Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Martian

Back in 1979, Ridley Scott stunned moviegoers with Alien. Then, he made another movie called Prometheus (I watched it three times in the cinema. Now, the visual storyteller returns to outer space – with a super-suspenseful saga of an astronaut accidentally stranded on Mars. I'm not a big fan of movie that was based on novels (exceptions was made for Harry Potter), but The Martian was one of the movie I really looking forward to watch because it's about space and humanity. Growing up being a Starkie wasn't a bad thing after all because somehow I'm very interested in space explorations and I believe that one day humans can travel wherever they wanted. We don't have the power to travel and know everything about this galaxy, but this kind of movie gives you an idea what it looked like out there. 

What follows is a very entertaining and pretty darn technically accurate story of how Watney tries to stay alive long enough to let Earth know he’s still among the living and figure out how to get rescued.  One of the things that sets this book apart from many others in the genre is the detail it goes into describing how Watney, who’s a mechanical engineer and botanist, applies his skills to survive.  Watney must figure out how to stretch 50 days of supplies to the nearly two years it will take for the next mission to arrive, how to communicate with Earth and finally how to traverse the Red Planet to the location of a possible rescue. I really enjoyed his sarcastic and sometimes rather dark sense of humor.  I suspect that would be a key survival trait for someone stranded on another planet! Get me this, can you imagine yourself living all alone in a deserted planet and you're the only living out there waiting to die? I keep asking myself this throughout the entire movie. I can't do anything that he did in this movie, let alone survive it for two damn years! I bet I'd die the second I know I was stranded and all alone.

One of the many lessons that I liked in this movie was those solutions didn't always work. Just like in the real world, not all of Watney’s brilliant ideas work out.  In fact, some of them prove to be nearly fatal, such as his first attempt to generate water from hydrozine.  Kids, don’t try this at home! Plus, can you imagine yourself mastering both science and engineering? It's a life bonus if you can master them both and applied it in our daily life.

Personally, one of the downers about this movie was they didn't actually captured the moment when they had a 'slingshot' to go back to Mars. I wanted to see their faces and how fast that capsule can travel with the help of gravity (just like in Interstellar). Remember in Armageddon when they had to go very fast their body ached and screamed like a bunch of mad men? I was looking forward for that scene in this movie when they mentioned they have to go back to Mars by using the laws of gravity in order to save their fuels, but I didn't quite get that expression I was searching for.

It's possible to nitpick and complain about the structure of The Martian, but at the end of it all, I can't help but say I was inspired by it and that's what matters the most. Like Interstellar before it, deep down The Martian is all about telling the kids growing up now that, yes, you can dream about going to Mars. When we work together, or even when we're alone and determined – "where there's a will there's a way" – and we can accomplish anything, even the impossible. If everybody says it won't work, screw them, just go out and do it. I love that Ridley Scott is having fun with the sci-fi genre again. Go see The Martian and be inspired again.

p/s: Please stop comparing The Martian with Interstellar and biased by it. They are not the same, end of story.