Christopher Nolan is the man you go to for scale. For the last couple of years people have been arguing about how to ensure audiences still go to the cinema, in the face of streaming sites and VOD that make films more accessible than ever.
There have been various attempts at making 3D the viable option. Then there are new sound inventions like Dolby Atmos, that uses 64 speakers placed all around an auditorium to create a fully immersive soundscape. There’s even the use of D-Box chairs that shake you around with every on screen explosion to turn a theatre into a theme park ride.
But the key to keeping the general public in the cinema is scale and awe. Let me clarify – scale does not mean size. I don’t mean we need more films like Transformers 4 to continually destroy bigger cities with bigger robots. I mean true scale. The scale and awe of blockbusters like Jurassic Park, that employ wondrous stories to make the weight of their concepts all the heavier. This means that when large scale action happens we are in awe. We aren’t just thrown into a random battle whose consequences feel contrived and manipulative. Instead we should be terrified for our protagonists. We should so closely identify with a situation (even if it’s one we will never experience) that every story beat matters on a visceral and personal level.
The above three ranty/waffly paragraphs lead us to the trailer for Interstellar. You can see in just two minutes that Nolan has once again created scale and awe that goes largely unmatched in today’s blockbuster cinema world. The concept is one that feels like it may not be that far from reality, the characters feel like people we could easily encounter, the stakes have a genuine weight and the majesty of it all together leaves your jaw hanging open and desperate to find out more.
With this and The Battle of the Five Armies, it’s looking very much like Winter will be the season for cinema.