There are a good many reviewers, critics and various scientists who are spending an inordinate amount of time looking for, and identifying, holes in the plot of Interstellar when they should be just enjoying the story. Unfortunately science fiction does tend to bring “experts” scurrying out of the word work chattering about real science versus what is used in the film to move the plot, characters and story forward. Perhaps this tendency to scoff and jeer at the devices used in the feature films to explain the rudimentary mechanics of physics and time comes from being too academic.
Certainly is it not wrong to question things that are confusing or make no sense. More often than not, if a movie is done well the average audience member gets caught up in the action and these small jarring moments, or holes, are smoothed over. Just as in films that do not deal with the space time continuum or dimensions other than our own. For example, continuity errors or the sight of a cameraman or boom operator in a window or mirror happens in features where the budget is in the millions, yet the story is so compelling that only the viewers who are actively looking for these filmic faux pas find them at first.
To be sure, there are at the very least two different kinds of science fiction. At its most base form there are mechanical stories, which are incredibly technical and contain things that could well be true with the science in either the book or film bearing up under scrutiny, or personal tales. Ray Bradbury used to call the latter type of story, more fantasy than science. In the second instance all the reader or audience member need to know that that a rocket is just a means to get from one planet to another. A robot is something that aids or hinders mankind in other works the science is not intrusive or overwhelming. Interstellar seems to fit more in the second category and the amount of experts who are looking for holes or science fact that does not add up in Interstellar, need to stop for a moment and just enjoy the story the film is telling.
Christopher Nolan’s film may include space travel, the death of the Earth and the possible extinction of mankind and on the face of it, Interstellar contains just enough science fact to fill in the blanks for the mechanics of the story. But this science fact is, like the gravity equation of Professor Brand in the film, a MacGuffin. In other words a device to move the film’s plot forward through time and space and in Interstellar there are several MacGuffins, even the Wormhole fills this function.
While this black hole is important to the travel aspects of Interstellar and in other elements (Things that if they are discussed will serve as massive spoilers to the film so they will not be mentioned.) it is no more than a device to move the plot and story forward. Just look at how the characters in the film discuss it. No one knows how the thing got there, it just showed up one day. The various experts in the film know, or think, that “they” put it there but have no idea who “they” are or might be.
Certainly looks and sounds like a MacGuffin. In Interstellar the wormhole or black hole is not important apart from its use to find another galaxy for mankind to escape to. There are so many so-called experts who are spending copious amounts of time looking for holes that the Internet is full of people discussing how and why the science either does not work or does not make sense. Perhaps this pastime comes from being too intelligent and not having the ability to suspend disbelief, which is a necessity for anyone over the age of 12 watching a film. Spending time trying to figure out if a movie’s plot can really happen makes it hard to enjoy the story, which is, at its very core about people, love and hope. Interstellar would be classed, in Ray Bradbury’s mind as a fantasy and not “real” science fiction and it is first class entertainment regardless of how one looks at it.
By Michael Smith