If a superpower were to rule over the entirety of the
universe, they would quickly find themselves drowning in
might arise in that reality, and how could they be
conquered or avoided altogether?
scenario forms the basis of Interstellar Empires, an
entertaining and informative documentary from science
and futurism filmmaker Isaac Arthur.
Arthur openly admits that these concepts have been
grappled with before in works of popular science
fiction, including Frank Herbert's game changing opus
His film debates
the logistics of the seemingly far-fetched ideas
presented in novels and video games, digs into their
minutia, and provides a dizzying whirl of fascinating
tangents along the way.
The task of keeping order in every galaxy would prove
cumbersome to say the least.
For instance, if
chaos were to ensue on the other side of the universe,
it could take a million years to hear the call for help
and dispatch a fleet of spacecraft to deal with it.
would be inconceivable without advances in speed of
light travel and the expansion of an average person's
The film moves breathlessly as one perplexing concern
inspires the next.
If a life span
could be extended far beyond our current expectations,
how would it affect the character and function of the
The film considers
a number of factors that might come into play, including
concepts related to overpopulation, disease control, and
the likelihood that a governing body would take a
Arthur explains how many of today's technologies and
accepted scientific theories could provide the seeds for
this imagined future.
His narration is
constant, dense with insight, and often shifts between
the playful and the studious.
The film is also
populated by stunningly imaginative graphics, a plethora
of appropriate stock footage, and a stirring ambient
Above all else, Interstellar Empires inspires continued
rumination on the possibilities of a universe far most
immense than any of us can grasp.
To the film's
credit, it doesn't wallow in apocalyptic fantasy like so
many of the "what-if" scenarios that are presented to us
Instead, it offers
the hope that anything is possible.