Interstellar – the search for new worlds

InterstellarIn late December 2014 I saw the movie Interstellar on the big screen in the Event Cinema, George Street, Sydney.   I sat in the third row so I could get the maximum effect of the big picture and sound.

I enjoyed the film very much and there were so many aspects that gave me deep satisfaction –  sending my imagination into outer space, exploring the universe, thinking about  human survival and what it means to be human.

The Story

Interstellar is set in the future when the Earth’s climate has changed for the worse. Growing crops is a challenge, as well as the dust storms and crop failures. What is the hope for mankind? Stay on Earth and try to survive or leave planet Earth to find new worlds for habitation.    The NASA organisation still exists and is preparing a mission to colonise new worlds.   Wikipedia has a good article with a detailed plot synopsis.

I was reminded of the film 2001 A Space Odyssey. Astronauts travelling to new worlds, with some of the crew in suspended animation water tanks. In order to travel the vast distances of space, the Interstellar travels through a wormhole in the space-time fabric of the cosmos. The visual effects for this sequence were stunning  with the sound adding to the experience.

Interstellar has a very strong emotional content – being the relationship of Cooper and his daughter Murphy.  Cooper leaves planet Earth but promises his daughter that he will return. Could this be possible? It certainly kept me interested.

The Physics

Kip Thorne – a leading American theoretical physicist was the executive producer of the film and provided guidance to the visual effects people on what black holes and event horizons would look like.     Here is a short video showing Kip Thorne discussing the visualisation of  black holes.

 

The Poetry

Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not Go Gentle in that Good Night” was used in the film. I am a fan of Thomas’ poetry and this poem is one of his best works. Thomas wrote this poem for his dying father and there were parallels in the film as Michael Caine’s character Professor Brand would often recite verses from the poem.  Here are the first two verses of the poem:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Listen to Dylan Thomas reading this poem in this recording:

The Music

The Interstellar soundtrack was composed by Hans Zimmer. There is a haunting melodic theme that reminded me a lot of Philip Glass’s music for Koyaanisqatsi. What I really liked is the use of church organ – the deep bass notes made the cinema vibrate.

Here is a short film about the making of the Interstellar Soundtrack:

The complete soundtrack can be found on YouTube:

 

Piano Sheet Music

I found a good transcription of the main theme on Joyce Leong’s web site. I am now teaching myself to play this music.

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2 thoughts on “Interstellar – the search for new worlds”

  1. Prof Brian Cox had lots of interesting comments regarding Class M (Earth type) planets in his recent series on the ABC. Many out there statistically-speaking but sadly, light years away. So, it looks like as a species we that we must start taking better care of this one we exist on if we want to continue to survive.

  2. I’m not much of a movie-goer but this film intrigued me when it came out – the human race has always intrigued me, in particular. The human race has been around for centuries and our lives have certainly evolved dramatically along the way, from living in the bush to high rise buildings and all on one planet. An amazing feat. The idea of us all living on another planet fascinates me, maybe along with another species. Who knows.

    Thanks for talking a bit about the score for Interstellar too, and for the link to the transcription. I’ve been meaning to go back to playing the piano for a while now and this song sounds like a good one to learn.

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