Ridley Scott’s latest film, The Martian, is being hailed as an exciting new film about the possibilities of man’s future in space. Starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars, The Martian is a film that everyone should see. It serves to remind people, Americans in particular, that we used to look up at the stars and dream of exploration. When America landed on the moon in 1969, it was a moment that united humanity. Abandoning that mission has only left us fragmented.
In The Martian, Matt Damon stars as Mark Watney, part of an exploratory mission to the red planet. Unfortunately, Watney’s crewmembers believe that he has died during a violent storm, and he is left behind. Griggs (2015) notes that significant parts of the film are Watney alone on Mars, a significant challenge for filmmakers, overcome by voiceover and humor. Both director Scott and screenwriter Drew Goddard managed to “tell a compelling story in which their main character spends almost the entire film alone” (3). The challenge in telling such a story makes for a compelling film.
More important, Watney survives because, as Bernstein (2015) notes, he applies his scientific knowledge to his situation. America, as a nation, has lost its faith in science. It was science that took us to the moon, but in a nation where more people believe in Intelligent Design than evolution, it is vital that we relearn the importance of science. “Using our minds to solve problems is how we survive and prosper” (14).
The United States was once a nation that the rest of the world looked up to because we took the best and brightest minds and set them an impossible task: landing on the moon. This event is perhaps the single greatest peaceful moment in human history, a stunning example of what human beings could accomplish through science. The Martian reminds viewers of the possibilities of science and the potential for humanity.
Bernstein, J. (2015, Oct. 5). “The Martian” Isn’t Just a Great Movie. It’s an Important Movie. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/10/05/the-martian-isnt-just-a-great-movie-its-an-important-movie/.
Griggs, B. (2015, Oct. 7). “The Martian’s” Biggest Challenge. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/07/entertainment/movies-main-character-alone-martian-feat/.
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