Christopher Nolan fans rejoice as the new Interstellar trailer has been released.
The two-minute reel leaves sci-fi fans with even more unanswered questions than after the first Interstellar teaser, making this the most cryptic project Matthew McConaughey has been in since Contact.
This new preview introduces McConaughey as Cooper, a well-schooled engineer and pilot whose considerable talents are leveraged to save a world that is running out of food. Cut together with scenes of McConaughey careening through a corn field in a pick-up truck, we see a dystopian near-future. Burning wasteland, abandoned bicycles, and clouds of dust hurtling toward a neighborhood baseball game all show humanity on the brink of great change.
While it’s entertaining to envision this as a mashup of Twister and Field of Dreams, the preview goes on to reveal a more Nolan-esque vision. Michael Caine’s calming voice-over tells us, “We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can help us.” It is up to Cooper to find the key to saving humankind by searching the stars.
it’s a fairly straight-forward “save the world” premise and likely wouldn’t arouse such intense scrutiny and speculation were it not for the director’s reputation for making films with a twist. There are three major unanswered questions from this preview. How did the Earth run out of food? Why is Cooper the person chosen to undertake the mission? And how and with whom does he travel?
Firstly, running out of food could be a byproduct of major climate shift. Based on the burning fields and the high percentage of the trailer set in a corn field, crops are likely unsustainable, though no explanation is given for why synthetic options aren’t available.
Secondly, why Cooper? Well, Cooper appears to have contacts within a government agency. We hear the line, “this is the mission you’ve been trained for,” suggesting that Cooper unknowingly has participated in a program to prepare him. He calls Michael Caine’s character “Professor,” so it’s anyone’s guess what agency is behind the mission. As a pilot, there’s a pretty good chance he has a military background, especially as we see him explaining what a drone is to his daughter. He’ll probably have a storyline that addresses his aptitudes and status as an apparent single-dad.
Lastly, how and where does he go, and with whom? We catch a brief glimpse of other characters in space suits, notably Anne Hathaway, so presumably Cooper doesn’t go alone. There are several shots of a vehicle that looks quite a bit like a Space Shuttle, or even an Atlas Rocket of the Mercury Space Program. However there is no blatant flashing of the NASA logo, which space-travel films usually can’t wait to bust out.
We do see a group of travelers put into what looks like a type of cryogenic sleep, though the rest of the trailer points toward travel through a wormhole. Cooper promises his daughter he’d be back, and so this along with the exploratory nature of his mission seems to contradict the need for a comatose state while traveling.
While the new Interstellar trailer gave audiences a few more glimpses into the nature of the movie, it mostly just introduced more questions and more excitement. It could be a film focusing entirely on space travel, culminating in the evacuation of the human race to an alternate location. The Battlestar Galactica-esque text overlay certainly hints toward that: “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.” However much of the trailer focuses on Cooper’s relationship with his family, so perhaps interstellar travel is mostly a metaphor for some greater message.
At this point it’s anyone’s guess. We’ll just have wait until November 7 to see if it lives up to its name.
Images: Paramount Pictures