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What Makes The Martian A Different Kind Of Survival Movie (Except Being Set On Mars)

The Martian is a novel survival film in that its protagonist is stranded on one other planet, however Ridley Scott additionally subverts the style one other method.

Again in 2015, Ridley Scott’s The Martian was launched to crucial acclaim, field workplace success, and several other cabinets’ value of awards. Tailored from Andy Weir’s novel of the identical identify, The Martian puts a sci-fi spin on the acquainted survival drama by having the central castaway stranded on Mars versus a desert island or a shipwreck.

Matt Damon stars as botanist Mark Watney, who’s left behind by his fellow crew members on a mission to Mars when he’s swept away by a mud storm and presumed lifeless. He survives the storm, realizes he’s utterly alone on the purple planet, and begins engaged on a plan to stretch per week’s value of meals throughout a number of months whereas he tries to get in contact with Earth. However happening on Mars isn’t the one method Scott’s film subverts the tropes of the survival drama.


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Most survival motion pictures, from Forged Away to 127 Hours to The Revenant to All is Misplaced to The Highway, are bleak, depressing affairs about unenviable folks enduring the worst doable situations, battling towards the remorseless components, and slowly dropping the need to dwell. This could be an correct portrait of human struggling, however it doesn’t essentially make for a enjoyable evening on the motion pictures.

Matt Damon as Mark Watney sitting against a rover on Mars in The Martian

What makes The Martian totally different than different survival motion pictures (moreover its setting) is that its protagonist stays optimistic and upbeat within the face of unimaginable adversity. Watney, played brilliantly by Damon, maintains his humorousness whereas he’s stranded alone on one other planet. He has nobody to speak to besides his video log and nothing to do besides make the unimaginable doable. Consistently cracking jokes all through the entire ordeal is what saves him from dropping his thoughts.

The chances are stacked ridiculously towards Watney. All crucial tools he might use to contact Earth has been destroyed within the storm that stranded him there and being hundreds of thousands of miles away from his dwelling planet signifies that even when he can get in contact with them, it’ll be months earlier than the crew can come again and get him. In a conventional survival drama, Watney would settle for his destiny and wait to die. However in The Martian, he’s decided to “science the s*** out of this” and determine a strategy to get dwelling.

Matt Damon as Mark Watney recording a video log in The Martian

Whereas there are a whole lot of large laughs in The Martian, it’s still primarily a drama. When the film was nominated within the “Musical or Comedy” classes on the Golden Globes, it was a little bit of a stretch. Watney goes by the anguish of considering he’ll by no means see any of his household and mates once more and the months of hunger and isolation take an actual psychological and bodily toll on his wellbeing. Damon nails all of the comedic deliveries, however his flip as Watney is a decidedly dramatic efficiency, greater than deserving of his Oscar nod. The Martian is humorous, however it’s not a comedy. It’s an emotionally participating film that tugs on the heartstrings and asks some very common questions. It’s one of the crucial quintessentially human movies of Scott’s storied career.

Watney’s humorousness is only a small a part of his character. Joking his method by the ache is actually one among his fundamental coping mechanisms, however his most vital trait is his willpower. He fights the urge to surrender and frequently defies the chances. Early within the film, he says, “I’m not gonna die right here,” and the viewers desires that to be true. There’s a giant distinction between a film the place the viewers roots for the protagonist as a result of they’re purported to and a film the place the viewers roots for the protagonist as a result of they need to. Viewers of The Martian don’t simply need to see Watney get again to Earth as a result of the film tells them to; it’s as a result of they’re genuinely endeared to him and want his story to have a happy ending.

Matt Damon as Mark Watney on Mars in The Martian

For years, Mars had been thought of field workplace poison. The Martian was anticipated to bomb, purely as a result of just about each different film set on Mars had bombed: Purple Planet, John Carter, Mission to Mars, Ghosts of Mars, Mars Wants Mothers. With a powerful world haul of $630 million, The Martian broke the Mars film curse, as a result of the life-affirming message and heartwarming tone resonated with audiences. An optimist like Mark Watney is anyone that moviegoers can look as much as and cheer on.

The studio blockbuster market is at present missing in originality and subversions of acquainted formulation. As a big-budget sci-fi epic that offered each in spades, The Martian made quite a splash when it hit theaters. After a string of disappointing duds – Physique of Lies, Robin Hood, Prometheus, The Counselor, and Exodus: Gods and KingsThe Martian marked a profession comeback for the legendary filmmaker behind Alien and Blade Runner. The genius of a director like Sir Ridley Scott is that they take subversive supply materials like The Martian and subvert the viewers’s expectations even additional.

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