Interstellar’s Scientific Accuracy: It Doesn’t Matter

Interstellar, from acclaimed director Christopher Nolan, has been out for a couple of weeks now and a lot has been made regarding how true it is to actual science. The film is actually the brainchild of Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist who also worked on Contact, another film that uses accurate science. Christopher Nolan also got Kip Thorne as a scientific adviser for the film just to be on the safe side.

That hasn’t gotten people to stop asking questions regarding the validity of this claim. Some people say the movie does a great job utilizing real physics. Others have refuted and have said that a lot of the “facts” can’t really be true. The Discovery Channel even put out an entire special trying to prove how accurate all the science is! It’s gotten to a point where Neil deGrasse Tyson, extremely popular astrophysicist and host of the recent Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey show, has to keep making the rounds just to say how faithful Interstellar is to real physics!

Both Tyson, Thorne and other scientists have gone out of their way to say that Interstellar does follow conventional physics as we know it. But, for me, it doesn’t really matter!

You see, I grew up watching all kinds of science fiction films and television series that were set in space. I’m a big fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek. I enjoyed Firefly and Serenity. I thought The Fifth Element was a great movie. These movies pretty much throw out scientific accuracy out the window and people enjoy them just fine. Why? Because these films and television shows are fun to watch! They manage to capture the imagination of the viewer with fantastic stories and great characters.

But what about space movies and TV shows that are grounded in reality? Well, they can be fun, too! Films like Apollo 13, Gravity and 2001: A Space Odyssey are also great films as well and they took their science really seriously. But these movies aren’t great because they’re scientific accurate. These films set in space are still fondly remembered because, like the previous list of science fiction films I mentioned, they’re just great movies, period!

It's a drama. It's a horror film as well.

It’s a drama. It’s a horror film as well.

Don’t get me wrong! It’s fantastic that Christopher Nolan is going for accuracy first before adding any fantastical elements to Interstellar is still pretty amazing. It shows that he does have a lot of respect for the actual science but, as a film maker and director, he shouldn’t be a slave to accuracy if it’ll sacrifice the purpose of the film: to entertain the viewing public.

I have watched Interstellar and I can understand most of the science in the show, both real and fiction. But there are some things I didn’t like with the movie and one of those things caused me to question how that could happen in reality. You know what I did? I brushed it off. Interstellar didn’t need to be totally factual. Nolan has creative license to bend the truth and I didn’t have a problem with it.

I would’ve had a problem if it was a bad movie though.

Do you think basing a movie on pure scientific fact makes a movie good? Or does it even matter to you? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!


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