Friday, May 16th, 2014
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Let Us Welcome the Season of Cosmic Terror

cosmoterrorThere are not that many coming attractions that people actually seem to want to see; there are fewer that feel like they are defining some kind of moment in cinema. But there does seem to be one small weird thing going in trailers: The adults are thinking about the stars, and the teens are too. Everyone is suddenly terrified of infinity and it's making them all fall in love.

Here is the new trailer for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar:

It's a movie in which characters say things like this. (And a climate in which these lines are deemed appropriate to promote a film).

Murphy's law doesn't mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen will happen.

We must confront the reality that nothing in our solar system can save us.

We're not meant to save the world, we're meant to leave it.

We much reach far beyond our own lifespans. We must think not as individuals, but as a species.

We must confront the reality of interstellar travel.

This is a trailer heightened not by the prospect of death or destruction but by the knowledge that the universe does not care what happens to us either way. The apocalypse movie boom is over. Infinity is the villain now!

And now here's the trailer for June's The Fault In Our Stars, based on John Green's hugely successful YA series:

Some quotes, teen-to-teen:

I am in love with you Hazel Grace, and I know that love is just a shout into the void and that oblivion is inevitable, and I am in love with you.

You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I can't tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity.

The "forevers" in this young love story aren't romantic or Godly or poetic, but pop-cosmological. Infinity is a reason to fall in a love and also a definition of love! It's not parents or society that's keeping lovers apart and therefore bringing them together, but the "void." Eternity: Drab. Infinity: Fab. It's all very late-70s Sagan and SETI and I WANT TO BELIEVE. Maybe that's it, the return of a mood: In 1980, when Cosmos was published, Arthur C. Clarke's The Fountains of Paradise won the Hugo and gas was expensive and the end of the world was nigh; getting to space seemed important because there were probably other things out there for us. In 2014, energy is a sore subject and environmental doom feels imminent; getting to space is something we must do to escape, even though we know we probably won't find anything at all. It also feels significant that the old Cosmos show was fun and entrancing and the new one is smug and awe-deadening. No? Eh. FRIDAY.