“The Martian” the latest release in recent surge of space survival movies

Screenshot 2016-01-19 at 22.11.48

Photo by screenrant.com

On September 28, NASA announced that liquid water exists on Mars. It has been speculated by the public as a possibility for years, but now that it has been confirmed many possibilities arise from this announcement. This groundbreaking news opens up the waters for the possible colonization of Mars. “The Martian” coincidentally opened up on October 1, a few days after the announcement, and tells of a story that takes place on Mars.

“The Martian” tells of the astronaut Mark Watney, who gets left behind after a freak storm causes his crew members to evacuate Mars. Watney needs to learn how to survive on Mars until NASA can send a rescue mission to save him. Humans surviving on a different planet is an idea that could have been something of science fiction, but with the recent news, it is now in the realm of reality. This is why the idea of being stranded on a remote planet is truly terrifying. It is similar to a child getting lost in a store; a person left behind on Mars is disoriented by his or her surroundings and unaccustomed to the situation. However, unlike some people, Mark Watney is not dissuaded by his situation. He acknowledges countless times that death is imminent, and that he could die at any moment. He is not afraid to die, which makes him a very compelling character. Watney perseveres through his situation, by using his skills as a botanist and as a mechanical engineer. By using his skills and reminding himself of what he has and how he can thrive, Mark Watney manages to find a way to get through the trying situation. Despite all of these qualities, the one characteristic stood out from all the rest, and that is Watney’s positivity. He finds a way to combat his situation and solve problems while endures the harsh weather of Mars and creates a life for himself.

NASA has recently predicted that Mars could be colonized by around the 2030’s, which is during the same period the movie takes place. The realism conveyed by the movie is impressive because of how plausible the situations are within the movie.

The way the situation is accepted by the characters within the movie is very humane and grounded. There were both sides presented by the situation, with Jeff Daniels playing the role of the director of NASA and Chiwetel Ejiofor playing the Director of the Mars Missions. Difficult decisions had to be made, and the movie didn’t shy away from the stress and the seriousness of the situation. By presenting the situations in a realistic way, the audience can further connect with the characters and have a better understanding of the stakes.

“The Martian” is a return to form for director Ridley Scott. The director responsible for cinematic masterpieces such as “Alien” and “Blade Runner” has been in a bit of a slump recently because of movies without the caliber of his great movies. “The Martian” is also a rather new concept for Scott; he mainly focuses on serious movies and dramatic elements, however “The Martian” is very humourous. Mark Watney is a very funny character, and the characters respond to the situation in a light-hearted manner despite the seriousness of the situation.

The movie has been well-received by audiences since its release. Rotten Tomatoes has rated the movie at 93%, meaning that 93% of the critics that reviewed the movie gave it a positive review. Junior Harrison Melcher has stated that “[‘The Martian’] was an incredibly well blended combination of comedy and drama, and probably the most faithful book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. Best space movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.” According Deadline, the movie passed the $100 million gross mark in the first week. Space movies have become rather popular of the last few years, including last year’s “Interstellar”, and 2013’s “Gravity”. People are interested in space because as time goes along because we are becoming more invested on things outside of our home planet.

Space exploration has always been part of science-fiction lore, but now with advanced research and the further acceleration of human development, it is now something very likely to happen. “The Maritian” conveys this realistic idea with a likeable human character and a compelling plot. The movie may be a foreshadowing of things to come in the near future.

By Mairo Kuntze

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