Interstellar should be mandatory viewing for students

When I was young, certain movies really hit me. Planet of the Apes and Bullitt come to mind. I was 10 when those movies were released and it began my fascination with cinema.

Matthew McConaughey stars in Interstellar
Matthew McConaughey stars in Interstellar

In my early 20s, I was again affected by movies like Gandhi, Platoon and The Killing Fields.

But it's been a long time since a movie has hit me as hard as the latest from director Christopher Nolan.

Interstellar should  be considered mandatory watching for all students. In fact, it should be mandatory watching for just about everyone.

Set in the near future, food supplies are dwindling and blight has destroyed almost every form of crop other than corn. A constant battle against dust storms is literally choking civilization.

There are no more wars because there is no need to fight. Countries are focussed on survival, and are failing.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer and former astronaut who never got his true shot in space. But society now considers space exploration a waste of time and has even "corrected" text books which suggest that the Apollo missions were nothing more than propaganda created to bankrupt the Soviet Union.

When Cooper and his daughter find an abandoned facility in the desert, they soon realized that NASA is still functioning and has sent men into space trying to find a new home. Cooper is the obvious choice for the next phase of exploration, but the future home for Earth's inhabitants may lie on the other side of the galaxy. The trip will need the space crew to pass through a worm hole.

How long will they be gone?

Not certain.

Will they be too late to save civilization?

Not known.

Will NASA be able to come up with the mathematical equation to bring them home?

Hopefully.

What makes Interstellar such a powerful movie is its ability to relate science to humanity. Love may not conquer all, but it can have a place in scientific fact. Interstellar will make you think, maybe even confuse you. The thought process by our characters must go beyond three-dimensional, to four and even five dimensional solutions. An important aspect of the movie is the question of "they" - the force that provided a worm hole near Saturn for our scientists to find. A worm hole can be described as a tunnel with two ends, each in separate points in space-time. Some of the most impressive scenes of the movie are director Christopher Nolan's interpretation of the inside of a worm hole and what astronauts might experience travelling into another dimension. The experience on film is taken to the next level in IMAX. Not only is it visually stunning, but IMAX provides that added sense of vibration -  shakes and creeks as the ship bends through the challenges of space.

Time also takes on a new dimension. At one point, the astronauts must check on the sustainability of life on one of the planets being explored. But every hour they spend on its surface is comparable to seven years earth time. Fascinating stuff.

One astronaut states that love is one thing that transcends time and space.

It may sound corny, but it's one of the factors that keeps humanity bound - our continuous need to believe and to hope.

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