The 2014 epic sci-fi ‘Interstellar was’ in some ways a nod to Arthur C Clarke. The theme is so reminiscent of his works, on his take on humanity and how the human race keeps making the same mistakes. Interstellar really is ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ for a new generation. It is a wonderful mix of the human and the science fiction. But if 2001 was existential on a philosophical level, Interstellar was existential on a more visceral, human level.

Directed, co-written, and co-produced by Christopher Nolan. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine. Set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive, the film follows a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity.

The science of “Interstellar” was in good hands with famed theoretical physicist Kip Thorne on board as a consultant and executive producer. One of the most memorable plot devices in the film is the powerful influence of the black hole Gargantua on Miller’s planet: one hour there is equal to seven years elsewhere, including on Earth and aboard the Endurance, i.e. ‘time dilation’.

Kip Thorne stated that he “worked on the equations that would enable tracing of light rays as they traveled through a wormhole or around a black hole—so what you see is based on Einstein’s general relativity equations.” Early in the process, Thorne laid down two guidelines: “First, that nothing would violate established physical laws. Second, that all the wild speculations … would spring from science and not from the fertile mind of a screenwriter.” Nolan accepted these terms as long as they did not get in the way of making the film.

Docking Scene

The docking scene is an absolute highlight. It makes for an incredibly tense sequence. With Hans Zimmer’s score that backs the scene perfectly.

Cooper is trying to dock with the partly damaged Endurance after Dr. Mann’s demise, the Endurance is spinning around its center axis. Cooper has to spin the lander to dock before Endurance falls from orbit.

The scene is the climax of the movie because of the stakes involved for both the characters and mankind in general. It may not sound exciting on its own, but in context, it’s powerful and emotionally resonant. The music is a huge part of that. Simply an amazing synergy on all levels.

This article is part of the series Iconic Scenes from Science Fiction