Monday, November 02, 2015

old news: The Martian

I saw The Martian when it came out a few weeks ago, and wanted to write about it, but had a hard time putting it into words until I saw this by the great Sarah Mccarry (her blog is The Rejectionist) who writes, "who doesn’t love space, idiots is who, but what was missing from that movie for me was a sense of wonder, of joy, of holy shit guys we’re on Mars, look at the crazy nonsense human beings get up to for absolutely no reason: art, poetry, flying around in spaceships, discovering the secrets of the universe. For a movie in which things are constantly happening there is next to no interiority, so little joy or emotional truth, and so ultimately it’s boring."  Yes.  So much yes.

I liked The Martian but it sort of felt like a morality tale that was basically: When something bad happens, just figure out how to resolve it and get through it, dummy.  Which, whatever, that's fine.  That's a fine lesson for school children but is it a great movie?  Not really.  The whole time I'm wondering, doesn't Matt Damon have a family on Earth?  That he misses or even thinks about occasionally?  He's supposed to be out there alone for 3 years or whatever.  And even if he doesn't have anyone, why does he want to live anyway?  Like, take Gravity, an amazing movie - Sandra Bullock's daughter is dead, all joy is lost from her life, for some reason she goes to space, everything goes to shit, but you see her decide: Actually, I do want to live!  Simple - "emotional truth" that's exciting and beautiful and touching.

Anyway, this guy gets stuck on Mars by himself in a kind of Home Alone situation, and so he's like, I'd better start growing potatoes in my own shit pronto, and at the end of the movie, in case you didn't get it, (spoiler: he makes it) he talks to a group of incoming astronauts and says You Gotta Work the Problem.  And that's the point of the whole movie, I guess?

In other Mars news, many of my friends have been raving about a book called Red Rising, about a miner that lives on Mars.  So far, I really like it, although it was all too obvious the beautiful, passionate, 16 year old wife was not going to make it, and, what a surprise: she gets killed (didn't work the problem).