Monday, January 12, 2015

Economics of Interstellar Are Far From Stellar

I watched Interstellar in the cut rate movie theater in Sioux Falls yesterday (1/11/15) and wish I had my $3.50 and 3 hours back! I've wanted to watch the movie ever since reading a laudatory review of it on a bulletin board in a theater back east over Christmas break. The reviewer focused mostly on the science of black holes and so forth and not being a physicist I guess that part of the movie was okay. But the economics were ... underdeveloped to say the least. The reason Matthew McConaughey has to travel to another galaxy ***spoiler alert, spoiler alert *** to have his ass kicked (well, his face mask smashed) by Matt Damon is that earth is dying due to giant dust storms a la the Great Depression and plant diseases that have somehow become uncontrollable. Only corn remains and is somehow directly feeding the remaining billion people on the planet. Seriously, McConaughey's character complains that they have to eat popcorn at a baseball game instead of hot dogs! Corn is a good choice for "last crop" standing but there are no mentions of other crops (soybeans for example) aside from wheat and ochra or what happened to all the domesticates that can eat corn and end up in hot dogs, like hogs. (And I mean that literally, not just that if you remove the "ot d" from hot dogs you end up with hogs.) And where the heck are the locusts?

But here is the big question: If you are spending millions on actors and special effects, why not spend a few bucks on an economic consultant? Heck, I'd have done it for a grand and business historian Mary Yeager (wife of John Lithgow, who appears in the movie as McConaughey's father-in-law) might well have helped out gratis. What sense does it make to produce a movie that has (apparently) passable physics only to motivate the story with some leftist-sounding economic hooey?

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