Last weekend I went out to see Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s newest movie. I’ve pretty much liked every production I’ve seen by Nolan and I love me some science fiction, so I had high hopes for Interstellar. Fortunately, the movie was a very enjoyable experience, although I felt like it had some issues. This… review of the movie will include plenty of spoilers, so watch out, if you haven’t seen it yourself.
Interstellar is set in the not-so-distant future. Mankind is starting to struggle to survive, as some diseases seem to be killing our plants. It paints a rather bleak picture of our future and can also be seen as comment on climate change and the effect our actions have on our environment, although this is not directly stated in the movie.
Humanity’s challenges have made space exploration basically extinct. The US government has even labeled the Moon landings as a hoax, as per the conspiracy theories. While I see movies like Interstellar and Gravity as positive marketing for space exploration, I also took this aspect as a comment on the current state of NASA and lack of manned space missions. A future without space exploration would be a dark one indeed.
I would think most physicists cringe when they hear someone mention “The God Particle” while referring to the Higgs boson. I do, at least a little bit, but at the same time I understand the value in making science a little more sexy. That’s what the documentary Particle Fever does, as it follows the journey to discovering the Higgs.
Nuclear power is a really polarizing subject, especially in Finland currently. There’s the ever more delayed Olkiluoto 3 project and then the possibility of new nuclear power plants being build. Often the discussion surrounding the subject feels a bit superficial and not so correct on the facts. Nuclear power tends to get these gut reactions from people. Radioactivity is scary, mysterious stuff. Or not.
For me, space exploration has always symbolized science. I haven’t always managed to keep up with its latest developments, but the idea of going to space and exploring the mysteries of the universe there definitely has a great appeal. It’s almost mystical.
Instead of exploring the vastness of space, I’ve been browsing the offerings of Netflix. From there, I spotted When we left Earth, a documentary series produced by Discovery channel. It goes through the history of NASA’s space program, from the Mercury project to the International Space Station. Unfortunately it does not offer too much information about the Russian efforts. Most people might not know, for example, that Russians had their own space shuttle but they never launched a manned space flight using it. During my visit to Peenemünde, it became pretty clear that the German scientists had a strong impact on both of the space programs, but this is not really covered by the documentary.
I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t dreamed of being an astronaut at least at some point of my life. I might be a little bit more realistic right now, but given the chance to go to space, I would still definitely go for it. Even after seeing Gravity.
After the disappointment that was Elysium, I started looking for a new movie feel anxious about. It took me some time to find Gravity by Afonso Cuaron. The first trailers I saw seemed to be a little bit too much about action, but otherwise I was optimistic. It of course helped that I enjoyed Children of Men immensely. And then there was going to be George Clooney.
The main character of Gravity is mission specialist Ryan Stone, portrayed by Sandra Bullock. She’s working on installing some new hardware on to the Hubble telescope, but basically every possible kind of shit hits the fan, and she has to fight for her survival along with her astronaut buddies.
If there was a vote for the most popular or least hated person in Finland, the winner could easily be Teemu Selänne. He’s a guy that seems incapable of doing things wrong. Well, if you believe Sel8nne, a documentary film concentrating on Teemu’s life, he might just be that.
The documentary basically goes through Teemu’s career from juniors to recent years. In this sense, it does not hold any surprises for a sports fan, even though it’s nice to have a recap before Teemu finally retires after this season – and I do believe he will really do it this time. And his story is pretty great, especially the comeback after the lockout and finally winning Stanley Cup.
Over the years, the TV series X-files has been broadcasted many times on television here in Finland. Like with several other shows, it’s easy to catch an episode here and there without building a cohesive overall picture of the show. Still, considering my fondness of all things sci-fi and alien, I’ve always felt like I should take the time and watch the whole series from beginning to end, and that is just what I’ve done, thanks to (the American) Netflix.
It was a massive undertaking. Nine seasons with about 20 episodes each, totaling at around 200, 43 minutes a shot. That’s a huge amount of time. I have to admit that I did not concentrate purely on watching the show but I was often doing something else at the same time, depending on the episode of course.
Anyways, I thought I’d offers some thoughts about the series. I will not be describing every single detail or doing a deep analysis of all the plot elements. Instead, I will be discussing just some of the things that stick with me through the series.