Saturday, November 15, 2014
Interstellar: Good Space Film, Bad Climate-Change Parable - Atlantic piece by Noah Gittell of ReelChange.Net
There is already plenty of evidence of America’s alarming inability to reckon with climate change, but perhaps none is more surprising than this: Even Hollywood doesn’t get it. NOT YET THAT IS. ------------------ http://m.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/11/why-interstellar-ignores-climate-change/382788/ ================== take outs ----------------There is already plenty of evidence of America's alarming inability to reckon with climate change, but perhaps none is more surprising than this: Even Hollywood doesn't get it. The entertainment industry is rightly thought of as a haven for progressive thought, but Hollywood has yet to adequately address the issue of climate change. Of course, neither has any government in the world, and maybe for the same reason: When faced with unpleasant realities, we all prefer a fantasy. Which brings us to Interstellar. ....no matter how you feel about Interstellar as a piece of entertainment, one thing should be agreed upon: As a climate-change parable, it fails. Climate change is never mentioned by name in the film, but Nolan uses its imagery to define the terms of his story. Interstellar is set in a near-future Earth on the verge of total ecological collapse, with drastic changes in weather patterns and devastating food shortages driving human beings to the brink of extinction. We never learn exactly what caused this devastation but Cooper, , pins it on a failure of the human spirit: Interstellar is the latest attempt to arouse interest in the sciences through pop culture. But by placing his plea in the context of our climate change crisis, Nolan has set up a false choice: In the world of Interstellar, mankind can either leave the planet behind, or it can stay here and die. The choices that humans--here in the real world--actually have to make regarding climate change and the future of the earth are much more complicated, and are nowhere to be found onscreen. Nolan fails to look inward and uncover the flaws and solutions in humanity; instead, he prefers to gaze up at the stars and fantasize. Of course, filmmakers have a right--or even a duty--to fantasize, but a small tweak could made Interstellar's message much more relevant to the present day. There is a good scene early scene in the film, a parent-teacher conference in which Cooper discovers that the latest version of his daughter's textbooks states that NASA faked the Apollo 11 moon landing in order to trick the Soviet Union into wasting all of its resources in the space race. It's a great point. Cooper's subsequent mission does lead to discoveries--black-hole data showing how to manipulate gravity--that save humanity by allowing it to leave Earth. It would have been more compelling, though, for Nolan to have those discoveries be ones that allow humanity to stay on Earth. The ways that climate change and other environmental crises can be addressed are not dramatic or awe-inspiring. THEY COULD BE!!! For those who care about climate change, the film feels like a missed opportunity. YES But it's not a surprising one, given Hollywood's recent track record. Why does Hollywood keep getting the environment wrong? Maybe it's for the same reasons that politicians have been unable to fix it: Because the ways that climate change and other environmental crises can be addressed are not dramatic or awe-inspiring. The dangers of doing nothing are horrifyingly cinematic, but the solutions are prosaic and dull. But it would be nice to see a filmmaker try to make them entertaining.
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 8:16 PM