Out of this world!
The Martian is going to be f*cking great.
That's my considered opinion. But before I shove that opinion (read as: fact) in your face, let's go back in time a bit, shall we?
To be quite honest, a year ago I didn't even care about The Martian. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it either. I was just indifferent about what I thought would be yet another space movie. Honestly, I thought we'd already exhausted every possible plot device that could be used for an interplanetary setting. Mission to find new life? Check. Mission to renew the Sun's energy? Check. Mission to save the universe? You get the idea.
The Martian seemingly slipped from my mind altogether as I turned my attention to other movies I had already invested in. While I continued to focus on these other movies, the buzz around The Martian only grew larger and larger. From magazine covers to almost all of Reddit, a lot of people were starting to get excited for the movie - especially after the first trailer dropped. Yet, while the trailer finally piqued my curiosity, it was the viral marketing campaign of the film that got my attention.
The cast and crew of the movie got together and filmed full segments that will probably not even be included in the film, solely to be distributed on YouTube. These videos were posted under a separate YouTube channel named 'ARIES: Live' and serves as a prologue series that doesn't just get you excited for the movie, it also enhances the overall experience for you.
Take, for instance, this first piece of released media titled 'Farewell.' This video does a better job at introducing and establishing characters and their chemistry together better in three and a half minutes than a lot of movies do in two full hours.
That Twitch.com-like commenting system that popped up during the video was an excellent touch. We've met the cast and characters now, right? We've seen a little bit of how the cast play together. But what about them as individuals? Are they still great characters on their own? That's what the next released video establishes. Spoiler warning: They are fantastic on their own.
Perfect! We've got the characters covered, but what's their mission? We obviously know they're going to Mars. I still need a bit more information, if only there was someone iconic like Neil deGrasse Tyson to explain...
Yeah, that was epic.
In one quick video, the movie has not only established a setting, but it's got a voice. Here we see that this isn't just a "destroy the bad guy" type space movie. The movie itself doesn't even try to sell the space aspect too much according to these videos. So what are they trying to sell? Hope. They're trying to sell wonder and excitement. They're trying to remind us that our future is bright and extends beyond the confines of planet Earth. A similar tone also extends into the next piece of viral advertising.
It's not just good product placement for Under Armor, it's proof of the dedication and work that went into the preparation for this mission. Matt Damon's character, Mark Watney, wasn't just some random dude taken from an oil rig and sent into space. He's been training for this mission. Mentally, physically, and psychologically; he's prepared himself to handle almost any situation that's thrown at him. Each one of these videos builds upon the previous one to add another layer of world-building on top of it. It's safe to say that, by now, anyone who has seen all of these videos feels the strongest connection with Matt Damon's character, right? And this is when the studio let's the emotional hammer fall...
Hook, link and sinker.
It's at this point that this marketing campaign has not only sucked me in, it's got me on the edge of my seat bursting with anticipation. This isn't just another "mission to Mars" movie. This isn't just another hardcore science fiction movie out to confuse the masses with technical jargon. This is a movie, no, a story that wants to inspire you. In a movie season where every other film feels dark, heavy or violent, The Martian wants to give you hope. Social media is abuzz with calls to action to save Mark Watney and people across all nations, people of all skin colors and religions are banding together for one simple endearing notion: Bring him home.
Don't get me wrong. I love the dark, heavy, violent movies probably more than the average movie-goer. But I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen a movie that stirred the emotions of camaraderie and hope in me - and just by its promotion alone. Just based on these handful of clips, I'm expecting this to be one of the best movies I've seen in years. Are these statements I'm making too bold? I don't think so, and The Martian's 94% score on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't seem to disagree with me, either.
If there's one movie you see this season, make damn sure that it is The Martian. The world we live in right now can be so depressing and there's so much injustice and wrong doing running amok. I think we all need a little more hope in our lives, and The Martian delivers just that.