17

Did the robots, which have less than 100% honesty settings, ever lie in such a way that the audience and/or characters may have been tricked? This plot point seemed important when addressed directly during the story, but I missed if it ever opened up the door to a classic Nolan teaser, where what we think is true may not be true. Thoughts?

  • 2
    from what I recall, they mainly lied so as not to hurt human feelings, and for humour purposes. – Huey Nov 14 '14 at 2:52
  • Yeah, that may have been the sum of it, but I thought that perhaps there could have been more I missed...but maybe not. – ResonantPictures Nov 16 '14 at 18:59
18

No, not really.

CASE had kept his disabling of the craft's docking ability to himself, out of suspicion of Dr. Mann, but that's it.

For some time I thought the reveal that

Plan A was a lie

would cause the robots to start fighting against the human astronauts, HAL-style, but this never happened.

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    I was half-expecting Murph's message to cut out right after she notifies Brand of her father's death :) – Chahk Nov 18 '14 at 16:46
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    As a sidebar, it was rather refreshing to watch a movie where the robot characters were not used as a foil, but were instead genuinely helpful to the humans. Decades of evil robot movies have conditioned me to be suspicious of robots in movies. – RESPAWN Dec 15 '14 at 21:02
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    Funniest line of the movie goes to TARS: "Everybody good? Plenty of slaves for my robot colony? " – Jim2B Mar 13 '15 at 23:59
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    @Jim2B: Thanks to you I just stayed up far too late re-watching the darn thing! – Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 14 '15 at 5:15
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    @RESPAWN We are told that the robots can lie. TARS is introduced as Cooper's interrogator and former military robot, and Cooper remarks that the model has a history of faulty programming. Dr. Mann says that he disassembled KIPP because he had begun malfunctioning. I think you were supposed to be suspicious. – KSmarts Apr 3 '15 at 17:24
5

Consider when Romilly asks Cooper for another chance at Gargantua, TARS is brought up as the candidate to glimpse the singularity; Cooper asks TARS if he would be willing to do it for them.

TARS: ~"Before you get all teary-eyed, remember, as a robot, I have to do anything you say."

Cooper: ~"Your cue light is blinking" (It is not as I recall).

TARS: ~"I'm not joking." (The cue light comes on with this statement).

It would seem this generates some ambiguity, especially considering that Cooper recycles these same words to justify to Brand as to why TARS will get ejected into Gargantua. This might be Cooper joking, but it isn't dismissed. TARS replies again ambiguously

this is what we always planned.

So either TARS is an altruistic robot capable of self-sacrifice, or, TARS is fundamentally under human control, just accidentally altruistic. The film seems to sell robots as being under the control of humans, but the film also builds TARS as a dynamic character and key to the film's most emotional scenes...perhaps the first exchange is TARS using his poker face (it seems clear the robots learn), integrating his humor setting and his honesty setting.

Anyway, I'd say that's some trickery used on the audience/characters.

  • 1
    Cooper never told TARS his cue light was blinking, he said it was broken. – b1nary.atr0phy Jul 16 '16 at 0:04
  • I guess I'm not 100% w/o going back to check... I don't see any reason why you would make it up, so I'll assume true. But, even saying "broken", you still get the same/similar ambiguity. I blame McConaughey with his often soft spoken angelic voice & his range of acting...it's the only possible explanation... – user48252 May 3 '18 at 17:15

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