All that said: MATT DAMON! He’s my first love, really. I mean, besides Jonathan Jackson and Ethan Embry. But my first RPF story was about Matt Damon and a girl who was graduating from Yale. It was detailed. I even gave Matt Damon’s mom a family dog during the Christmas visit scene. And yes, I absolutely still own my 1998 Cosmopolitan magazine that had an 8+ page spread on Matt Damon and Ben Affleck back when they were twenty somethings winning Oscars and acting in Jay and Silent Bob movies.
But enough about that! Let’s watch The Martian trailer so we can talk about the movie more:
Why I Am Excited for The Martian:
1. Matt Damon
I think you probably figured this out by now, but I love Matt Damon! Good writer, good actor, good philanthropist. Clean, accessible water is my main cause thing I care about, so I’m going to push both Matt’s (water.org) and another one I support (The Ocean Cleanup). I also adore this man’s sense of humor. Those videos with Sarah Silverman are the best and his deflate-gate participation was excellent.
Bottom line: I always want more Matt Damon in my life.
Did I ever tell you my husband met Matt Damon on his 30th birthday (Matt’s, not my husband’s)? Maybe I will meet Matt Damon for MY 30th birthday. I feel that would be some sort of kismet. (Looks hopefully at Matt Damon’s people who arrange interviews…it’s on June 30th, guys, so we need to get cracking on the planning!)
There are two people in the world: Those who like Neil Diamond and those who do not. Ha! Just kidding. Had to reference What About Bob? at some point. But really, there are two types of people: those who want to go to Mars and those who do not. It’s a real thing that no one is iffy on. You’re either ALL IN or ALL OUT. Mars means no return trip or a reallllly long wait for a return trip, no sex during that time, extremely limited and delayed communication with Earth, constant extreme and volatile conditions, limited time outdoors and no fresh air…essentially giving your life up as you know it for Mars. So, you’re in or you’re out depending on what you’re willing to give up in exchange.
I’m all in. My husband’s all out. You can see the issue here… he’s gonna have to re-marry when I go to Mars 😉 This is my phone’s background. It is the sunrise on Mars:
As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut (or a panda researcher). I was a practical kid and wanted to plan my career out appropriately. I investigated the routes to becoming an astronaut and determined that I was not good enough at science, so I would have to become a pilot. Once I was a little older, I decided that I didn’t want to go into the Air Force or any flight-based military unit within the other branches (basically the only way in for the pilot route), and that was that. Turns out I didn’t want to be an astronaut THAT MUCH. But I had the basics it takes: better than perfect vision, high tolerance for G forces, overall good health and no allergies, three-dimensional thinking and problem solving skills, and a general enthusiasm for flying.
Basically, I should have become an USAF pilot with the intention of going into NASA. But I didn’t. And I actually do regret this some days. This is one of those days. Really any day we chat about Mars is one of those days. So, the fact that this movie is set on Mars is super exciting to me. The more we talk about Mars, the more likely a manned mission there will actually happen (yes, I know that TONS are in the works already). When that happens, people will be inspired and will want to go back or go farther, which means we will also want to spend the money required to develop a better way to get out there (faster, safer). If we can figure out space travel that requires ongoing energy for the long haul, then we can solve the energy crisis on Earth and clean up the atmosphere as a result.
So, let’s GO TO MARS already.
Even Buzz Aldrin is like “WTF are we doing NOT ALREADY ON MARS?!!!” Dude went to the moon. He literally gets it. Proper use of literally here, guys. #GYATM
3. Ridley Scott
Not gonna lie, the closest I’ve come to seeing Alien is the Alien segment of the Great Movie Ride at Disney World’s MGM Studios (or whatever it’s called now). And believe me, I still close my eyes during that part! But I did see Blade Runner and Prometheus (which Ben Foster orchestrated) and I do enjoy Scott’s techniques. I really enjoy his use of wide landscapes for atmosphere and am hoping they shot it that way (before, you know, all the things go wrong and we move into claustrophobic shots of tight spaces).
I am more excited for this movie because he is the director. Like way more. Like if Spielberg was doing this movie, I’d probably not have written this post because the movie would be too buttoned up and leave you feeling complete at the end. I don’t want a feel good Mars movie. I want a Ridley Scott Mars movie that leaves you a little uncomfortable about what you spent 2.5 hours watching and makes you have to discuss it over drinks afterward.
4. Kate Mara
Okay, this is purely a selfish thing, but Kate Mara is my cast choice for the lead protagonist when my novel is turned into a movie, so the more popular she is by then, the better for my royalties. I also really like Kate’s work thus far. She’s in so many things, but hasn’t been enough of a big deal yet for people to notice. But she’s getting there, and this will help. It looks like she has a significant role in The Martian and seems to be second billing after Matt Damon. Rejoice, Kate Mara fans!!!
5. Rest of Cast
There are so many people in this movie! Kristen Wiig is in this movie! Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is in this movie! Peter from Love Actually (Chiwetel Ejiofor) (better known from 12 Years A Slave, obvs) is in this movie! Jessica Chastain is in this movie and not a dead serial killer sibling of Tom Hiddleston. Even Sean Bean is in this movie, so we know at least one person is going to die.
I admit that I wish they’d shown this not as NASA but as a combined global effort and had multiple countries involved. Then the cast could be global, I mean, who doesn’t want to hear Sebastian Stan speak Romanian?
Truly I say this because, let’s face it, unless Mars is harboring weapons of mass destruction and the US allocates some DoD budget to NASA, the US government is never giving NASA enough money to man a mission to Mars as large as what is shown in this trailer. Before you nay say me, trust me, I know about the 2010 legislation and Journey to Mars (see #2, of course I know about this!), but there really isn’t enough funding and there definitely isn’t enough funding for a mission as large as the one shown in The Martian.
6. I Like A Little Science in my Fiction
When Matt’s character says he’s going to “Science the shit out of it” I immediately thought of Tony Stark and Science Bros. But then I thought about my film hero, Nicole Perlman, and this interview she did where she talks about how it is critical for screenwriters and directors (and graphics people, one would add to the convo) to sit down and chat with real life scientists about the science they’re writing, directing, animating into movies. (Perlman’s on the steering committee for the Science and Entertainment Exchange.) Remember when video games introduced physics to their animation and it changed the experience for the better? That’s what we’re talking about here.
Make the science right. If it doesn’t work with your plot, REWORK YOUR STORYTELLING. I know this is based on a novel that perhaps got some science wrong for plot’s sake, but who cares. You adapt novels inaccurately all the time, Hollywood.
I like a little science in my fiction, and I’m hoping that The Martian will deliver. We will find out this November. I do plan to read the book, so I’ll be better prepared for science fail or not. Plus, I’m reading that there’s a weird POV situation happening with Damon’s character. Fun times!!
What about you? Are you all in or all out to go to Mars? Did you write RPF about Matt Damon when you were 14, too? If you could visit any planet in our solar system, which would it be? Do you think they will get the gravity right in this movie? Have you read the novel The Martian? How was it?