“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do.”
- Mark Watney
The summer is about to come to a close, or already has to a lot of people. August is Hollywood's dumping ground. Nothing really great ever comes out in August, sure there's a few exceptions, but let's face it... summer's over.
But not to fret beautiful people, we live in the 2000's where blockbusters are the gift and sometimes curse that keeps on giving. We have a few remaining films to release later this year, all eyes are on the big cheese that's Star Wars, and to some extent the $300 Million James Bond flick Spectre.
People are forgetting, that we're getting a film from Ridley Scott, one of the greatest filmmakers like ever: The Martian. Now, if you weren't excited for this film, hopefully by the end of this post, you will be!
I tend to occupy myself with reading, I'm a massive sci-fi junkie. Read quite a bit of Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson. I'd throw this book in those ranks.
Andy Weir, the writer published this book for free on his blog, until it got so popular that he had no choice but to sell it on Amazon. Every compliment Weir receives on this novel is an understatement of how vividly entertaining as well as informative this story is. The first sentence of the novel, the opener will hook you. Trust me.
Weir also happens to the son of a physicist, he's insanely educated on the matter of science, the conditions on mars, orbital mechanics and all that good stuff. So, most of the stuff you're going to read in the novel, is actually very plausible. If that didn't sell you ...
Bring on the Interstellar jokes as to how Matt Damon somehow ended up in that film, after visiting Mars.
Matt Damon is playing Mark Watney, the hapless astronaut who gets marooned on the red planet of Mars. He's a botanist, don't worry even he pokes fun at the fact of being a botanist on Mars.
Imagine Tony Stark on the planet Mars. That's Mark Watney.
This is a big one.
The inciting incident is a storm on Mars that forces everyone to evacuate, in their obvious haste, Watney gets separated and that kicks off our story. This film, like it's book is a mixture of so many different stories. To make it easier to identify the tropes, I'll list films which carry similar themes to The Martian.
- Cast Away (2002)
- The Bounty (1984)
- Mutiny on The Bounty (1962)
- Mad Max (1979)
- Apollo 13 (1995)
- Interstellar (2014)
- 127 Hours (2010)
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The obvious Cast Away reference pertains to our main character Mark Watney. The Bounty references are attached to the crew of the spaceships. If you're a fan of any of those films, you should have plenty to enjoy in The Martian.
I mean look at that. Man, just look at it. An Emmy winner, multiple Oscar nominees, an Oscar winner, Winter Soldier, Susan Storm and Ned Stark. Erm, I mean Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara and Sean Bean. Sorry, the comic nerd in me started speaking there.
Hmm, Sean Bean eh? Time for a poll.
Will Sean Bean die in The Martian?
I'm sorry. I had to.
Ridley Scott. My favorite film director. I admit he's not as untouchable as he used to be. But there's so much this man has done for cinema that I find it easy to look the other way when I have to watch films like Exodus (2014), The Counselor (2013) or Prometheus (2012).
He's right up there with sci-fi icons like Phillip K. Dick and William Gibson, what those men did for science fiction in written form, this man did in film. He directed the unforgettable Alien (1979), the defining female road film Thelma and Louise (1992) and my favorite film of all time Blade Runner (1982). If you haven't seen Blade Runner, go watch it now.
This man has vision. Even in his weak films such as the unbearable The Counselor, there's always something to be salvaged from his films, I understand why The Counselor seemed like a great idea on paper, but God, that script should've never seen the light of day. Well, at least we got Cameron Diaz humping a car. See, there's always something salvageable in a Scott film.
Jokes aside, Scott is a fantastic filmmaker, and you cannot make a Mount Rushmore of film directors without his face on it.
Just look at his IMDB page. He's responsible for some of the best looking films in the past two decades. The lighting of Dark City (1998). The closeups in Crimson Tide (1995) in which the beads of sweat on Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman's faces were of different colors than the lighting in the room. The Pirates Trilogy and Prometheus.
All those films listed above, have visual language, not only do the images in those films look pretty, but they are purposed, when working with a competent director. He's worked with both Scotts to perfection now. He also filmed Robert Zemeckis' upcoming film 'The Walk' as well.
The Nature of Man.
Yeah I went there, I went all sentimental. But it's true. Hope is a powerful force. The Martian is a story that is full of hope and showcases how special all us humans are.
There are some really heartbreakingly beautiful moments in the book, I pray the film translates those scenes well. This is a story about humanity and the will to live.
Now, read the quote I started this article with. Come on, go ahead then come back.
Yeah guys, I'm trying to be deep here. But, I really mean it. It comes with the territory of sci-fi. So many science fiction films challenge us to look at ourselves and to what's yet to come. Last year's Interstellar had that effect on me, a rather depressing effect. The Martian is triumphant, The Martian makes me smile, The Martian makes me feel proud to be human.
Although life would be pretty sweet as a sloth, sleep 24/7. Ah, the beauty of that.
Again you beautiful people, fellow co-pilots, thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed it, feel free to share this article, with your lovely friends and urge them to see The Martian, and read the book if you can!
Here's another really 'deep' question for you.
Remember to love yourselves.