The very first rollercoaster I had ever ridden was called the French Revolution, and it was a roaring monster that slept in an amusement park located in the bustling city of Seoul, South Korea. I remember seating myself on the beast with trepidation. When it began to slither away from the boarding dock, all sorts of questions came rushing to engulf my anxious mind.
The worrying grew so strong that I had not noticed the dragon was nearing its takeoff. Just when the French Revolution was about to charge pass its climax, for a moment, time seemed to come to a sudden halt — as did my breathing. The falling action was a violent journey consisting of jolting twists and turns that threw my 8-year-old body here and there like some disjointed marionette.
This sensation is akin to the turbulent ride I had experienced while watching director Christopher Nolan’s latest film “Interstellar.”
Movies such as “Interstellar,” provoke audiences to reflect on the diminutive as well as lonely insignificance of human existence, while forcing them to acknowledge the vast and dark complexity of the universe. However, the everlasting darkness is only as wonderful and perplexing as the observer makes it to be. What one deems as awesome is simply the imagination attempting to comprehend the unknown. In that space or state of absolute nothingness, I have always found it interesting that some people feel inspired to contemplate about their sense of compassion and benevolence for each other. “Interstellar,” with all its sophisticated visual effects and convoluted plot, suggests that very notion; love is the strongest universal force that transcends the laws of physics. Love, an immaterial thing, is what will preserve humanity.
The instinct for self-preservation extends far beyond one’s immediate reach as depicted by actor Matthew McConaughey, who plays a widower, father, and scientist named Cooper. He has been assigned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to traverse many light years through space and wormholes in search of a new planet for the human species to inhabit. The Earth is dying, and time is running out for Cooper and three other crewmembers of the spacecraft “Endurance.” All four characters are brilliant intelligentsias struggling against the condition to err. Such a struggle is best demonstrated by Anne Hathaway’s character, Amelia Brand.
At one point in the movie, Cooper accuses Brand of letting her emotions compromise her integrity during the Lazarus Mission, to which Brand retaliated by pointing out that Cooper is also driven by his personal bias — his yearning to return home to his family as soon as possible. The irony of their internal conflicts poses an interesting question about the essence of objectivity. Indeed, both Cooper and Brand are motivated to save the people they love, but does not their sentiment represent the altruism for the whole of humanity? Would it not be realistic for a person who has the daunting task of saving the world to compartmentalize their stresses by focusing on the few people they actually know? Could anyone fault Cooper and Brand for looking after the interests of the few in such a situation?
Regardless, while attempting to retrieve valuable data on another planet, Cooper and Brand are reminded of the perils they must overcome, when a gigantic tidal wave washes away a fellow scientist named Doyle (Wes Bentley). Cooper and Brand encounter several life-or-death experiences themselves, but they, “Do not got gentle into that good night,” they, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
The themes of sacrifice and perseverance meshed very will with Han Zimmer’s score for the film, which was nothing short of awesome. The sound of the organ blasted and resonated with divinity-like grandeur. I sat in the theater, simply basking in the music as I watched the Endurance shoot through the Earth’s stratosphere and into space. Zimmer also made good use of silence, as if to help spectators internalize the stunning imagery.
When “Interstellar” finished, I walked out the dimly lit auditorium and was strangely reminded of the time I had my first rollercoaster ride. Indeed, the journey was over, but something inside of me wanted me to go back and revel in its glorious design. At 8, nothing could have prepared me for the French Revolution, but I was immensely satisfied that went through with it.
It is not easy for a set of moving pictures to conjure up the same visceral type of excitement. “Interstellar” will burn and overwhelm the audience with its dazzling graphics, but most importantly, soothe using its depiction of the resilient tenacity of humankind.