cross the Atlantic Ocean and see what was on the other side of the water. Heck, at that point in history many were convinced the sailboats would fall off the face of a flat Earth. And yet here we are, living in what is now North America.

It took a Cold War, an intense rivalry with another superpower (USSR) and a charismatic president (JFK) to convince Americans that it was worth sending a man to the Moon - a barren, lifeless, crater-filled low-gravity rock that circles our planet every month or so. And we did. The footprints are supposedly still there.

Will it take a nearly three-hour movie starring the guy who drives Lincolns and plays bongos naked to convince us that it is worth reaching further across our solar system, and maybe even further than that? I think even Christopher Nolan would tell you that's going a bit too far. It is just a film.

But it is spectacular.

Black holes, event horizons, wormholes, distortions of time - these concepts have fascinated me since I was a little boy. They are deeply woven into the fabric of the plot of Interstellar. And as plenty of scientists have already stated, thanks to the help of black hole theorist Kip Thorne, they are presented correctly. You don't need an understanding of Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity to "get" this film, but it would certainly add value.

I truly believe we are on the cusp of great human advancements: cheap space tourism, the curing of multiple diseases, the eradication of hunger, the birth of the first generation to never die, using the power of the Earth's rotation as a dynamo to provide energy, interplanetary colonization, intergalactic travel, invisibility, fully understanding quantum mechanics, understanding the human mind, why we love, why we hurt, why we are here, and most especially:

What we need to do next.

These things interest me, inspire me, confuse me and sometimes downright scare me. Watching Interstellar makes me yearn even more for the answers to these baffling questions and concepts. Paying $14 to see these inspirations come to life on an IMAX screen (yes, you HAVE to see this on IMAX) made me feel like I got quite a bargain. So thanks, Chris.

Two thumbs up, 5 out of 5 stars, I loved it, much better than Cats. If you share any of my fascinations about our world and the outer world we don't know much about yet, than go see Interstellar.

It will bring you hope.

I was not compensated in any way to write this review. I used my own money to see the movie.
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