As excited as we’ve been for movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Godzilla this year, there’s no film we’ve been looking forward to quite like Christopher Nolan’s epic (like 169-minutes long epic) Interstellar. The final publicity push is getting underway, and part of that includes these four new stunning TV spots, which feature new footage and reveal some story details. Nolan himself has also been talking up his film, and discusses the style, tone, and influences you’ll see when it hits theaters on November 7.
Interstellar is set in a near future where climate change has progressed to the point where Earth won’t be habitable much longer. In order to survive, a pilot named Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a crew of explorers must blast through a newly discovered wormhole to search for a new planet to colonize. This first extended spot shows off the state of the world, which resembles a Great Depression-esque dustbowl, the ship the crew will take on their adventure, and that weird walking monolith thing, which you just know has a cool name.
You see the surfaces of another planet, or planets, but this is the first time we hear the issue of time directly addressed. Each hour on the surface of one planet is equal to seven years Earth time, which is why it looks like Cooper’s kids grow from children to adults over the course of the film while he stays the same age (his Dazed and Confused character might have an issue with that).
Spot two also has some new footage, but the most interesting bit here is that there are a dozen nearby planets that could possibly play host to a refugee human race. We’ve suspected that they will explore multiple worlds, but this seems to substantiate that belief. It also drives home the stakes, that this will save us from certain doom and extinction, and features a ton of action, tension, and family drama.
I don’t know if you got this from the earlier spots, but Cooper is apparently the best pilot ever. Again, movies just illustrate that you should shoot for mediocrity, because when you’re the best, be it at flying like here or cooking meth like in Breaking Bad, you wind up being forced to do terrible things and wind up encountering mountain sized waves. There’s also a very McConaughey moment with that sly, “here we go.” That could have been lifted directly from damn near any movie he’s ever made.
With a movie this size and scale, with such scope and big ideas, you can bet that Interstellar is going to evoke some of classic works of science fiction. Talking to Empire, Nolan discussed his style and the films that influenced his latest work. He says:
It’s not straight action and it’s not straight thriller. I do liken it to the blockbusters I grew up with as a kid. A lot of them by Spielberg. I don’t like talking about Spielberg too much because he was the director on the project before me and I don’t want to keep coming back to that, but the truth is, there’s a great spirit to films like Close Encounters [Of The Third Kind] and Jaws that I really wanted to try and capture, because I haven’t seen it in a very long time.
Nolan describes Interstellar as a “family film,” but in a different sense than we’ve come to view that word in recent years. And again, it’s hard not to think of those classic Spielberg movies when he talks about the film. He says:
I mean, J.J. [Abrams] paid great homage to it in Super 8, but it was a very literal homage. We’re trying to do: ‘What would that kind of film be now? Not in that period, as J.J. did, but now. It’s been a really interesting challenge. When you say you’re making a family film, it has all these pejorative connotations that it’ll be somehow soft. But when I was a kid, these were family films in the best sense, and they were as edgy and incisive and challenging as anything else on the blockbuster spectrum. I wanted to bring that back in some way.
You can already tell there is going to be a lot going on, thematically, and Nolan has shown time and again in films like Inception, that he’s going to try to make your brain work. This is obviously going to lead to some comparisons to a certain Stanley Kubrick movie, and while the director acknowledges this debt, there is another film he cites in this regard. He says:
You can’t pretend 2001 doesn’t exist when you’re making Interstellar. But the other film I’d have to point to is The Right Stuff. I screened a print of it for the crew before we started, because that’s a film that not enough people have seen on the big screen. It’s an almost perfectly made film. It’s one of the great American movies and people don’t quite realize how great it is — probably because it’s four hours long!
Interstellar also stars Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, David Oyelowo, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, Mackenzie Foy, Bill Irwin, Timothée Chalamet, and Matt Damon, and opens everywhere in IMAX on November 7.