Lacey and Alex explore HOW MUCH THEY LOVE THE MOVIE INTERSTELLAR… or do they?!
𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕊𝕪𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕤 is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.
Hey, folks, this is Alexander Winn.
Hey, I’m Lacey Hannan.
And we are watching the latest episode of The Synthesis which started a couple of seconds. sooner than we thought it would. Welcome to the show. This week we are talking about Interstellar, the 2014 film by Chris Nolan. But before we get to that, we have a an exciting announcement, which is that all of you who have been watching the synthesis on YouTube, and especially who have been watching it on YouTube Live, you are going to have a new way to listen to the synthesis, which is that we are releasing it as a podcast. Starting to starting tonight, basically tomorrow, we will be releasing episodes of the synthesis three each week, as we catch back up to where we are now on iTunes and Spotify and all the places that you get your podcasts. So be sure to check it out. If you are listening to this as a podcast, know that we are talking to you from the past. And we hope that the future is working out well. like it did in interstellar.
My my Notes app is just not killing it today. So we’re gonna see how this goes guys. I know I’m I’m killing it
to do a bit of backstory for this particular movie, just so everybody knows the journey that we’ve been on. Lacey and I really wanted to see Interstellar in theaters when it when it came out. We were both really excited. And we kept deciding, oh, we’re gonna go this weekend, and then something would come up and then we’re gonna go next week, and then something would come up. And then finally it wasn’t in theaters anymore. And then it came out on, you know, iTunes and all that. And we were like, Oh, we should print that and
and part of it was really like this. This really seems like a movie we should watch on like the big screen. Yeah. So like, we have to figure out how to watch it on a bigger screen than our TV at home.
And I think they even like rereleased it in theaters a couple of times. We’re like, Oh, great. We can finally watch it on the big screen. And then we didn’t do that. And
everybody’s like, you guys are gonna love this movie. Yeah. So this movie was super hyped for us.
Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s been seven years. Wow. Yeah, that’s crazy.
And then we started getting to a point where we didn’t really want to watch it because I’d been hyped. Yeah. And, you know, we’d seen some reviews.
Yeah, yeah, there was there was a little bit of there was curiosity, but a little bit of fear, a little trepidation. The other thing to note, as we talk about this, of course, the synthesis is a show where we not only talk about entertainment, we talk about how scientifically accurate it is. And after we watched Interstellar, I was doing some research on some of the science. And I discovered that there’s a guy out there who was the scientific consultant on Interstellar, and who has subsequently written a book called The science of interstellar, in which he sort of justifies a lot of stuff that people a lot that people generally say was unscientific and explain some things they might not realize they’re scientific. And anyway, he has apparently responded to a lot of reviews about it, talking about the scientific accuracy. So if anybody finds our bodies, dead with a Nobel Prize sticking out of our corpse know that it was Kip Thorne, Caltech physicist and Interstellar consultant, who, by the way, three years after Interstellar, came out won a Nobel Prize, along with ranier, Vice or Weiss and Barry C. bearish and I love the name Barry c bearish for and I quote, decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves. So rock on Kip Thorne, congratulations on your Nobel Prize, and I’m sorry if I say anything that makes you mad.
I’m surprised that Interstellar had a consultant. So that’s where we’re starting from we we are going to do our best to not just hate on this movie. There. There are things that there there are things that I will point out some of the stuff that I loved, but it’s not the science, so buckle up.
Yeah. If you’re watching this live, be sure to chime in in the comments and let us know Are you an interstellar super fan? Or do you think that Interstellar was super overrated? Have you not seen it? Where do you stand on Interstellar cars? Yeah, Lacey and I we had decisive opinions.
Wait before we do and I think that we would love to answer what do we think of JJ Abrams? But because this podcast this this episode could go so quickly down the we hate everything. Yeah, rabbit hole. We should not answer. That question.
Yeah, I went on a bit of a rant yesterday during the terrigenesis q&a about JJ Abrams, which I assume is where this question is coming from. Because in an hour long q&a, I think I spent about 20 minutes of it just ranting about how much I hate JJ Abrams. So if that wasn’t where this question came from, then you are you are really on the ball. But yeah,
I’ve worked with them.
What’s not my favorite JJ Abrams? Yeah, Lacey Lacey worked with him as a as an actress.
So that was my summer. No, it was fine. Yeah.
Okay, let’s talk about Interstellar. Yes. Okay. So right off the top. I love I really thought that I was gonna love this movie, because I love how many questions that they just like they bring up for the audience. Okay, so we’ve got the some of these quotes. He was a farmer like everyone else. Excuse me what this is not this is not a job that most people do let alone everyone.
Well, especially because he was a farmer, like everyone else back then, is the full line which is, which is sets up this interesting dichotomy because on the one hand, it this movie opens in a fairly, like, not quite apocalyptic, but sort of, like, bordering on post apocalyptic world, but at the same time, the first line of the film implies that things get better. Yeah, so we’re not actually supposed to think that the world is ending because clearly, this old person survived it and is speaking of it in the past tense,
right? And like, he, he is he’s farming corn, like the rest of us. What does that mean? The the airforce drone, who just takes off after an Air Force drone like that to the point of ruining crops, and probably your truck, when we’re in a in a world that these are, your truck is going to be highly important. This is this is a valuable, valuable thing to own right. So I found, I felt like I found all of the questions to be fun and interesting, because in our world, if you were to attempt to take down an Airforce drone, the Air Force would come look for you. And so I’m sitting here going, what did they think they’re going to? He thinks he’s going to do something
and hack it. And especially because of the Indian Air Force, it’s not even the American Air Force. This is clearly something that like they just the airspace is not particularly well patrolled. Right.
So the fact that we’ve got all of these questions that are just, hey, here’s the thing about this world. I love being thrown into a world I think that is I think that’s one of my favorite things is when people are like, I will help you understand this. But you we’re going to drop you into the world page one. And there’s something about being wrapped up in it that is just really fun. And I don’t I have an escapist so like, give me give me the ability to escape. And this is one great way of doing it. And so I got really excited. Also, I want to know where the film was. Filmed. Yeah. Because it was beautiful. This is not this is not the the corn state that I am used to. Nebraska is flat and boring. Iowa somehow is greener, and so it’s a little less boring. I don’t know. There’s just like it’s you can love the prairie and I do and still think that every so often driving down I 80 through all of the cornfields it can get a little boring right but this was not the mountains of the background. Oh, stunning. Well,
I mean the visuals in the whole movie are incredible. You know, the the cornfield is is gorgeous, but also is sort of the least of the gorgeous scenes. And it’s like you know, the the ice planet, presumably filmed in like Greenland or something was incredible. The probably the most famous image from this movie is the black hole, which was done using crazy scientific calculations to render what a black hole would actually look like. And it was gorgeous wormhole.
The images of Saturn I think that was probably my favorite. I almost cried. Yeah, we went by Saturn because it was just stunning. Gorgeous.
So you know, there, there are some things that I love, but they pretty much show up at the beginning, or they’re the imagery. So you know, there’s that I just from of film thing I am really sick of and I feel like sci fi does this a lot because a rival does it too. But Christopher Nolan did it in Dunkirk, which is the dialogue is so quiet and the action scenes are so loud Yeah. So you’re constantly playing with the remote trying to not like blow out your speakers.
The audio compression is the I feel like people are sort of not doing audio compression anymore. Like a lot of movies these days, the the loud is really loud and the quiet is really quiet. And I guess it’s supposed to make it feel more epic and real, I guess. But it’s more intimate and the dialogue scenes but for me, I mean, I know that I don’t have perfect hearing, but I want to be able to hear the movie. Yeah. And I mean, I guess I I’ll turn on subtitles. But there’s a certain amount to which we did
actually watching this movie, like two thirds of the way in, we finally were just like, I guess we just need to turn on subtitles because some of these scenes. Well, I understand that. But you know, we talked about Michael Cera being like the king of mumblecore. But I would like to nominate Matthew McConaughey because oh my god, speak up, enunciate. Like you’re an actor, we are taught how to do these things. And I get it. It’s supposed to be we’re not living in the time of Stanislavski we are living in a time of Hyper Realism in terms of acting and the stories that we tell and stuff like that. So but, you know, we’re also taught by our mothers to speak up. Unless it’s just my mom. I don’t know. But I there. So there were a couple of just like film problems. Script wise. I, I read I skipped the science part four now.
Yeah, we’re gonna circle back around to the science later in the show.
But I found that the dialogue was hybrid melodramatic. And I struggled with that because it was just felt unnecessary. That you know that. So we’re not going to do this in chronological order. There’s no point. that argument with Matt Damon, Dr. Ma’am, that his name. Come on. Like, I feel like that was. I don’t I’m trying to find the right word. It’s sort of too hard.
They tried too hard. And it’s sort of the, you know, people make fun of movies in general, especially sort of spy films and superhero films for bad guys who monologue. And that’s what that was like. It was literally just the bad guy pontificating on his his worldview about instinct and survival ism. And it was practically a soliloquy.
Like, it was. It was Matthew McConaughey. His character didn’t need to be there. And it just it felt it felt forced and I was not into it. And it’s that’s just one of many melodramatic moments.
I didn’t really know what to do with Anne Hathaway’s speech about how love is the only thing that can transcend time and space and that like we didn’t invent love, it must be an artifact of a higher dimension.
I mean, I, I get that not everybody’s as into like neuro chemistry as I am. But no, we did invent love, like love is a thing that happens in the brain. It’s you can you can reproduce it chemically. It’s not the the artifact of a higher dimension. And the the one that really just lost me was when the computer tells him that’s not possible. And Cooper responds, no, it’s necessary. And I just wanted the computer to be like, I don’t think you know what possible, man, I don’t care if it’s necessary. That’s not the you you still can’t do it even if it’s necessary, right?
Yeah, I just there, there were, you know, and there were these arguments that were so like about the poetry that it didn’t really feel like they ever got to their point in a way that made sense. I don’t know how many of you have seen the very old movie Adam’s Rib, which they should someday make a remake retitle it, it’s it’s a men versus women.
battle of the sexes battle
of the sexes. It’s a husband and wife were lawyers and are on opposite sides of the same case. And it’s fun. My biggest problem with it is the the woman’s arguments are not well executed. And I feel like this movie continually doesn’t execute its arguments. And I which means that, I guess what people are trying to say, and I think I’m right. But you could have done better, you know, and I just, I wanted it to be elevated and I didn’t feel like I felt like they tried to elevate it by making it. Like really hyper intellectual without actually when you’re when you’re doing that and not making your point. That then you’re you’re failing, and it’s okay. It’s frustrating,
you know, it’s okay to just be poetic you know, the the thing of speech from Anne Hathaway about love being an artifact of a higher dimension, you didn’t need to frame it in the language of science, like just have have it be a speech about the power of love to motivate people that we are social animals. And love will always be the most powerful driving force in our behavior. That’s all you need. You don’t need to frame it in the language of quantum physics to make it profound. And I just I found that there were, there were a bunch of moments in this that, that they tried to draw profound meaning from things that didn’t mean that, you know, starting with, for example, there’s a very powerful scene very early in the film that used it in pretty much every trailer for this movie, where his daughter is sort of pouting and she asked, why did you name me after something bad and he said Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. It just means that whatever can happen will happen. That’s not what Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s law means. If something can go wrong, it will. You can’t change the meaning of a thing, and then draw a profound message from the meaning of that thing, like, make up a new phrase. Don’t make it Murphy’s Law. Yeah.
I have to say, when it comes to the daughter, I loved all of the actresses who play the Dodgers. They’re incredible. I thought, so apparently, it was supposed to be a boy. Really? Yeah, the way that so Christopher Nolan’s brother, john, who has since passed away, he wrote it as, as a son. And when Nolan came in to direct it, which apparently wasn’t just a given, he changed it. Because his thought was, we’ve seen a lot of men and are like, fathers and the way they shaped their sons lives. But we don’t have a lot of fathers and daughters, and you expect to be protected, and then suddenly, they’re gone. And I had a little bit of a problem with that, quote, yeah, but you know, whatever. And so I, you know, I liked this, this relationship that they had built up. A, it’s interesting, especially when in in comparison to the brother and his relationship to his son. I did not grow up with any siblings in the household, and neither did he. So the concept of like, he’s playing favorites pretty, pretty heavily. Which, you know, it’s a movie, whatever. But I was really taken aback by that. And I, I, I had a moment of Oh, my God, like, I’ve heard of this happening, but like, does it really happen? Do people really do that? So, you know, I’m curious if anybody has, if anybody wants to tell me about their trauma, sorry.
But well, I mean, all the performances in this movie were awesome. You know, the, of course, the scene. Almost all the performances in this movie, were awesome. Of course, the scene of Matthew McConaughey watching 23 years worth of his children’s lives, that is heartbreaking, heartbreaking and perfect. And he just nails it. In fact, I actually turned to Lacey afterward. And I said, I bet and I don’t I have no way of proving this. But my spidey sense tells me that that was the scene that this movie was based on that like somebody had an idea of this guy watching the home videos of the kids, he didn’t get to watch grow up. And they built a movie about that.
And I would, I would have said that that has to be true, because it’s such an incredible scene, except for we learned that it’s the scientist. What’s his name? Kip Thorne. Kip Thorne, who pitched to the idea he was the one who had the idea first, so
it’s not actually the case. But it really feels that way as it’s just sort of the emotional pivot point of the whole film. Matthew McConaughey does a great job. I mean, Jessica
Chastain is great in this movie. Anne Hathaway like they’re all they do good jobs with their characters.
I just just I don’t like a lot of their characters. I don’t think a lot of their characters are very well done. But I love the Poltergeist stuff. I love that this the daughter is like I have a poltergeist. I mean, I’ve had a poltergeist True story. Our producer knows she witnessed it. I’m not lying. Not terrifying. A little disconcerting. And it happened for I would, I would say, seven, eight years, something like that. So I was really into the idea that that we were going to have a little bit of not not like true sci fi, like horror, sci fi, but just to have a juxtaposition and they pretty quickly took that away. Yeah. Which is fine. You know, it’s fine. I will tell that story someday. Now, it’s not really time. Yeah, but one of the other things that I, I found, just like on a personal note, in watching this movie, it was so bizarre to watch this movie during the pandemic for the first time, because you see them putting on their masks and all of this stuff. And I know it’s because of the dust storms. But it’s a different cause a very familiar behavior.
Yeah. And it felt really, like, weird. And I felt seen by a movie that was made in the past. And it just kind of, I don’t know, it made me really uncomfortable, but in kind of a fun way. And that’s nothing that the movie could have predicted, obviously. But just a matter of timing,
I suppose. Well, you know, the Poltergeist, this is one of those things that again, I don’t like saying bad things about movies, I actually struggle with criticizing movies a lot. I like to like things and I don’t like talking people out of it. But like, one of the things that I was just left kind of shaking my head about is they established that she thinks she’s got a ghost. And, and the dad is just not believing it. Because you know, he’s a man of science and all that. And then there’s a gravitational anomaly in that room, that he gets really fascinated by and realizes that its coordinates and he follows those coordinates. And it turns out to be a real place. And so clearly, like, something’s up like there, there is a thing that is happening in that room, some kind of gravitational anomaly with an actual message that leads to an actual place, this is a real thing. And then he comes back, and she says, my culture, my Poulter goat. Poltergeist sent me another message, and he just like, rolls his eyes, and then moves on. And it’s like, what? Like, you already decoded the last message from this ghost, you don’t think that it’s possible that he sent a follow up? Like, how is that that just doesn’t track for me? Like, I want to know how a gravitational pull happens specifically in this room and not in the room below it. Yeah, it’s not that you know.
I really struggled with a lot of that stuff. Like the the gravitational pull thing because what we get at the end is okay, are there two answers to what’s happening in her room? Is it is it that he is doing a bunch of the stuff he’s, he’s doing the books and whatnot. I guess he’s doing the dust as well. But it sounds like this has been going on for a while. And like other things have been falling off and breaking
that’s actually an interesting point. He she specifically says this ghost has been happening for a little while at the beginning of the film, and the only things that we see him do in the film are the stuff that we saw on camera we didn’t see him create any effects that she was already he doesn’t do anything to the combines with the combine is common. Supposedly, it’s because of a gravitational pole.
I guess maybe we’re supposed to assume that it’s, it’s the, the aliens the future humans, like sort of setting up this experiment that they they created the bridge, and so it created some weird stuff. And then he used the bridge to send a message. I don’t know. It’s not explained.
It feels like we’re reaching. Yeah, yeah. I don’t know. There’s okay.
I don’t know which one of these four I will say first of all, I do like that they they touched on some real honest to goodness, what we do today science, which we know about firsthand, the the GPS workings of a combine. We have a friend who is a farmer and Denmark and he is a he’s got like his master’s in agriculture, where we were high tech farmer. Yeah. And it’s incredible. We were down in New Zealand and he came down to work on some farms and look at management’s and all of that stuff. And one day he was showing us like how he could hop on to this software. And from
space like he essentially he could see where these carbines were in Denmark, and he could plan a route for them, then, and he could base that on what he’s seeing from the satellite images, not just what he’s seeing. They had a system where you could tell the computer what is being grown, and the computer knows what shade of green, that plant is from space, and then it would map out the path of the machine to go through the field. And it could put different amounts of fertilizer in different portions of the field based on the green pattern, and where different plants needed different amounts of
fertilizer and Do you see like a glimpse of that in this because they’re not manned. They, he says that he was able to, like reboot their all of their GPS systems and like, whatever, which is cool. So like, there was this moment of Oh, that exists in the world. And we don’t, you know, I don’t think you see as much of it, at least where I’m from in the US of unmanned combines, but, you know, they’re coming, you know, in 15 years, it’s gonna be
Oh, that’s gonna just be the norm. Anybody actually in the combine is going to be like, quirky old. Yeah, guy hadn’t updated with the times.
Doesn’t want to do it. But okay, I have to tell you something I’m really mad about. I know. There’s something every time But listen, you guys, how is it that in every, every fucking space movie, there’s a drowning scene?
How was this possible?
I don’t, I don’t, I don’t understand. And I would really like, I want to start calling it a cliche, so that people feel bad when they do it. In movies. I need to get this out there.
That is just not a fan of drowning.
I mean, who is
I am terrified of drowning. Thus, the scuba certification, which I think we’ve talked about when we talked about gravity. I can’t handle it. And I’m, I’m done with it. So if anybody would like to be out there on Twitter with me, mocking the movies that come out with this. Let’s just say we could tag team maybe and just make people feel stupid for putting it in their movies.
Yeah. No more sci fi movies with drowning? No, loud.
Crystal Mighty No.
Guys, I can’t I cannot. They did. Can I, I can I tell you they did something to me that flabbergasted me and I, you know, I kind of appreciate it. And I also totally love it. Which is for the first time ever. I understood the, the how anti science people feel. Like, actively and with great Nxd I had a reaction of like, you guys, oh, this none of the science is believable. So I think you’re full of bullshit. And I, I hate you.
And to be clear, I think what what Lacey saying is, I don’t buy it. And therefore I think it’s objectively untrue. Yes, that’s, which is what anti vaxxers do. Like, it’s something you know, at a certain point, I don’t believe in ghosts. And therefore, I think your ghost sighting isn’t true. that’s reasonable. But there is a point at which it doesn’t matter. If you don’t find it believable. It might still be true, like vaccines don’t cause autism, right? climate change is real. These are things that are objectively true, they can be proven with evidence and the fact that you personally don’t believe it is irrelevant. But Lacey was saying after this movie, that was her sort of takeaway was a lot of the science in this movie. I don’t believe it. And therefore, I’m just assuming it’s not true.
And and what I realized, what separates me from people that are anti science is, in the real world, people have built we have built up lots of trusts, the scientific community has, has done their due diligence to prove that they are not full of shit. Nolan did not do that. Yeah. And my, my trust wasn’t there. There was no reason to trust any of the science of this movie. And I am so I’m mad that I understood the anti science people for a brief second before I logic my way out of feeling like I’m a part of that group at all. Well, that is a perfect segue into talking about the science of the Martian. But first, I want to address a comment from one of our viewers, Rylan chimed in that there was no drowning in the Martian. And I just have to correct you there. Actually, there wasn’t in the film. But in the book of the Martian, there is actually a scene where he talks about making the bathtub and taking a bunch of Vicodin to help with his back and he had he expressed his worry that he might pass out in his bathtub and drown on Mars. So he says
Mark Watney almost drowned space.
He says, re to drowning. No drowning in the Martian. Okay. Yeah, maybe I misinterpreted if you were saying that. There is a drowning in the Martian then you you go for it. But yeah, this is the fourth thing that we’ve talked about on the synthesis. We did Apollo 13. We did gravity, we did the Martian, and now we’re doing Interstellar. And yeah, there actually is in the book of the Martian, a reference to the potential for drowning on Mars. So that’s three out of four so far. Please is not a fan. Not I can’t watch people.
But that being said, so when it comes to I have one question for you. Yes. Be so This. This. This is I this is a big question, I think. Before you get into the science, okay, this is philosophy of humans. Okay. There’s this quote, now our brand at edge works is that we are explorers. And we think that it’s innate to, to the human experience. But there’s a quote, that is we’re explorers and pioneers, not caretakers. Cooper says that to his father in law, Father, father in law, whatever, in law,
I think, when they’re sitting on the porch, I think it’s saying it to his father in law. What do you think of that?
Yeah, I completely disagree. I think that a big part of the reason humans are explorers, is because we are caretakers, because we are always looking for ways to provide for our family, we, you know, when we say humans are explorers, we don’t just mean that guy wandered off into the forest and was never seen, again, what we mean is that guy wandered off into the forest, and then came back five years later, with all these stories and resources, and, you know, whatever it was that he went off to find, he found it and he brought it back, coming back is a necessary part of being an explorer. Otherwise, you’re just a wanderer. And to me, that is an act of caretaking, you’re bringing things back to society. You know, there’s another quote in interstellar that that dovetails with that nicely, which is, I think it’s Cooper is talking about how, you know, people are empathetic, but he says that empathy rarely extends beyond our line of sight, man, and I just thought, that is Yeah, was that man. So that is the absolute antithesis of the Martian, we actually talked about how the, the ending of the Martian the book, The final thing, on the last page of that book is about how people will come to each other’s aid, people have a natural instinct to look out for each other. And every human is at least a little bit invested in the well being of total strangers. And it’s this incredibly hopeful and optimistic statement about humanity. And I think, born out of objectively by human history, you know, people have looked out for strangers all the time, you can look up any number of stories about like, you know, Native Americans raising $1,000, to send to Ireland during the Irish potato famine, and like all these stories of people looking out for complete strangers. And so I found that, yeah, the the philosophy behind Interstellar was surprisingly cynical. It was like, and it doesn’t, it’s not.
It’s not truthful to the story itself. Why does he do this? Why does he go into space? He’s not doing it for himself. He’s not doing it to sate his own curiosity. Right now he’s doing it because he wants better for his family.
Yeah. And for everyone, like, clearly somebody who’s not just looking out for his family and looking out for the world, he keeps talking about how we have to go back and save everybody back on Earth. And that is being a caretaker. Yes, that’s what that is.
Yeah. So I just, I needed to, I needed to hear you talk about it, but launch into the science.
So on the science, you know, at edge works, and here at the synthesis, we have this interesting dichotomy where, or not even that interesting, we have what was previously a clear dichotomy between things that are scientifically accurate and things that are not. And obviously there’s a spectrum, you know, there are things that are kind of scientifically accurate, we talked about how on the Martian, it’s mostly scientifically accurate, but the dust storm at the beginning was not, but generally, if you pick out any one thing, it’ll fall somewhere on a spectrum of scientifically accurate or not, and man, Interstellar is kind of all over the place. Like it, this movie is often held up as a very grounded realistic take. It’s got a lot of things that it holds up as being very scientific. And of course, Kip Thorne, out there, Nobel Prize winning scientist, worked on the movie came up with part of the idea for the movie. There’s actually a funny story out there about how the, the image of the black hole in interstellar was the most accurate image that anyone had ever generated of a black hole. Because film studios have more money than universities. And so they were able to get like the computing power necessary to generate this incredibly realistic image that no university had ever had the resources to do.
That’s awesome. You know, the images of Saturn were gorgeous. Like, there were so many things in this, apparently I don’t know, quantum physics and associated calculations, but apparently the image of the wormhole is pretty much exactly what a wormhole would look like. On the visual level. There are so many things about this movie that are dead on just perfect. And then they do this other stuff that’s just so out of left field wrong. Like, even Kip Thorne I did have to chuckle Kip Thorne. If you read interviews I’ve read like just today I read like eight interviews with Kip Thorne about Interstellar. And you can tell this guy has both professional and emotional investment in interstellar being scientifically accurate. And even Kip Thorne said that he cringes every time he sees the the spaceship brush up against a frozen cloud.
You guys, you know what happens when water freezes in the sky? It snows. Like this is not an alien phenomenon. This is what happens when when ice forms in the sky. It falls down. Like how did you what is that seriously a thing that is in a in a movie that people are expected to watch and buy into? Like their things? It you keep going back and forth? Apparently so you know, giving credit where credit is due? There is actually the possibility of a planet orbiting so close to a black hole that one minute on. What is it one one minute on the on the nose? One hour on the planet is seven years back on Earth. Apparently, when the movie first came out, a lot of people came out and said, hey, that’s not possible that amount of time dilation is not possible. And Kip Thorne actually came back and said, yes, it is here’s the math, I did the math, and everybody kind of had to retract that.
So when you read interviews about Interstellar, that is actually a thing you’ll see retractions about the fact that that planet couldn’t exist. But what that’s brushing past is, no one could stand on that planet. If you’re orbiting that close to a black hole, you would die so fast, you would be covered in so many x rays, and the amount of gravity that your body would be just absolutely torn apart. There’s actually, in the world of funny English words, there’s a word called spaghettification, which people talk about relevant to black holes. And what that is, the idea is that gravity gets weaker by distance, right, we all sort of intuitively know that the further you get away from a star, the less the stars, gravity is affecting you, right? Specifically, gravity grows weaker by the inverse square of distance.
So what that means is that if you double the distance, the amount of gravity goes down to a quarter of what it would be, right? Now generally, that’s not a negligible, you know, amount of change, you know, the, the amount of distance between your feet and the sun and your head and the sun is point 0000000, on and on and on and on and on 1%, who cares. But the amount of gravity that’s put out by a black hole is so huge, that you actually get to a point where the amount of distance between your head and the black hole and your feet and the black hole is actually significant that your head is experiencing a lot more gravity than your feet. And what happens when your head is experiencing more gravity than your feet while your head starts to get pulled toward the black hole. But what happens when your head gets pulled toward the black hole, it’s now even closer to the black hole, which means even more gravity is being exerted on your head that isn’t being exerted on your feet. And so any object that gets within a certain range of a black hole starts to get stretched out. And they literally call it spaghettification because like Slender Man, they look like Slender Man. Yeah, like whatever the object is, you can literally imagine getting stretched out by the by the force of gravity. And of course, people don’t stretch real well. People are not very stretchy. And so what would actually happen is that you would just get ripped apart. That’s what would happen if you stand on this planet. If you go to a planet where the time dilation is so intense because you’re so close to a black hole, which is possible. Thank you for the Kip Thorne. You would die. So that is sort of the weird Lacey’s over here literally crying with laughter I think and how it worked up I’m getting
No, it’s it’s combination of that and so flow totally seeing right through me.
Ah, yes. soflo trash panda in the comment says I can see I love this nerd on Lacey’s face it yep, that’s, that’s what that look is.
Yeah. And also I’m totally laughing at him. So it’s a combination of things, but that’s absolutely good. Get
I just I found myself bouncing back and forth and having this really weird reaction to this movie because on the one hand, it presents itself as a peer of the Martian. Like, it presents itself as a very grounded, very realistic science fiction story. But then on a really regular basis, it’s throwing stuff at us that is sort of like, I could have told you, that’s not a thing in middle school. Like, that’s not how that works. Everybody knows that if you get close to a black hole, you die. And you know, those sorts of things. And so yeah, and so I was doing research into the scientific aspects. And I’m, I’m, I’m gonna rain in my rant here and address some of the more specific things. I recognize that I am deep nerd. And that is not a standard that I hold a lot of people. Like I recognize whenever I watch a sci fi movie that I am bringing more to it, than the filmmakers mean for me to Yes. And oftentimes, that’s fine. You know, when I watched Stargate, the science in Stargate is a joke. But that’s fine, because that’s not what they were going for. They were going for an epic adventure. And it’s fun, and it’s awesome. But this movie does seem to present itself as a scientifically grounded story. So for example, one of the first things that I bumped on in this movie is the blight. And this is actually an interesting choice. And I feel like part of it was minus understanding, or at least the misunderstanding of people who talked about this movie to me, because I had always been under the impression that Interstellar was set in a world in which climate change had ruined the world. And that’s actually not true.
They don’t talk about climate change in this movie, the the the dire ecological straits that Earth is in has nothing to do with climate change, or carbon emissions are rising temperatures are rising sea levels, or any of that those things that we all sort of expect to lead to a world like this are pretty much absent. The reason that the world is like this is because of the blight. They don’t go into a lot of detail on what the blight is, but it seems to be some kind of infection or microbe, maybe some pest like a small insect or something like that. But whatever it is, it is systematically killing off entire species of crops. Wheat has been eradicated. okra has been eradicated. Now it’s coming for corn. I did have to sort of chuckle that wheat, okra and corn were the the three big crops that they held up and I don’t know maybe I’m weird for not thinking that okra, like sort of wheat and corn. I would have said peanuts.
Yeah, something. Yeah. I mean, honestly, because like that’s a huge grab.
Yeah, like beans or something. I didn’t realize that okra was sort of the linchpin of world hunger, but, but maybe it is maybe I’m just, maybe it’s not where I grew up. But the blight is actually the big bad of this film. It’s not anything that humans did to our world. The blight is specifically described as killing crops, but also, it breeds nitrogen. Michael Caine has this scene where he’s talking about how humans breathe oxygen, which is only 21% of Earth’s atmosphere. This is accurate. Nitrogen makes up almost 80% of Earth’s atmosphere again, accurate, and the blight breeds nitrogen.
A lot of organisms do interact with nitrogen, and they they use nitrogen nitrates are important for plant life. nitrogen fixing into the soil is an important part of, you know, the lifecycle of many ecosystems. But I know enough chemistry to know that nitrogen is not nearly as reactive as oxygen, you can’t really breathe nitrogen for any useful any useful chemistry because oxygen has a lot of free electrons. Essentially, oxygen wants to bond with things and give away its electrons. Nitrogen is very stable. So the kind of chemistry that goes on in the lungs of any number of creatures on this planet. You can’t really do that with nitrogen. That’s the it’s not interchangeable with oxygen. This is an example of something that I don’t really blame the filmmakers for not integrating because who cares? it breeds nitrogen. Sure, it is a little weird that they tossed that in when they could have just had it be the blight is like a locust plague. Like why did it have to be breathing nitrogen? It seems like if you’re gonna throw in a scientific fact like that, then it should be right. And if it’s not right, then just don’t include that line. But whatever. I didn’t really know what it was supposed to me and like okay, braise nitrogen. So what the implication for Michael Caine’s character is that it is therefore somehow better suited to life on Earth than we are. So it’s going to breed, breed and breed and breed and And then Murphy’s generation, there’s not going to be any more oxygen left. Which again,
I think it’s just that they’re not enough food basically says, stuff. Yeah, there’s a line where he says the first generation to start or the the, the first generation to starve is going to be the last generation. No, I had it backwards, the last generation to starve is going to be the first generation to suffocate. And that Murphy’s generation, there’s not going to be enough oxygen in the air for them to breathe, which again, I’m not sure how them breathing nitrogen means that we’re running out of oxygen, it seems like if they breathed the oxygen, it would be like if there was some crazy microbe that was using up all the oxygen and the plants couldn’t replace it fast enough, then that would lead to that problem. So that that was sort of the first thing that I bumped on was the nature of the blight. And then, you know, you get into these things around like, NASA is being hidden from the public, because they wouldn’t fund it, despite the fact that it is humanity’s only hope for saving the world. So it seems like everybody would want to fund it. And how do you fund multiple missions out to Saturn with astronauts and keep that seat? You know, it’s like line item budget in Congress $72 trillion for r&d? Like, that’s not really something.
I do have to say that, that, that takes me back to that scene where the teacher is talking about how the Apollo missions were just propaganda. Yeah. And raise your hand if that was just horrifying. Yeah, like I that made my stomach turn so much to just, you know, to hear it with to hear it as something that is a that it’s this is true, and my lived experiences that that’s
Yeah, it’s it’s it’s not just believed, it’s, you don’t believe that? Like, it’s, it’s a problem that his daughter doesn’t believe? Yeah, it’s so commonly accepted that anybody who doesn’t accept it is weird.
And he just, it’s, it’s things like this that make you look back in history at our different misconceptions. The different beliefs that have cropped up over time that have been later quashed or whatnot, that it just kind of freaks you out this mindset that we can get into that. There’s a word for it when we all just kind of follow what’s not mass psychosis?
Well, I’m sure someone will come up with it, but it’s just like, it’s a psychology term. And anyway, I love hated that.
I did it. I mean, in a in a world of save the cat, which, for those of you who aren’t screenwriters, save the cat is a phrase about how to get the audience to align with your hero. You know, if you take a character, like, for example, Tony Stark, who’s kind of fundamentally unlikable, like he’s, he’s kind of a jerk and a womanizer, and not in any way, someone that you would actually approve of in real life. How do you make the audience get on his side? Well, you do what’s called saving the cat, which is that you show him doing something good, so that the audience can kind of pin everything on that. Yeah, in a save the cat way. That was probably the moment that I fell in love with Cooper was when he got super pissed off at her. And then she asked, how are you going to discipline your daughter? And his response was, I think I’m going to take her to a baseball game. Yes, that is good parenting. Yeah, that is excellent. Yeah, yeah. And so you know, for example, in this in this dichotomy that Interstellar strikes between scientifically realistic and not, you know, again, if you read interviews, if you read articles about Interstellar from 2014, when it was first coming out, apparently, a lot of people were still unfamiliar with the idea of gravity can slow down time. That was, that was an idea that I guess I’m just nerd enough not to realize that not everybody knew that. But yeah, the idea that you can get so close to a black hole, that times actually slows down. And so there’s this planet where time flows differently than it is back on Earth. That was like this revolutionary idea that a lot of people really responded to. And I, I love that, you know, like, that is exactly the kind of thing that we tried to do here at edge works is introducing people to scientific ideas.
But if that’s true on the ground, it’s going to be true in orbit too. So like, how did they experience a couple hours, and then they go up to orbit and their buddy has experienced 23 years. It’s not just Earth, that experience point like that would make sense because they’re all near the black hole, but Earth isn’t. But they are literally in orbit. Like the atmosphere is like experiencing time differently than orbit did. And these are the things that I was just looking around going How is anybody describing this movie scientifically accurate, you can’t try You know, 10 miles up and suddenly experience a 60,000% increase in time dilation? Like that’s not, that’s not at all how this works. And, you know, yeah, I love that they introduced time dilation. But you would die on that planet. And and by the way, you wouldn’t be able to catch it. In order to experience that kind of time dilation, you would have to be so close to the black hole, that you’re that the planet would be orbiting, like a hummingbird, like it would just be around the around the black hole.
And so that, which, frankly, would have made an amazing scene in this movie is how do we catch up to this planet, you know, like we’re coming up, the planet is just blurring past and they have to sort of slingshot around the black hole just to pick up enough speed to land on the planet at all. That would have been cool. And it would have solved several of the issues with the film. It was Yeah, it was just a very strange thing. Another perfectly good example is, I actually loved the representation of the inside of the black hole, and the way it represented time. So there’s a thing that you can look up that is, if you ever want to just bend your mind and really just kind of break your understanding of the universe.
Look up what a Tesseract is. A Tesseract is a word that gets tossed around in science fiction a lot. It was used in the in the Marvel movies early on. But it is also a very specific thing. And that is if you go in dimensions, and by dimensions here, we’re not using the sci fi term of like parallel universes, like go into another dimension, we’re using it in the geometric turn, like the first dimension, second dimension, that’s a two dimensional image. So the first dimension would be a line. The second dimension is a flat plane. So you can imagine a shape in two dimensions would be like a square, right? And then the third dimension is height. So if you imagine a square on a piece of paper, now imagine it sort of turning into a hologram and it like the square rises up off the paper, and now it’s a cube, right? So you can say that a two dimensional square and a three dimensional cube are the same object in different dimensions.
Okay, right. Yep. If you take that one step further, a four dimensional cube is called a Tesseract. So it’s from square, two cube to Tesseract, those are all the same object in a different number of dimensions. And if you were to ask someone who does geometry for a living, the way they would define this is a square is a set of points where each one is at 90 degrees to the two adjacent, right. A cube is a set of points where each one is at 90 degrees to the three adjacent and three dimensions. A Tesseract is a shape, where each point is at right angles to four other points. You can look up images of tests or acts on the internet, and they will absolutely melt your brain. It’s crazy to look at these things. But the only time I’ve ever seen somebody represent something other than a cube as a Tesseract is Interstellar, the representation of that little girl’s room. In the third act of interstellar looks like a Tesseract, the way it sort of breaks out into these sort of infinite recursive representations of geometry. It’s this, it sort of reads as a cube. Despite having hallways going off in every direction. Your brain wants to say this is a box even though it’s clearly not like it looks like a Tesseract. It’s brilliant. It’s the coolest representation of four dimensional geometry I’ve ever seen. And the way they got there was Matthew McConaughey throwing himself into a black hole. We want not
No no, not just throwing himself into he flew into it and then ejected himself. Yes, spaceships have rejection buttons,
like they have ejector seats, like stepping aside from the black hole of it all. What is step two, on a spaceship with an ejector seat? Like if your spaceship is about to blow up, and you hit the ejector seat, and that thing flies off like a fighter pilot and you throws you up into space? Now what man you’re in space, like, you’re, nobody’s gonna come get you, especially if you’re flying away at 60 miles an hour or whatever that was like you would have been better off just blowing up with the ship. And so they fitted this thing with an ejector seat. Why? I don’t know. He flew around a black hole and didn’t get spaghettified Why? I don’t know. He also didn’t get fried by x rays. He also didn’t get burned up with all the ejecta that’s flying around the black hole and falling into it. He flies into the black hole. He’s perfectly fine. He finds himself in a representation of his daughter’s bedroom. And by the way, never questions it. Like there’s no point at which Cooper looks around and goes, What? This is so weird. Am I losing my mind? Am I dead? Doesn’t question things? Exactly. It’s bizarre. And it’s it’s this weirdly frustrating mix of really insightful visuals really beautiful representations of science paired with just what the hell kind of presentation of it. Can I
tell you? is now a good time for me to tell them about some people’s beliefs about the ending? Feel free? Yeah, I mean, we can always come back to the science if I if I just want to rant some more.
Listen, I’m not taking part in the science stuff, because I mostly wrote this is bullshit science 100 times next to these are not scientists, and these are not astronauts. So like, there’s just there’s not a lot. I wasn’t concise, because I was so upset. Yeah. But okay, so I did, I had to figure out the ending of this movie. I wasn’t wild about it. And I found some reviewers that posit. I’m not saying this is how you should interpret it. But this is how some people interpreted it. Because, you know, Christopher Nolan doesn’t necessarily insist that you take his work, literally.
Yeah. He’s He’s a storyteller who enjoys differing interpretations of his work.
Yeah. And, you know, one of the nice things is he’s he says during an interview with maybe The Daily Beast, that he doesn’t want to tell anybody his interpretation of it, because he doesn’t want that to be held up as like, essentially the be all end all
be official story. Yeah.
So what I that is a good thing I can say about Christopher Nolan. Okay, so some reviewers posit that Cooper actually dies after ejecting himself from his craft. And what happens? There are a couple of different versions, but I’ll give you the gist is that weird fight that happens between him and man that doesn’t feel like it belongs in this film. And the soliloquy, queer monologues that man does, about survival and how we we think of our children’s faces, you know, all of that stuff, and how our bodies instinctually Hang on, for as long as they can. For various rebond reasons, I guess. That’s what happens here. And so Cooper is ejected from his craft, he is we’re seeing the embodiment of this conversation. And, and he, his instincts take over, so he lasts a little bit longer. And either he dies, and then in the moment after death, he’s able to interact with this Tesseract or interact in some capacity to communicate with his daughter. Or he’s able to use this higher dimension because we’re told that the day the humans of the future have fifth dimensional beings, yes.
And we cannot perceive that current living beings cannot perceive this dimension. So in his death throes, essentially he is able to access that because in death, time has no meaning. And it’s not really quantifiable. It stops being linear. So he is able to access that fifth dimension communicate with his daughter, right before dying. So right before or right after his his death. And people say because like, there’s no way that Anne Hathaway’s character is still alive. He’s told to go be with her, we see that, you know, there are these symbolism, these moments of symbolism that we see around his daughter, the baseball field right outside of her hospital door window, which is kind of weird. Anyway, so his body pushes him to survive just long enough so that this can all happen. And and you know, a lot of people really believe that this is actually the story. Yeah, yeah. Which, you know, I can’t really say one way or the other what I’d prefer because I mean, I guess everybody, every most people want a happy ending. I just wanted an ending that I found to make sense. And I and I’m not the only one who thinks that this movie doesn’t make sense because Jessica Chastain said, Yes. When I watched the film now, I still don’t understand everything in it, but the main Part of this film isn’t about science. It’s about love. You have to feel it. If you go into the movie, even though the scope is large with space travel, at its core, it’s a story about a father and a daughter. If you let that wash over you, that is enough. And I’m like, Speak for yourself, lady. Not enough for me.
Yeah. And I mean, like, that part was good, you know, the part with the his connection to his daughter and his, his daughter growing up bitter and angry, and then ultimately, finding catharsis and then her and her relationship with her brother. And like, all of that stuff was good. I just have no idea why they felt the need to do half scientifically accurate. And well. And even on the human side, like, you know, there, there are a bunch of things that we haven’t gone into, because this isn’t going to turn into a three hour just sort of nitpick, but you know, things like, man, they’ve got some really bad psychological screening processes that this NASA facility like, they don’t know how to pick astronauts anymore, do they? They really,
they stop. And he doesn’t need to be trained again.
Yeah, exactly. Like, like, he just shows up. And they’re like, cool. We’re launching tomorrow. You don’t need training. And then there are several scenes in the movie where he’s like, interesting. What’s that? And he’s like, it’s the wormhole. We’re here to go through. And he’s like, what’s a wormhole? And it’s like, you didn’t read the training manual or something.
There’s a moment where like, he’s mad at his daughter. He’s like, Don’t make me leave like this, because she doesn’t want to talk to him. And I’m like, dude, you don’t get to put this on her. You’re making the decision. Like, and I get why you’re making the decision. But this is not her fault. Yeah, you know, and I. Yeah. I just, I really tired of Chris Nolan. And his time obsession.
It is it is an interesting thing. I every movie Chris Nolan makes is about time. And except for the Batman movies, even even though I mean, the second and third weren’t about time. But the first one was very noted for the fact that it had a nonlinear story structure. If you if you watch Batman Begins it kind of is about time. It’s about moments in Batman’s life that are parallel to happening sequentially in film order that we’re not sequential in, in story order.
So he’s playing with the this, the storytelling in terms of time, but the theme is not.
Yeah, the theme is not time he basically Batman Begins as the same as Dunkirk where it’s it’s a linear story, but it’s represented in a nonlinear way. So he still gets to play with time as a as a storyteller. But yeah, I mean, Dunkirk Tennant. Interstellar momento, Batman Begins, it’s like, time? Yeah,
I am with Imani economist on this, I think that Alex, you have to produce the interstellar remake.
I would love to produce the I mean, it’s gonna be different. But I mean, honestly, it might not even be that different. That’s, that’s the thing that I kept getting hooked on was that so many of the scientifically inaccurate things in this movie didn’t need to be like, you could have done this very easily. You know, like, why did they need to hit a frozen cloud? Just cut that line? That’s not you don’t need that. That’s fine, too. Why did blight need to breathe? nitrogen? It doesn’t need to. It’s just a crazy super past. You know, it’s it’s the the planetary version of antibiotic resistant bacteria sold done that is entirely plausible. And it carries exactly the same narrative, you know, storytelling potential as as this version
when this remake happens, because obviously it just kind of past you now you deal with the science and I’m going to fix some of the some of the character stuff that I couldn’t handle. One of which, Well, okay, first, I will say, Doctor man crying into their arms when he comes out of his cryo, oh, my God, it was so lovely.
This is what I’m talking about with like, even the characters that I didn’t like as characters, the performances were great.
Yeah, well, and you know, that was very likely written into the script. So that was like, there were some great things.
But like, also,
Murph lights, her brother’s farm fields on fire, and then goes back into the house and like, and also is going to take his family, which is reasonable because his family is obviously being abused by him. And so I’m here for her like taking off with the family. But she hugs him when he comes back out and I’m like, dude, you are taking this man’s life away from him. You don’t get to hug him. Even if he’s in the wrong You don’t get to hug him and be this man is not gonna let you hook him. Yeah, he’s an abusive asshole.
he’s a he’s an abusive asshole. You’re taking his family, you burned his crops, literally everything of value in his life. You’re taking away from And then you want to hug him because like, you realized your dad’s still alive as sort of.
Yeah. And as if he’s gonna believe you. Yeah, I don’t know, there was just like that moment I was I gasped out loud. I was just like, How How did this get put into this film? It’s so it doesn’t make any sense. any sense. I think from any point of view to have that moment happen, it was just it was too weird.
Well, listen, we’ve got a lot more thoughts that we could share. But I think we’ve we’ve made our thoughts known for the most part, and I do love to end on hope. I like to end on an upbeat. And so I adore the fact that our listeners right now in the chat are all starting to chime in. Let’s make it happen. Edge works remake of interstellar TV series Interstellar meets terrigenesis. When can we start talking Kickstarter? Yes. I love it.
I think we are here for it. Yes.
We will not use organ music or we will not use organ music. No. No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring it down. What’s one, what’s
one more thing that we can say about it? A good thing. One. One more good thing that I will say about it is okay. I’ll say this, that it is one more thing, pushing forward. The value that we celebrate at the synthesis. It had a lot of flaws. It didn’t do all the science perfectly right. But the fact of the matter is that a lot of people saw this movie and walked away saying that was an excellent movie that used realistic science. Or so they thought and that is of value. Yes, people walked away from Interstellar saying more movies should have realistic science. You know,
I think that is a great note to end on a good job for coming up with that I was drawing a huge blank. So well done, honey.
Thank you. So yeah, that is it for this episode of The Synthesis. Be sure to tune in next week on YouTube live to watch us recording this live or if you’re I think we’re doing National Geographics. Mars, I think we’re doing the first three episodes of National Geographics Mars. So check it out. and tune in next week for the live taping on YouTube Live. Otherwise, you can check it out on our YouTube channel. youtube.com slash edge works entertainment. Be sure to subscribe and hit the bell and leave us some comments. We are lacking in the engagement. So share it if you would like it. Comment it tell us why you think we’re wrong about Interstellar. Tell us why you write about Interstellar. However you feel that understand.
Tell us where Right. I mean, obviously, it’s obviously better if if you need to tell us we’re wrong. I suppose we can handle that.
I guess the best way to put it is if you feel like being wrong. Tell us why we’re wrong.
But just a gauge.
That’s all we’re asking. And if you like to listen to podcasts on iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts, check out the synthesis by antworks Entertainment and be sure to leave a review because we want to get it out as good as we can as fast as we can.
That would be fabulous. Thank you, you guys.
Yes, thank you for watching and we will see you next week. Bye.