Paramount Pictures has finally launched the first teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, which is getting fairly mixed reactions from fans that have seen it. It contains just a few seconds of actual footage from the movie, setting up Matthew McConaughey's Cooper as our hero. It is an inspirational montage of space exploration footage from America's rich archives, and stands as a call to arms for the restoration of NASA and our space program, which has ground to a halt in this country over the past few years. Some people have found it quite emotional and moving, while others are a little baffled by it. What does it all mean? Christopher Nolan has always been a cinematic magician, and he wants a deserved air of mystery surrounding this particular drama, which promises to be a true science fiction epic. But what do we really know about Interstellar? Watch the trailer again, and then uncover some of the mystery behind the movie.
1 It is Based on the Theories of Kip Thorne
Interstellar's screenplay, which follows a group of explores who use a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations of human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in interstellar voyage, was written by Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, as inspired by the theories of theoretical physicist, gravitational physicist and astrophysicist Kip Thorne. Great. Cool. But who, exactly is this guy? Kip Thorne is a 73 year-old professor who counts Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan as his best friends. He has worked as a college professor, and is one of the world's leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein's general theory of relativity. We need just look at some of the questions he has posed about space exploration to see where the story might be headed. We already know there is a wormhole in the movie. Its likely that Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his team will travel to what is known as 'the dark side of the universe', which will in turn give the visionary that is Christopher Nolan a way to artistically express what his imagination sees as a possibility for what lies at the deep end of space. It is here that he will likely allow viewers, for the first time in a film, in IMAX and 3D, to observe the birth of the universe. Interstellar will set aside all that we know from popcorn sci-fi, giving audiences the most realistic visual explanation of a space-time warp and gravitational waves that we've ever seen, utilizing the vast technological tools he now has at his disposal. We will also likely see a cinematic exploration of quantum behavior. While we have a minuscule understanding of how this will be wrapped around a three-act structure, its not a stretch to expect the appearance of black holes, gravitational radiation, relativity, time travel, and wormholes before the movie is over.
2 While It Goes Off Planet, Don't Compared it to 2001: A Space Odyssey
In talking about influences for the film, Christopher Nolan is quick to point out some of the bench marks of the science fiction genre, which, for him, include 1927's Metropolis, 1982's Blade Runner and especially 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey, the later of which he fears people might be pulled towards when pointing a finger at his inspiration 'apparent'. As he explains it, he is not attempting to emulate Stanley Kubrick in any way. And the two films are grounded in completely different subject matter. While it might be an easy comparison to make right now, the director assures us that the Kubrick classic will not be the first conclusion we reach upon leaving the theater. Though, he does share one element of artistic expression with the late maestro. As he explains, "There is one thing I associate with what Stanley Kubrick does, which is calm. There is such an inherent calm and inherent trust of the one powerful image, that he makes me embarrassed with my own work, in terms of how many different shots, how many different sound effects, how many different things we'll throw at an audience to make an impression. But with Kubrick, there is such a great trust of the one correct image to calmly explain something to audience. There can be some slowness to the editing. There's nothing frenetic about it. It's very simple. There's a trust in simple storytelling and simple image making that actually takes massive confidence to try and emulate."
3 The Story Involves Corn, Farming and Bio-fuel
Why is Cooper heading into space? We don't have all the answers, and probably won't until the movie is released. But we knew before, and it is backed up by the trailer, that corn plays an important part of the storyline. So does farming and bio-fuel. We're not sure which side of the argument Christopher Nolan stands on when it comes to GMOs and alternative energy, but part of the space exploration that takes place in Interstellar happens because we are in need of new soil to grow crops. Those who are enveloped in a world of cinema (i.e., fans of sites like ours), might not be fully aware of the problems facing farmers in America right now. Its not a subject often tackled in a big budget Hollywood movie. Some fans fear the story might turn preachy, becoming a propaganda piece on environmental studies. That its An Inconvenient Truth Part II. There will definitely be an undercurrent of that in the film. But again, we can't really judge how this is handled, or how school board chalky it may get on screen. Christopher Nolan is an entertainer first. He is a magician second. He will likely use those two inherent talents to pull you in, and give you something to really think about as a person, and where this country is headed. We doubt he'll dump a eye-drying lecture on us, and leave it at that. That's not really his style.
4 Christopher Nolan Wants to Inspire You To Believe in Space Exploration
NASA and the United States Space Program have been in the dumps for a longtime. Man does not travel into space anymore. And it seems as though we, as a nation, have given up in terms of our search for new life and new civilizations beyond or universe. That's something that is in the midst of changing, and Christopher Nolan would like to lead the charge. The Interstellar teaser is more of a PSA for getting NASA back up and running to its full potential, more so than it is a commercial for a Hollywood blockbuster. This theme will be strong in the narrative of the movie. It will be like an OMNI exhibition wrapped in a contemplative narrative, offering a digitized look at what might await us in the further reaches of space. The film will likely be highly motivational. It will surely be full of hope, and wonder, and serve as an inspiration, so don't expect some horrible ending, where Aliens come out and eat everybody. Just this past week, a water vapor was discovered, shooting mist 125 miles high on the surface of Jupiter's Europa moon. People are interested in space exploration and travel again. Its happening slowly, but its happening. Interstellar will keep that momentum moving forward with a story that is uplifting. We're not getting a horror show here. Unless, of course, a major twist awaits us. Which we simple can't discount from the man that gave us Memento and Insomnia.
5 It's a Story Driven Movie
This may be an odd thing to point out, but it's the go-to answer whenever anyone asks a cast member, or Christopher Nolan, about the film. It's the first thing they say. So, it's evident that we won't be getting some bombastic, fast-paced thrill ride that is solely reliant on special effects or CGI. This is thick with science fact, weaved into a narrative that is strongly character based. Just look at what we've already pointed out. Nolan has expressed a lean towards the 'calm' when it comes to this particular movie. It will be full of breathtaking cinematography. There will be intense passages of dialogue. It won't be Bane fighting Batman. There's a reason Interstellar is being released in November. It's an Awards picture. A drama. We're sure there will be some action. Space travel is purely adventure. But from what the cast and crew have hinted at thus far, this will hearken back to an era when movies took their time in telling a story. It will be deliberately paced for maximum impact. It will be like enveloping oneself in a long, epic novel. It could very well turn away some of those fans who are purely about The Dark Knight, because its going to be a different kind of picture. More than anything, we understand that it will be a substantially quiet movie. When we included it in our movies that might bomb last month, we iterated, it's not because of the movie itself. This could very well be a cinematic masterpiece. But it might throw some Christopher Nolan fans for a loop. It will be like when Quentin Tarantino went from Pulp Fiction to Jackie Brown, or Robert Zemeckis went from Forrest Gump to Contact. It was a miasmic shift that reflected the director's interests at the time, but threw fans off, because they were expecting more of the same from before. And if we can point at any particular influence, Contact might come the closest. While we still don't know much, we can promise this will be far removed from The Dark Knight.
6 It Will Be a Time Travel Movie
Time travel is not an aspect being played up in this first trailer. But it is the main theme in most of Kip Thorne's work. And while its been hinted at in terms of the story here, its not hard to un-Rubik's this cube and see that the main push of the storyline here will be time travel. The thing about that element of the screenplay, though, is that it won't be the type of time travel we know from other sci-fi movies. This will be something completely different, and there's no telling where it will take the story. The promise is, we've never seen anything like this. And in using the theories of Kip Thorne, we, as film goers, will get a first hand account of what real, true time travel looks and feels like. And what it is possible of doing to the mind, body and soul in real time. Of course, these are all 'time travel theories', but as we stated before, it is all based in scientific fact. So will Cooper come out of the other side of a wormhole like the ship in Disney's The Black Hole? For more answers, read up on Kip Thorne. A great deal of the film's mystery lies within that established and published work he has contributed to the field of science and space exploration. Watch Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, which is also based on his work.
All of the above has been culled from the various limited interviews and expressed subject matter that has come forward for the movie thus far. As you can see, the first Interstellar trailer is a true teaser. Christopher Nolan has established himself as a name brand, and a trusted money earner. He doesn't have to show us anything else, and what we will see leading up to the film's release will be extremely limited. This may be his one and only chance to really hold back on an audience, and he's taking that risk. If (god forbid) Interstellar bombs, he'll continue to make movies. No doubt. But he won't get away with this type of secrecy. So enjoy the anticipation and mystery and wonder he is playing with here. We don't often get this. And it's a treat for movie lovers. And space travel enthusiasts.
Interstellar comes to theaters November 7th, 2014 and stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan.