Mr. Rostan at the Movies: The Cinematic Science of “The Martian”
Andrew Rostan was a film student before he realized that making comics was his horrible destiny, and he’s never shaken his love of cinema. Every two weeks, he’ll opine on current pictures or important movies from the past.
Last month, Travis wrote about staying up until four in the morning to finish Andy Weir’s novel The Martian in what could only be described as an endorsement for a compelling story. This month, 20th Century-Fox released their blockbuster film adaptation of Weir’s self-published debut, and the result is something more than compelling. The Martian is a triumph for not only science fiction cinema but cinema in general. It is a movie in which every part works, adding up to an extraordinary whole.
For the purposes of this column, I don’t need to probe the plot (Astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars and, with NASA, makes a plan to get home…what else do you need to know?) and will only briefly touch on the themes, which are most eloquently described by Devin Faraci in his review which I urge you to read. Suffice to say that The Martian made me tremble with joy as a film about the very best of humanity: if 2001: A Space Odyssey, my favorite sci-fi film of all time, uses space as a metaphor for the remarkable potential of human beings, The Martian is its natural sequel in its inspirational depiction of how humans use that potential in our gifts of intelligence, creativity, and problem solving. It would not have had such an effect had it not been so outstandingly made. Therefore, in something close to Watney’s philosophy, I’m going to concentrate on The Martian’s components and how they work together.