Tuesday, November 11, 2014


For several days now, I've been debating with myself whether Interstellar is a bad film that does several things quite well, or a good film that has had the misfortune of having to shoulder, and justify, its creator's reputation.  At some point in the last half-decade, popular culture decided--erroneously, if you ask me--that Christopher Nolan is a purveyor of Deep, Serious entertainments.  And so his latest film, a fairly meat-and-potatoes space exploration story, comes burdened not only with its audience's expectations, but with its creator's need to live up to them.  Every minute of Interstellar drips with a self-importance, a portentousness, that the film itself--which is pretty but overlong, heartfelt but silly, ambitious but scattershot--can't hope to earn.  Just look at the way the film's trailers and promotional materials worked so hard to create a sense of mystery about what is ultimately a very straightforward premise, not because the film needs it--is it really necessary to try and sell a Christopher Nolan film anymore?--but because that's what's become expected from his oeuvre.  All of which is a bit of a shame, because I actually ended up enjoying Interstellar a great deal more than I expected to--it's not as airless as Inception, nor as suffused with pseudo-religious significance as The Dark Knight Rises.  If its ambitions were less lofty, or its pretensions less grand, it might have been easier to ignore its many flaws and problems, which stand out quite starkly in a film trying to make a Grand Statement about human nature.

Set in an unspecified but not-too-distant future, Interstellar imagines a world that has contracted and regressed in the wake of climate catastrophes and food shortages.  Our hero, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), is an engineer and astronaut turned farmer, frustrated by having been born into a "caretaking generation" that doesn't give proper scope to his ambition and wanderlust.  Through a series of coincidences that the film only partially earns, Cooper is recruited by NASA to pilot a last-ditch mission to find humanity a new home before Earth becomes completely uninhabitable, a decision that breaks the heart of his young daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy).  While Cooper makes his suspended-animation, time-dilated journey to a distant galaxy, the scientists left back on Earth--which eventually include the grown-up Murphy (Jessica Chastain)--have to solve the problem of how to launch ships big enough to carry Earth's remaining population to their new home.

To this relatively bare-bones story, however, Interstellar appends a family drama, a time travel story, and a woo-woo parable about the power of love, none of which are particularly successful.  The film's final act is a drawn-out, sentimental affair that can't earn out the ridiculous plot twists it expects us to buy.  McConaughey is excellent at conveying Cooper's love and devotion to his children, even from a distance of decades and light-years (it's interesting, in fact, to compare the success of his performance with Leonardo DiCaprio's utter failure to embody a very similar character in Inception; perhaps because DiCaprio lacks McConaughey's warmth and charm, and perhaps because Cobb's children are abstractions who can't justify his supposed devotion).  But the film ends up coasting on that charm.  It fails to interrogate Cooper's insistence that he is doing everything for his family; the suggestion that he may love exploration and space more than he loves them isn't given the serious consideration it deserves.  It's also frustrating that while Cooper's motivating emotion is treated as something ennobling, conferring upon him a natural leadership and moral authority, the emotions that drive his fellow astronaut Brand (Anne Hathaway), who is in love with one of the scientists sent ahead to scout likely planets and hopes to reunite with him, and Murphy, who holds on to resentment of her father for leaving on his mission even after she learns what's at stake, are used by the other characters to justify discounting their opinions.  The time travel plot, meanwhile, is both obvious and ridiculous.  When it becomes clear, five minutes into the film, that young Murphy's claims that there is a ghost in her bedroom are something we're meant to be paying attention to, any SF fan will be able to guess how that plot strand will resolve, and the fact that the film belabors the explanation of that obvious plot twist only adds insult to injury.

At its most basic level, however--which is also the one on which it is most successful--Interstellar is a space exploration movie, the type of story that fans of written SF have seen hundreds of times but which is relatively rare in film.  Cooper and the other crewmembers aboard the spaceship Endurance have to survive the incredible technical complexity of their mission, to deal with the limitations that the cold equations of fuel and other resources place upon them, and to make decisions where, at every turn, the survival of the human race hangs in the balance.  And, of course, they have to land on alien planets with only a bare minimum of information and preparation and hope for the best, and whereas other movies might have featured scary aliens or vicious plantlife on these planets, Interstellar understands that when you're so far away from everything familiar, the most mundane dangers can be catastrophic.  On the first planet they land on, the characters realize too late that the shallow lake where they've touched down is prone to massive, building-sized waves, which end up costing the life of one of their number.

Space-set films have a frustrating tendency to turn into horror stories in their second act, as their writers bump up against the problem of placing obstacles before characters who are literally floating in a void, and plump for monsters lurking in the shadows.  Interstellar seems to be referencing this tendency when it has Brand tell Cooper that though their mission is fantastically dangerous, it holds little danger of evil.  There's an obvious flaw in this thesis--humans bring evil with them wherever they go--but it's one that Interstellar resists delving into until it's established that even good, dedicated, well-intentioned people can produce conflict and drama when the stakes are high enough.  Everyone aboard the Endurance is dedicated to the mission, and recognizes that their own ego, desires, wishes, and even survival are immaterial in the face of it.  This does not, however, prevent them from clashing against each other, or from making terrible mistakes that cost them resources and time.  When evil does come into the equation, it's in the form of human frailty, as a character who had accepted, in theory, the necessity of sacrificing himself for the sake of humanity's survival comes up against the reality of it and finds himself wanting.

As much fun as it is to watch this sort of story--and the enjoyment is only increased by Interstellar's refreshing rejection of Hollywood's standard save the cat story template, with multiple complications and decision points that give the film an almost novelistic feeling--there's no denying how old-fashioned it is, and how hard Interstellar works to avoid that fact and its implications.  In some ways, Interstellar is as much a meta-statement about the kind of science fiction it is telling as it is an example of it.  Cooper laments the loss of humanity's spirit of exploration, the insistence he keeps hearing that trying to get into space is wasteful in the face of real problems on Earth.  But this is also a reflection of the shift in priorities within the genre.  Hardly anyone writes stories (or makes movies) about space exploration and colonization anymore, and more often than not when writers nowadays imagine the future it's to focus on climate catastrophe and other more immediate problems (this is certainly the case when outsiders to the genre--including filmmakers--try their hand at it).

Interstellar tries to offer a hopeful paean to this kind of SF, but in so doing it only exposes its problems and shortcomings.  There are some fairly obvious practical problems with the argument often offered in defense of both exploration-based SF and actual space exploration, and which is reflected in Interstellar's premise--that we have to explore space in order to find another planet to live on after this one has been used up.  At its most basic level, it suggests that we would be better off focusing on the almost certainly fantastical problem of finding a habitable planet and getting humanity there, over the astronomically difficult but still comprehensible problem of reducing carbon emissions.  Interstellar sidesteps that issue when it tells us that Earth is already doomed and that there's nothing to be done about that, but it can't avoid the deeper problem.  "This planet is a treasure, but it's been telling us to leave for a while now," Cooper sagely opines near the beginning of the movie, a bit of ludicrous tendentiousness that is never challenged or exploded.  Earth isn't telling us anything, of course, but if it could talk, it wouldn't be saying LEAVE; it would be saying STOP.  To say that the solution to climate change is merely to find another planet to live on is the same as saying that the reasons for climate change--our rampant, greedy expansion and heedless exploitation of the planet--are natural and inevitable, not the result of social choices, and of the model upon which we've built our society.  It absolves us of the responsibility to think about those choices and consider whether we should be living differently in order to avoid making the same mistakes all over again.

In recent works of prose SF, such as Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312, or Stephen Baxter's Flood/Ark duology, there has been an attempt to acknowledge that humanity's expansion into space can only happen hand-in-hand with a reevaluation of our values and economic system--otherwise, these books recognize,  finding a new home will only mean delaying the inevitable by a few hundreds or perhaps thousands of years.  In Interstellar, on the other hand, that preservationist perspective is treated not as a necessary complement to Cooper's lust for exploration, but as its antithesis, placed in the mouth of a character who is marked out as a villain and a fool by her insistence that the moon landing never happened.  Cooper's claim that Earth is telling humanity to leave is an attempt to paint a tragedy as something ennobling, an opportunity for humanity to spread its wings, with no thought to the evil that we might bring with us if we thoughtlessly accept that spin.  Exploration is a very noble word, and Cooper is the very model of the starry-eyed dreamer we think of when the word "explorer" is used.  But the fact is that throughout most of human history, exploration has been a blind for colonization and exploitation.  Without facing up to that truth, there's no reason to believe that anything will change just because the territory being explored is an uninhabited planet (which is not to mention how often humanity has attached the label "uninhabited" to territories actually teeming with vast, complex civilizations).

These problems are only exacerbated by Interstellar's thoughtless racial politics.  The environmental disaster that kickstarts the search for a new home for humanity is clearly modeled on the 1930s dust bowl (the film even uses interview segments from Ken Burns's recent documentary about that period).  This is problematic on two levels.  First, because the dust bowl was a man-made ecological catastrophe, and the film's choice to ignore this--to treat the disaster as something almost Biblical--only entrenches its refusal to see the problem with its premise.  Second, the dust bowl was a quintessentially American catastrophe, and to reference it in a world in which the actual effects of climate change are felt disproportionately by people in poor, mostly non-white countries feels like yet another iteration of the common Hollywood tendency to treat a problem as serious only when it affects white Westerners.  Coupled with the film's near-uniform whiteness--even the black member of the Endurance crew, Romilly (David Gyasi), feels like an afterthought, someone who exists to enable Cooper and Brand rather than a person in his own right--this feels like yet another skewer to Interstellar's self-satisfaction about the spirit of exploration.  Who is it that's doing the exploration, we're forced to wonder, and when humanity is finally evacuated from Earth, who is it that gets to leave?  (Not as obviously problematic, but still telling, is the total absence of animals from the film, even as livestock or pets; there is no recognition that humanity shares the Earth with other species, and no indication that NASA will be trying to save at least some species from the extinction to which we've doomed them.)

There's a scene towards the beginning of Interstellar that seems to encapsulate the fundamental thoughtlessness of its SFnal tropes.  Brand explains to Cooper that if plan A--evacuating the people of Earth to a new planet--proves unworkable, the Endurance comes equipped with plan B, thousands of frozen human embryos.  The first few, she explains, will be "auto-raised" to maturity, then the remaining embryos will be implanted in them and so forth.  It should only take a moment's thought to realize that Brand is describing a horrible dystopian nightmare, a society whose members (whose women, that is) exist solely to act as incubators for children who aren't even their own.  Even if a psychologically healthy society could somehow result from this sort of generations-long reproductive slavery, it boggles the mind that anyone would consider the result the salvation of humanity.  Cut off from their planet of origin, from any tie to human history or culture, these people wouldn't be humanity, but a completely different species that just happened to share our DNA (and per the above, it's hard not to wonder just what the racial makeup of those embryos is, and whose DNA has truly been represented).  The failure to realize plan B's monstrousness feels like an encapsulation of Interstellar as a whole--a film that is enjoyable so long as you don't think about it too much, that thinks it's paying homage to a grand tradition even as it's exposing its most ugly and horrifying flaws.  A less self-serious film might have been able to carry at least some of the problematic implications of Interstellar's story more lightly--do we truly care, for example, about the profound social problems implied by the worldbuilding and plot of Guardians of the Galaxy?--but alas, Christopher Nolan's reputation for seriousness dooms this latest demonstration of how unearned it is.


Dragonchild said...

So, it's a Christopher Nolan movie.

I think there are two pieces to Nolan's reputation; his own ego (his movies are purple and always have been) and, for better or worse, Heath Ledger. I remember when "Batman Begins" it was received as a well-made and "realistic" but otherwise conventional action movie. It was hailed as the best Batman movie made (I think that's debatable) but nothing thought-provoking. Then, enter the Joker in "The Dark Knight". Ledger created this incarnation whose capacity to terrify adult audiences stems from the air of stomach-churning plausibility he gives to what is in fact a rather ludicrious character by knocking that role out of the park. "The Dark Knight" was hailed as a masterpiece, but remove Ledger's swan song from the movie and it's really quite mediocre. Still, it left an impression that carried into films like Inception that Nolan is a Deep Thinker. He's pretty talented at presentation, but to me, he's second only to Joss Whedon as an example of the clear delineation between creativity and vision. Memento was a wicked creative premise but the plot (when stitched in chronological order) is the stuff of a 15-year-old's scribble book. The Batman reboot had some good ideas but was otherwise an extremely conventional injection of 21st century hyperindividualism (Batman's IMAGE is more important than the safety of a CITY?) and faux-pragmatic moral relativism (Batman only wins when he compromises) into established canon. Inception was another creative idea but, as you say, with shallow implications (if you need to kidnap him ANYWAY why not get get your concessions by force?). I haven't seen Interstellar yet but these issues are unsurprising and frankly obvious just from the trailer.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I agree that The Dark Knight put Nolan's reputation on another level (and that it's Heath Ledger's performance, rather than Nolan's script, that is responsible for the film's success; much like Interstellar, its plot doesn't hold together if you think about it for very long). But I think you're discounting the importance of Inception in creating Nolan's image as a Serious, Important filmmaker. Before that film, he was still just a pop culture icon. After it, he was a producer of thought-provoking, philosophical works.

I'm also not sure that I would draw a comparison between Nolan and Whedon, who for all his flaws does know how to write emotion and character. The fan favorite that I think he more closely resembles is Steven Moffat, who like him writes cleverly but not deeply, and has trouble writing women. That comparison, however, is kind to Nolan - he may not know what to do with 169 minutes of film, but Moffat gets lost in a 45-minute episode of TV, and as problematic as Nolan's women are they don't hold a candle to Moffat's inhuman creations.

Fangz said...

I liked the film, and agree with the assessment that it's "a good film that has had the misfortune of having to shoulder, and justify, its creator's reputation".

Interstellar *is* thought provoking, in that it raises topics that hasn't been raised since, well... ??? There are large gaps in the film's explanations, but I actually find the process of trying to fill them fun and often enlightening. Enjoyable as Guardians of the Galaxy is, it's not going to lead anyone to write a paragraph examining the ethics of Interstellar's Plan B. (Personally I'm not as negative about it as Nussbaum is, but I agree there's all sorts of issues around that....)

I think the basic problem is that "thought provoking" is a double-edged sword. "Thinking too much" about Nolan's films has become a kind of sport, where we find the weaknesses in their plot and narrative and declare, ah ha, this is bad, this is a bad film, I should never have enjoyed it. The films become puzzles to be solved, and then thrown aside. I think it's maybe better to engage with Interstellar as (a) a fun film, and (b) an invitation to think about a topic with some varyingly bold statements to consider. We don't have to agree with the statements to find them interesting.

Fangz said...

Also it annoys me that every other commentator on Interstellar thinks that you get spaghettified at the event horizon.

Jeez people, F=\mu L m/(4r^3)


George Pedrosa said...

Interestingly, the message of the movie seems to work as the polar opposite of Gravity's conclusion, where Sandra Bullock is seem kissing the soil and thanking the planet, recognizing its importance as a rare harbour of life in an otherwise dangerous and empty universe. Interviews with Cuaron give the impression that he has a deeper knowledge of the extraordinary cost and near impossibility of establishing a permanent colony on another planet, while Nolan seems to have a more naive and uninformed belief in the possibility of space exploration.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

That's a good point, George. I was annoyed by how blithely Gravity treated the end of human space exploration, but its recognition that humans are connected to Earth is certainly more palatable than Interstellar's assumption that we can simply shuck it off and leave it to die.

lavanyasix said...

There's a retro feel to Interstellar's science fiction, specifically in how it completely leaves out the idea of genetic engineering. If the world is being hammered so badly by a food crisis, to the point that farming is a profession being actively cultivated by the (US) government, would about designing new crops? That would seem to be far more practical and cheaper than a space shot. Heck, designing new crops in the lab is so mundane that GMO labeling is a hot button political issue from yesteryear at this point. It'd make sense to ignore genetic engineering if it was seen in-universe as vile somehow — the vigor and species-hopping nature of the omnipresent "blight" almost begs for it to be a GMO go wrong, or an escaped bioweapon — but the field is omitted entirely. Science in Interstellar is space travel, and things that come out of space travel, like MRIs.

Cooper's "[the planet] is telling us to leave" get echoed emotionally near the climax, when Murphy burns her brother's farm to get them to leave for their own good... but that just comes back to the point you made, Abigail. It doesn't really make sense past that surface emotion. For all that farmers are hailed as a treasured national resources in Interstellar's future, there's no support system for them. If things are so bad that the US is willing to voluntarily de-militarize, both due to funding constraints and popular demand of the voters, why is Murphy the one taking care of her brother's family? This dust storms have been happening for over a generation at that point. It boggles the mind that the government would splurge untold billions on a space ark that may never fly, but doesn't have a social safety net for the much-loved farmers that are keeping the wheels from coming off society's wagon. Especially when the Dust Bowl era the movie loves referencing eventually got alleviated, in part, by FDR's New Deal programs.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

Science in Interstellar is space travel, and things that come out of space travel, like MRIs.

Well, I think Cooper mentions some scientific approaches to agriculture at the beginning of the film, and most of his son's education seems aimed at teaching him that sort of thing, so there's at least a reference to the fact that farming can have as much to do with science as space travel. But on the other hand, as you say, the film very deliberately opposes farming and space exploration, and places Cooper on the latter side as a representative of science and progress.

The absence of a social safety net (or indeed an acknowledgment that the film's society couldn't function without one) feels fairly typical of the kind of thoughtless neoliberalism that you see more and more in stuff coming out of Hollywood - works whose creators genuinely aren't aware what a vast network of systems and services exist between the individual and the nebulous entity known as The Government, and how much of our modern lifestyle depends on those systems operating smoothly. It's also fairly typical of Nolan. In The Dark Knight Rises, the sole function of government is to police the streets of Gotham and catch criminals (which it fails at, of course) while tasks like taking care of orphans are left to philanthropic billionaires. In Interstellar, government is the body that builds giant space arks, not the one that feeds hungry people or tries to come up with disease-resistant crop strains.

Dragonchild said...

Meant to respond sooner, unfortunately life stuff happened.

I don't mean to discount "Inception's" role in establishing Nolan's legacy as a Very Serious Filmmaker. Rather, I'm downplaying it. Without Ledger & cast turning "The Dark Knight" from bad to shockingly good, I envision "Inception" might've been received differently, closer to M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" following "Unbreakable" -- maybe not quite as extreme (as "Inception" is obviously a much tighter movie) but a similar "WTF happened?" trajectory. Instead I think the street cred he got from "The Dark Knight" positioned "Inception" to put him over the top. It's an untestable hypothesis, of course, but my point is that "The Dark Knight" was so influential to Nolan's career that it's difficult to imagine how his following movies would've been received otherwise. As Exhibit A I offer "The Dark Knight Rises", which is a TERRIBLE film on all counts yet enjoys an 88/90 critic/fan rating on Rotton Tomatoes. I think people turn their brains off like they're walking into cult sermons when watching Nolan films these days.

As for Whedon, I guess he came to mind because I haven't seen Moffat's works (much to the chagrin of my peers but whatever). I don't quite share your view that Whedon can write characters. Emotion, OK. I find his characters enjoyably animated but otherwise simplistic. I'd say the major difference between Whedon and Nolan (in the context of creativity) is that Whedon can tap his ideas for humor, which spices up the writing and adds more emotional variation. Depth, no. If we evaluate Whedon's writing overall we should acknowledge his knack for humor, but if we limit the scope to depth, he's on par with Nolan. I found myself enjoying the "monster of the week" Buffy episodes far more than the hyperbolic soap opera crap between Buffy and Angel because at least when it's all Scooby Gang hijinks they're not worrying about their "woe is me" eye-rolling drama and Whedon sticks to what he does best. Humor is pretty much all they got out of the incredibly creative "Cabin in the Woods" premise and I'm thinking that's because that's all Whedon can get out of any of his ideas.

baeraad said...

While I do not wish to defend Nolan (who is a very good film maker, but who I after The Dark Knight Rises have decided is also what experts refer to as "an asshat"), I think that you are selling short the... internal logic, for lack of a better phrase... of his take on environmental issues. I think that the whole thing - the idea that the planet is "telling us to leave" when in fact it's disintegrating under the weight of our society - actually makes a lot of sense once you realise that for people like Nolan, it is unnatural to not use whatever resources you can get your hands on to do whatever it is you want. And if you run out of resources, you use every means at your disposal to go find more of them somewhere else. In this case, the natural thing for the human race to do is to exploit the Earth for all its worth, then go out and colonise new planets to exploit.

It makes sense from an emotional perspective. It just feels unnatural to artificially limit yourself, you know? You don't see lions and tigers worry about over-hunting their habitat. (you do see them exhaust their habitats and then starve to death, but romantics like Nolan tend to ignore that part) Looking at it that way, environmentalism is the most unnatural thing in the world.

Just in case it needs stating, I think that this is all bullshit. Like I said, I think Nolan's an asshat. I just feel the need to play devil's advocate and point out that his asshattery is more... coherent than you say it is. (you might, if you wish, compare it to your own feminist theories about how "anger and the desire for power" are necessary for true personhood - I would suggest that Nolan sees the idea of preserving the environment at the cost of lower living standards in much the same way as you see the idea of being humble and mellow at the cost of having a lesser chance to get the things you personally want)

I am also sorry to say that I don't think the complaint that humanity is trying to solve the problems they are facing on Earth rather than exploring the great unknown is metaphorical in the least. It's a complaint that I have seen a certain type of science-minded conservatives make all too frequently. They figure, more or less, that if we scrapped welfare and poured as much money as possible into the space program, it would benefit us in numerous ways in the long run. And again, I don't think much of that belief, but it seems to be genuinely held.

Bryan Pick said...

Abigail, I think you misread this part of the film:
"At its most basic level, it suggests that we would be better off focusing on the almost certainly fantastical problem of finding a habitable planet and getting humanity there, over the astronomically difficult but still comprehensible problem of reducing carbon emissions. Interstellar sidesteps that issue when it tells us that Earth is already doomed and that there's nothing to be done about that, but it can't avoid the deeper problem. 'This planet is a treasure, but it's been telling us to leave for a while now,' Cooper sagely opines near the beginning of the movie, a bit of ludicrous tendentiousness that is never challenged or exploded. Earth isn't telling us anything, of course, but if it could talk, it wouldn't be saying LEAVE; it would be saying STOP. To say that the solution to climate change is merely to find another planet to live on is the same as saying that the reasons for climate change--our rampant, greedy expansion and heedless exploitation of the planet--are natural and inevitable, not the result of social choices, and of the model upon which we've built our society."

Nothing in the film indicates that the blight is like anthropogenic climate change; nothing indicates that it was caused or exacerbated by humanity at all. Nobody talks about somebody being blamed for its existence, so I'd wager the organism is causing a natural catastrophe on the order of the Great Oxygenation Event, only much faster. It's something that defeats every attempt by humanity to fight or adapt, including (contrary to your comment above) visibly trying to develop blight-resistant crops as well as extreme authoritarian measures that nearly include bombing our own cities from space to reduce the population. With that in mind, this next part becomes more understandable too.

"It should only take a moment's thought to realize that Brand is describing a horrible dystopian nightmare..."
I only saw the film once, and I wasn't taking notes, but I didn't think Plan B was intended to be anything other than a desperate, second-best alternative to total extinction, with everything else a "nice to have." Maybe I missed something, but I assumed the human and robot team members would be instructed to make their best effort to socialize the children.

"it's hard not to wonder just what the racial makeup of those embryos is, and whose DNA has truly been represented"
I figured that considering how coldly calculated the mission is to maximize the hope of species survival, they'd maximize genetic diversity while minimizing conditions like hemophilia that would hinder procreation.

Chris Hamilton said...

Most of the hard science and sci-fi stuff ... and romantic/sentimental stuff worked fine for me, with a few exceptions that probably could have been tweaked a bit to fix it but most people with less than a deep understanding of physics wouldn't really notice. (like the tiny ship able to reach orbit on its own ... when the launch from Earth required much MUCH more thrust from external boosters)

The really obvious faults are biological and ecological ... the blight explanation for 'dooms day' is just ... oddly weak and poorly written compared to the rest of the film. The blight is far from implausible, but something like that KILLING all plant and animal life on earth really doesn't make sense. (and making engineered foodstuffs fully synthetic matter, among other things ... plant, animal, fungus or ... totally mechanically/chemically synthesized -etc etc)

THat or ... the fact that a blight of that nature would be SO horrific that space travel wouldn't solve anything. Quarantine in space would be no better than Quarantine on Earth. So if building habitat domes on Earth is not possible, then shooting things into space and building space stations would be no better.

A volcanic disaster, comet/meteor strike, nuclear war or anything like that causing a nuclear winter type scenario (dust blocking sunlight) would have been a much much easier explanation to buy. Eradication of sunlight is pretty much the easiest and most foolproof sci-fi or real world science explanation for plant life on earth dying off in such a way that humans would be helpless to compensate ... beyond just leaving the planet for a long time.

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...
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Su said...

My family watched this together the other night, and one of my reactions to it was that it felt like a certain kind of sci-fi novel, with its multiple locations and protagonists, and its willingness to stretch over so much of the story. You captured that quality of it perfectly, and also all of its many and various flaws.

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