The greatest works of science fiction evoke the deepest thoughts and the richest emotions.
However, many people believe that science fiction is a cold genre that doesn’t provide enriching emotional stories.
This makes some sense. After all, many characters in science fiction stories are cynical, and seem tired with life.
Another reason why people see the science fiction genre as unfriendly is the emphasis on science and logic. When most people go to see a movie or read a book, they are looking for an emotional experience. Science Fiction does offer that. However, to many readers, asking them to relate to a robot may be too difficult.
Plus, it’s difficult to ignore that alot of science fiction is depressing. For example, you had Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” released two years earlier. Around 2009 to 2013, you had ‘slick’ science fiction movies. A good example is Snowpiercer, with its brutal concept of a class-divided train. Others include Rian Johnson’s “Looper” and Source Code.
While these movies had emotional moments, the genre was sterile and ice-cold. Science fiction was not creating emotionally intense stories.
However, there is one stand out film before Interstellar. And that movie, is of course, Avatar by James Cameron. It is a film that has an optimistic message and easy to root for characters. Yet it also has plenty of interesting technology and action sequences.
Although Avatar is more of a fantasy than science fiction, it’s still a good example of a science fiction movie offering an ’emotional’ experience. After all, many people saw Cameron’s action film in cinemas multiple times.
Years later, and Christopher Nolan directs Interstellar, and releases it. Like Avatar, Nolan’s film is lengthy, emotional and ambitious. In simple terms, both films ‘wear their hearts on the sleeve.’ Meaning, both Cameron and Nolan reject the idea that science fiction is meant to be short and cold. To them, science fiction is a genre that can tell stories rich with emotion, life and character.
I admire that type of filmmaking. In a world full of witty MCU movies, it is easier to be cynical and witty than heartfelt.
However, there are differences between Nolan and Cameron. For one, Nolan focuses on less characters than Cameron, and Interstellar is thicker with science fiction. For that, I prefer Interstellar.
Also, in Interstellar, you have discussions about mathematics, physics, space and time. This makes for a fascinating science fiction film in its own right.
If anything, Nolan uses science to express thenes such as love. By manipulating scientific principles, Nolan is able to tell a heartfelt story and love transcending time itself.
This challenges a notion many people hold about science fiction. Many believe that the genre doesn’t tell heartwarming stories about family. Instead, they see the genre as one that tells lifeless stories of apocalypses and robots. Interstellar proves that perception false. Not only does it teach us the multiple possibilities of time and space, but also of storytelling itself. It’s the sort of movie you can talk about for hours on end.
Critics initally gave positive reviews to Interstellar. They weren’t glowing, however. Christopher Nolan faced criticism for being sentimental, and creating a film without a strong structure. Whereas Inception earned a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, Interstellar did not.
However, that is not a failure on Nolan’s part. After all, some films don’t get the acclaim they deserve immediately. It took Blade Runner years to receive critical praise. It takes time.
Now, more film fans are willing to give another look to A.I Artifical Intelligence (2001). This is a film that’s similar to Interstellar in many ways. I have no problem believing that in fifteen years time, Interstellar will receive more acclaim.
In conclusion, Interstellar represents ’emotional’ science fiction. It’s rich with nuance and meaning.
What do you think of Interstellar? Does it remind you of any other science fiction movies? Comment below!
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