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5 classics that inspired "Interstellar"

Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in a scene from "Interstellar"

After a string of blockbuster successes from 2005's "Batman Begins" to 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises", acclaimed director Christopher Nolan goes back to handling original property that has nothing to do with an existing franchise, remake or adaptation from a novel or a comic book. The result is "Interstellar", his first original movie since 2010's "Inception".

Just like his past movies, "Interstellar" is shrouded in tight secrecy. Even with the various releases of trailers, TV spots and photo stills, viewers are kept in the dark about the whole story surrounding the movie other than the fact it's about a group of explorers (led by Matthew McConaughey) who travel across a newly discovered wormhole to save mankind from extinction. Nevertheless the anticipation buildup is very high as "Interstellar" approaches its general release on 6 November 2014 worldwide.

To coincide with the upcoming release of "Interstellar", Christopher Nolan has stated that his space-adventure epic has been influenced from some of the great classics of the past. Here are the five films, for which the sum of it all, may be what "Interstellar" is really about.

1. "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)


Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey".

From the visual standpoint to the thematic structure that has been seen from the "Interstellar" trailers and TV spots so far, it's easy to see that the film is heavily influenced by the late Stanley Kubrick's seminal sci-fi masterpiece, "2001: A Space Odyssey". Whereas "Interstellar" is about interstellar travel, "2001: A Space Odyssey" shares equal similarity about space travel. Not to mention, of course, the epic visual grandeur that is showcased in some of the footage from "Interstellar" echoes the same sense of wonder preceded by "2001: A Space Odyssey".

 

2. "Jaws" (1975)


One of the intense moments in the scene from "Jaws".

"Jaws" was no doubt the definitive Hollywood blockbuster that gave life to what we know today as a "summer movie". However, the influence that connects "Jaws" and "Interstellar" isn't about re-creating the horrifying event of a creature feature that made viewers back in 1975 afraid of going to the sea because of their fear of sharks, instead, Nolan has stated that he wanted to capture the same spirit of Steven Spielberg's seminal classic for his movie. That spirit is clearly meant by bringing back the golden age of movie magic that made viewers felt captivated with something new, when they first watched "Jaws" on the big screen.

 

3. "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" (1977)


The spaceship in the scene from "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind".

Similar to "Jaws", "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" is another Steven Spielberg classic that helped define the golden age of movie magic in the modern history of Hollywood cinema. Not only did Spielberg's visionary sci-fi classic become a technical triumph in special effects, but also a subtle family movie as well – the same mixed elements of special effects-laden blockbuster and an intimate human story about a family, is in essence, what Nolan aims to achieve for "Interstellar".

 

4. "Alien" (1979)


A scene from "Alien".

Whether or not "Interstellar" will include aliens in the movie; is the big question that remains to be seen. "Alien" is not only known as a landmark "haunted house-in-space" sci-fi masterpiece that influenced countless filmmakers until today, but is also a significant movie where director Ridley Scott favoured more on production design than the green screen effect in order to make the overall setting felt real and functional. Similar to "Interstellar", Nolan wanted a more real set and design to be built in his movie than relying too much on CGI to do the work – a tradition which shouldn't be a surprise if you are a fan of Nolan's movies since the director likes to make his movie as practical as possible with a little assistance of special effects.

 

5. "The Right Stuff" (1983)


Sam Shepard in the scene from "The Right Stuff".

Philip Kaufman's excellent adaptation of Tom Wolfe's book of the same name is about a group of test pilots (led by Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager) who are selected to become astronauts for a NASA space program called "Project Mercury". No doubt the critically-acclaimed movie is admittedly one of the huge influences for "Interstellar", where both movies share more in common on the grounded realism of space travel as well as heavy references of NASA.

 

"Interstellar" opens in cinemas worldwide on 6 November 2014.


Cinema Online, 30 October 2014

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