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‘Good Night Oppy’ Trailer: Mars Exploration Doc Follows a Rover to the Red Planet

Ryan White directs the story of Mars rover Opportunity, which survived more than 60 times its estimated lifespan.

Good Night Oppy

“Good Night Oppy”

Prime Video

Ryan White’s documentary “Good Night Oppy” tells the inspirational true story of Opportunity, a rover sent to Mars for a 90-day mission in 2003 that ended up surviving for 15 years. Per an official synopsis, the film follows Opportunity’s groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away. Watch the trailer below.

Angela Bassett narrates the documentary about the rover that outlasted its estimated survival date by more than 60 times. The rover was initially launched into space in 2003 to look for ancient water on Mars; it “died” in 2019 on the Red Planet after discovering that Mars stayed wet for an “extended period and that conditions could have been suitable for sustaining microbial life,” per NASA’s website. Its twin rover Spirit was active on Mars until 2010.

“Good Night Oppy” director White told IndieWire that Steven Spielberg “played a huge role in getting NASA onboard” with the documentary. White worked with Industrial Light & Magic to recreate the rover’s journey.

“The most common conversation in the edit room was how much we were anthropomorphizing the robot versus the people that were telling the story,” White said. “I don’t think any of us expected scientists and engineers to be this emotional or wear their hearts on their sleeves.”

White credited Spielberg for helping him figure out how to respectfully be “walking that tightrope of emotion and not manipulating the audience too much” when it came to presenting the documentary. “His notes were incredibly helpful in that way of making sure that the audience does fall in love with the robot without forcing it,” White said of Spielberg.

“We were always saying it’s like ‘E.T.’ meets ‘Wall-E’ meets ‘Her,’ because of the human-machine connection,” White said of pitching the film, which premiered at Telluride this year. “The idea was that the audience had to fall in love with a non-human character who’s going to leave in the end — or die, in this case — but it still had to be a family film. At the same time, we didn’t want to dumb it down. We knew that would do no justice to the engineers and the scientists.”

“Good Night Oppy” is produced by Jessica Hargrave, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Brandon Carroll, and Matthew Goldberg.

The film premieres in theaters November 4 and streams globally on Prime Video November 23.

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