Another Year, Another Dying Earth Movie

Am I the only sci-fi geek who isn’t excited by this trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar?

A plethora of I09 commenters collectively urinated when the popular blog shared the trailer this morning, but does it really show us anything worth getting excited about? If you ask me, which I realize nobody did, it looks kinda dull and predictable.

“Wow”. The word that came out of my mouth after watching this.

– spocko (easily impressed i09 commenter)

The title itself gives us a clue as to what is going to happen. A man is going to travel to another star system and thus save the entire of humanity despite failing to address the huge logistical problems of transporting the rest of the human populace to the heavenly paradise that exists there.

We’re also going to get to see some of the problems Earth faces as a result of the energy crisis, climate change, famine, bees, and all that jazz. Which is great because, that’s never been done before.

Matthew McConaughey plays an ordinary American Joe, who’s also not just an Average Joe. He’s an engineer, and a trained pilot, and probably a genius, and also just some bloke, and humanity’s last hope, and also just some bloke. Despite being told in the trailer that the world doesn’t need engineers (although clearly it does), it turns out it does! It also needs a trained pilot. And McConaughey is exactly the kind of down-on-his-luck average American engineer-pilot the world needs. Because the people who dedicated their lives to building the spaceship just aren’t average enough to fly it.

Throw in some motherless kids and you’ve got yourself a trope. One of many, I might add.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it looks like a bad movie; it’ll probably be at least OK. Nolan’s previous movies have been OK, and there’s a speculative future aspect to the movie that might be worth a look-in. It just doesn’t look like the mind-blowing science fiction I feel we should be making in this century, and certainly not the kind I get excited about.

If done well it could be Children of Men meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then again, it could also be 2012 meets Armageddon. Just sayin’.

Eh. Is that it? Aside from scale, this is basically a trailer for the beginning of a truck ride. Trucker dad has to leave his daughter and set out on the highway. Woo.
Pretty images of space sell trips to the planetarium, not films. Where’s the conflict? The insane AI, the oxygen tank rupture, the enemy agent, or the dangerous space debris? Why should I be excited to see this movie? Cause let me tell you, outside of a documentary, a planet dying from ecological disaster isn’t enough of an imminent threat to get me interested.
– blue-haired_lawyer (a more sensible i09 commenter)

Let’s hope there’s more going on in the movie than Nolan is letting on. Let’s also hope what he’s keeping from us isn’t some Contact-style formless aliens at the end, because that would suck giant flashy space balls.

And speaking of giant flashy space balls, what type of drive do you think McConaughey is using to abandon his children for the good of all mankind? Is it an Alcubierre drive, a spherical wormhole, or just a big ball of handwavium? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.

  • Cassidy Frazee

    Wait another month, and Nolan will release the trailer that tells the people who aren’t excited about the movie everything they need to know. Then they won’t need to see it. For me, I’m interested; Nolan does interesting work, even when it misses. Oh, and I guess this means when I write that article your brother asked me to write on warp drives (because of this trailer), I can get extra snarky about dying from ecological disasters. Then again, didn’t I write an article about getting off Earth? 🙂

    • Yes you did. I should have referenced it. Here it is: http://www.scifiideas.com/science-2/packin-terra-plantation/

      Snark away. I like snark.

      He’s a good director, it’s the hype I can’t stand.
      I just think the premise is a little tedious for all the wetness it provoked on i09. It looks like it should be “really good for a movie I bought at a motorway service station” rather than “OMG if I don’t see it in the theatre I’ll melt!”

      • Cassidy Frazee

        The reason we’re getting hype is because there is so little “smart science fiction” these days. Star Wars and Transformers? No, not a chance–but that’s what’s passing for it these days. This has the look of having something interesting behind it. And you know one of the reasons the kids were show is so they can play on The Twin Paradox. You watch.

  • I’m gonna take a guess at the technology they’re using to go “interstellar”. I think it’s going to be a “quantum relativity drive” powered by a father’s love for his children.

    • Terry Maggert

      I have it on good authority that the power source is Cheddite.

    • John H Reiher Jr

      According to the Wikipedia entry for this movie, they are using a wormhole to travel to another star system. Even though the graphics also look like an Aluberrie warp drive.

  • James Pailly

    “Murphy’s law does’t mean that something bad will happen.”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that is what Murphy’s law means.

    • “The world doesn’t need engineers”.

      Yes it does. That’s exactly what it needs.

      • Frank Dozier

        Actually, the line is “The world doesn’t need more engineers.” That little difference makes it make sense.

  • Cody

    The trailer only shows the first 30-40 mins of the movie. If the original script is any indication this is just a must see for any sci-fi fan.

    Kip Thorne is a producer,consultant and also wrote a script treatment which is certainly a plus. The space scenes already look very accurate

  • Vanessa Ravencroft

    I am sort of tired of these thinly veiled “Hollywood loves the Eco message and still thinks Al Gore is right” message. I mean since Avatar there has to be a “dying Earth -evil corporation – evil humans abusing Earths resources” message in the movie or the producers won’t green light the project ( I am working for the Motion Picture industry in Hollywood and have been to quite a few production meetings.)
    I guess since we had a doe eyed Councilors manning a duty station on the bridge of a Star Ship. I am waiting for “Jewish Lawyers in Space” or “Treehuggers and Eco Freaks vs. the Evil Lumberjacks”…
    There are so many great SF stories worthy to be filmed and all we get is either “We need to sell more toys” sequels or “Vegan lifestyle will save humanity” films.

  • Vanessa Ravencroft

    Here are some points that maybe help you think get off the “Recycle a
    can and you safe the planet trip.”
    Human perception is very small. Do you know what kind of winters or summers
    your grand dad experienced? Do you know what your forefathers five
    generations ago, thought about seasons?

    The statement: “exceptional cold winter” is based on what comparison.
    The winters you experienced as an adult? Compared to the temperature
    data collected for the last hundred years? Well we can’t go back much
    further because there has been no temperature taken other than with
    perhaps a finger. Oh yes I know the tree rings and ice core readings.
    The oldest life trees are an estimated 6800 years old. The growth
    cycle data analyzed out of tree rings are not all that accurate,
    because temperature does not affect the growth of a tree, the supply
    of water is. Now water supply is part of the weather pattern yes, but
    does not indicate temperature changes on a global scale and those
    Global Warming Nazis want everyone believe it is a global phenomenon,
    right? So tree rings of an Oak in England doesn’t really tell you the
    temperature (water supply/ rain ) lets say in China.

    Ice cores are even less precise, we are talking about approximate
    temperature changes in the region the ice was drilled.

    Yes global weather and temperatures do change, but it happens with or
    without humans.

    No one argues that there have been ice ages, many lakes, big boulders
    and entire landscapes were changed due to the ice cover, but there
    weren’t all that many cars or factories around. It must have been the
    few camp fires of those early ancestors of ours that caused the
    global warming back then, because there is one thing that simply has
    to happen after an ice age…yup Climate change!

    And now comes the big one. The last ice age isn’t over. Nope, the polar
    ice caps are the last left over. You will find skeletons of rats,
    coal, oil, petrified wood and other things under the ice of the
    South Pole. It got there, believe it or not by growing before there
    was any ice.

    Same thing with past the Arctic circle. All the coal and oil and things
    you find in or under the permanent ice, indicates that Alaska and
    Siberia were once covered with tropical forests. Now trees don’t
    really grow on ice. So it had to be a tad warmer.

    Yes indeed there was more than one ice age. Of course we are taking
    millions of years but then, human perception of time and geological
    time are not exactly compatible, especially with Lucy Soccer mom or
    Fred Sheep who slept through science class because it was way to
    complicated.

    Now lets make a little practical experiment. Go fill a glass with some
    ice cubes and then fill it with water, all the way. Yes be bold, fill
    it all the way to the top. Very good. I mean all the way, not a
    millimeter to spare. Now let the ice melt. I am sure you already have the towel ready to dry up the water that spills. Because once the ice melts the level of the water must rise, right? I mean that is what they tell you what happens when the polar ice melts. But lord an behold you will find that all the ice melting
    will not increase the level but out of some magic reason the water
    level dropped. Yep pesky physics get into the way of liberal panic
    and the government knows best rhetoric. But even worse, math will
    ruin the day of any Man made global warming / climate change prophet.
    You actually can calculate the volume of all the ice and add it to
    all the volume of ocean water, and guess what?

    The volume isn’t even enough to add one centimeter. I am taking world
    wide.(the density of ice is less than that of water, and yes Ice
    floats!)

    What also floats in water?
    Bread
    Apples
    Very small rocks
    King: A Duck!
    (all look and stare at king)
    V: Exactly! So, logically…

    …Well that is my Monty Python quote for this part of my sermon. It illustrates my point about the general population very well)

    Now what kind of scientific data do you use to confirm global warming? In
    order to claim it, you need a global temperature (there is no
    instrument known to man that can take global temperature in a
    precise enough manner to actually notice a temperature change from
    one year to the other in terms of actual degrees)

    But for arguments sake you found the middle of nowhere and since this is
    perhaps as close as you get to the arse of the world and stick a
    thermometer in it. And you do that since thermometers and scales are
    invented. (lets be generous and say 200 years)

    Now you got temperature readings of the entire world, accurate to the
    last degree for 200 years. All you need now is a base line to which
    you can compare that data. Or make it simple, what is Earth’s normal
    temperature? (It would be the temperatures of every year for 4
    Billion years – averaged) Suddenly you realize them pesky dinosaurs
    didn’t really measure temperature. Heck not even the Egyptians, the
    Hittites or Phoneticians did. The Romans did lot of things, but
    accurately measure and record time wasn’t part of it. Damn there goes
    any logical, scientific argument that can proof the increase of
    global temperature. But you been told ocean temperatures rose 10
    degrees? Compared to what? How did you actually measure that, where
    is the observation data to back that up? No need if its on TV and
    some Hollywood celebrity says its true, and a spectacular movie
    about drowning cities is made, who needs science?

    Now let’s look at the man made part. In 1980 Mount St. Helen erupted. It
    happened in the state of Washington. The eruption spewed more
    poisonous gases, carbon dioxide etc into the atmosphere than all cars
    and all cow farts produced in the history of man kind. St. Helen is
    still active and releases thousands of tons of gases every year. Now
    this is just one volcano of thousands and they all, believe it or not
    do the same thing. Uhu those bad boys pollute more than all evil
    Corporations ever hoped to achieve. Funny thing is on a global scale
    it amounts to very little, and volcanoes did that sort of thing
    before humans were around, and it is almost certain they do it when
    we are no longer considered Homo Sapient.

    (Funny thing that evolution theory btw. It should go on, right. Why has it
    stopped with man? Either it hasn’t and we are bound for extinction
    and something else take our place. Or the whole theory isn’t as
    scientific accurate as it is thought in schools..there is a reason it
    is still called a theory)

    Now why would scientists on TV support all that inaccurate illogical
    stuff? Because of funding. Universities are funded by and large by
    the government. Scientists hope for grants and only get those if they
    join the chorus.
    Opposing common accepted truth is comfortable and ensures funding. Saying something against it is professional suicide.
    You see you could not raise a Carbon tax, if the
    people would start to think. Did one single cent raised actually go
    to reduce carbon emissions? Or did they help fund some pork barrel
    project of a corrupt senator?
    Its about money and control of the masses and not about the environment,
    it always has been as long as governments exist. (No matter what
    form)

    Man made global warming is the greatest Science Fiction story ever
    created.

    Just to give credibility to my rant, I studied physics at the University
    of Heidelberg and received my PhD from the same institution.
    But you don’t need an academic title to take a step back (away from the
    crowd) and apply some common sense.