Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”: Big-Budget Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Blockbuster About Quantum Mechanics

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan, never one to keep it simple. (photo credit: charlieanders2 via photopin cc)

With the fabled Dark Knight trilogy firmly behind him, Christoper Nolan is well into working on his next major motion picture, according to a joint announcement today from Paramount and Warner Bros., who will be dividing the spoils and the world between them. With a scheduled release date of November 7, 2014, Interstellar is still in the formative stages, by which I mean we know next to nothing yet except for what Entertainment Weekly succinctly summarized:

Developed from a script by Nolan’s brother, Jonathan Nolan, the sci-fi movie is a time travel epic based on scientific theories developed by American physicist Kip Thorne, who will executive produce. The press release announcing the distribution news describes the film as “a heroic interstellar voyage to the furthest reaches of our scientific understanding.”

For now, that’s all we have. Collaborations between the Nolan brothers have yet to create dreadful results. Their track record tells us it won’t be a straightforward ninety-minute shoot-’em-up. Based on the precedents set by Nolan and Nolan’s innovative narrative explorations of dreams, memory, anarchy, class warfare, and Robin Williams’ serious side, I expect a time travel tale crafted under their watch to be a mind-bending reexamination of that sci-fi subgenre in a way we didn’t already see in Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the various conflicting Terminator products, and several hundred Star Trek episodes.

If the Nolans plan to incorporate the work of a real physicist into the script instead of borrowing from other time-travel films (which is typically how those films are made), you can bet that at some point half the audience will be lost, no matter how hard they concentrate, no matter how many pages of grad-school textbook exposition are seamlessly woven into the dialogue.

The proactive solution is obvious: if we intend to enjoy Interstellar to the fullest, then we have nineteen months to subject ourselves to as many intensive, self-taught science classes as possible before it arrives in theaters. Continue reading

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