The Martian (2015) by Ridley Scott

It would seem that watching, The Expanse, has got me in the mood for Space Sci-fi. To this end, I indulged in my comfort space film, Ridley Scott’s, ‘The Martian’. Based on the novel by Andy Weir, the story follows the journey of botanist Mark Watney as he tries to survive on Mars by himself.

The reason this is my comfort film is because of a single word that can be used to describe it; Hope. The story and the characters are filled with it. It pits the harshest environment, the barren landscape of Mars, against humanity’s will to survive and in doing so, the film manages to become inspiring.

This sense of hopefulness is further enhanced by the writers diligence in getting the science right. Even though there are some inaccuracies, on the whole, the story has clear causality in character and plot motivation. Everything Mark Watney or the team at NASA do, is scientifically plausible and thus even more gripping. After all, it’s one thing to see Thor fight the God of Death, Hel, and it’s quite another to see a witty botanist try survive on Mars.

The second reason I love this film is because it frames Space in such a beautiful manner. Yes, it is terrifyingly life threatening to be in space. A small tear in your suit can kill you, and the closest Starbucks is at least 384, 400km away. But, humanity has managed to defy these odds and through science managed to land on the Moon (multiple times), set up a space station and even send rovers (I love you Curiosity) to Mars. The Hubble telescope and many others have let us see further into space than we can ever hope to travel in our lifetime (bar us figuring out wormholes, or light-speed travel). And all of that is something that till a few decades ago, was science fiction.

So, ‘The Martian’ is inspiring and hopeful. It says that if we try, we can succeed, it will be incredibly difficult no doubt, but not impossible. And if that isn’t the best message to get through life, then I don’t know what is.

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