Friday, March 25, 2016

 

Robinson Crusoe + Mars = spuds

MATT DAMON – RIDLEY SCOTT – THE MARTIAN – 2015

It is not a masterpiece but it is a good film though. One man abandoned on Mars because he was wounded in a strom and he was thought dead. Then the film is the discovery on Earth and on the spatial mission where the team that left him behind is that he is alive and then the decision to rescue him, on one hand. On the other hand that man, alone on Mars, takes care of his wound and then is playing Robinson Crusoe on the planet, inventing agriculture on Mars and solving all kinds of problems including communication with earth and with his team on their mission.


Of course such an adventure is highly improbable but the educational dimension is important. It wants to show that when death is in front of you, you can just accept it and find your peace with that, or you start working on and solving problems, one after the other, in order to survive as long as possible because there is always a chance that a rescue of some sort might come, or that you would be intelligent enough to survive by yourself with your own creativity and inventiveness.


It is also educational about the absurdity of different countries, here the USA and China, not working together and sure enough the film heavily suggests that they do and they actually do, which could have saved the marooned man and will have positive consequences on the future. Educational again with the position of women. The commander of the mission is a woman and she is not alone on the mission. At NASA it is less clear since all the main characters are men, particularly the director of NASA who appears as a cold, calculating man who does not accept any disobedience.


It is also educational with the team that has left one man on Mars. We are clearly told that no matter what the consequences may be one person as well as one team have to do what is ethically good, here rescue the man, and not obey orders going the other way. Mutiny is necessary when ethics are on your side. And sure enough they are shown as going on the next mission because the rescue is such an international global effort and success that no one can go into reprisals and penalties.


The Martian landscapes are beautiful though they are not Martian at all. The actors, at least the main actors, or even maybe the main actor in the singular, are good and the heroics are spectacular. Apart from that all the details are farfetched but one does not check a gift horse in the mouth. We let ourselves go into the action, the suspense (there is none since we know this poor Robinson Crusoe will be rescued just like Robinson Crusoe was because Robinson Crusoe’s always are, and that is pure entertainment.


Dr Jacques COULARDEAU



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