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The Martian - Pseudo Movie review

by Giovanni Profeta 7 months ago in movie review
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Was it accurate?

The Martian wallpaper

Progress as motivation.

“Nothing that results in human progress in achieved with unanimous consent. Those enlightened before the others, are condemned to pursuit that light in despite of others.” This well-known quote by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is often misused. Pitifully, it’s easy to take his words out of context and put all the blame on his shoulders. Just like any other visionary from a not-so-distant past, the never-resting movie industry is committed to brake boundaries. The unthinkable is now on our screens, we were able to feel the thrill of landing on Mars, but, are we in a position to judge the creative decisions the writers had made? Do we have the expertise to dissect and accurately decide what’s right or wrong regarding what would it be to walk on Mars? Let’s dig a bit deeper to find out.

Definition of progress.

According to the Merriam – Webster dictionary “A forward or onward movement (as to an object or a goal)” is called “progress.” We have to put the meaning of that word under the magnifying glass of our reality. Sure, the vast amount of information makes us Ad-Hoc experts in any fields. In just a few clicks (and a huge amount of dedication), you can cook Beef Stroganoff from scratch to stun your guests. But, can you be considered a chef? It takes a lot more to master any field. The research that can takes us to Mars is no exception.

GRAVITY… FAILS?

May your dreams defy the law of gravity.

According to NASA’s website, Mars gravity is only 38% of Earth’s gravity. Some experts believe, walking on the surface of mars implies much more than just walking. Men would have to learn how to move in a more efficient way. Due to physics, we need to adapt to this new rhythm on movement. On the red planet, you will run faster, jump higher, we need to learn some new tricks to transport from one place to another using your lower limbs in a slightly different way. On the movie, you see some incongruence regarding body weight and displacement. There’s a scene where our earthly “Martian,” is laboring the soil. There, we can see Matt Damon walking around as on Planet Earth.

Walking on Martian soil

For many people online that’s a big fail. the movie’s Achilles’ heel to say the least. To address all the buzz around this so-called “Sci-Fi sin,” director Ridley Scott, explained the critical thinking behind this aesthetic approach. Creative minds behind the project sat down to evaluate the amount of gear an astronaut must wear. Having a deep understanding of the materials scientist must use and a bit naiveté, they decided that maybe the weight of the astronaut + gear must compensate the disparity.

It was a bold move, they knew that a lot of “keyboard space wanderers” with no real experience on the field would argue for days. In the end, it was a technical decision. They know how to portray a weightless scene, but a semi-weightless one for almost the whole length of the movie? For them was better to move on and deal with other issues creative issues.

CRUISING ON NO-MAN’S LAND.

Big boys, big toys.

At this point in time, Earth has several robotic rovers wondering the abrupt Mars terrain. Curiosity is the biggest, armed with a vast array of cameras and even a drill. It’s without any doubt, our eyes on the red planet. Thanks to it, Planet Mars does not look so frightening from the comfort of our living room chair. It has given us the opportunity to familiarize with the unfamiliar.

Get ready, it’s your turn to drive.

Right now, NASA is developing a rover big enough to fit a human behind the wheel. Just like in “The Martian” movie. In no time astronauts will drive along the fat-from-a-distance Valles Marinaris terrain. Due to the time delay in communications between the two planets, experts now have to plan a whole set of movements for any rover in advance. Similar to a space-theme chest game, we became the wanderers of the red planet, several moves ahead of our adversary.

The one NASA is developing right now, has a pressurized cabin. Astronauts will sit behind the wheel without a space suit, just like in the movie. They are working on making it suitable to any kind of condition or surface. This is not only an off-road vehicle, it’s an out-of-this-world human transportation machine suited for the task.

Those rovers wandering freely on extraterrestrial soil made an outstanding contribution to the actual develop of the future rovers. Mars looks closer every day. Now we know what to expect on the surface of the planet named after the Roman’s God of war.

Just like on a road trip.

Can you imagine what would happen if you get stuck in a very long road trip with people you don’t get along well? NASA works on getting the right people with extreme care. To be able to be part of something as colossal as the exploration of another planet, a myriad of psychological test must come your way. It’s not only about mental health, is more about what’s best for the crew. On the movie we saw the crew making and taking daring decisions on the spot. You got to have like-minded people, on the same team, pursuing the same goal, with the same set of priorities.

I choose to believe in magic.

Several years ago, something changed my approach to the accuracy of what is portrayed on film. I’m a big fan of the movie “Herbie the love bug.” Since I was a kid, my dream was (still is, I need to grow up) to build the fastest/loudest VW bug in town. Paint it black, call it “The night prowler,” and religiously melt rubber on every stop-light.

Movie poster

To make the long story short, I went to see “Herbie fully loaded,” at my local movie theater. My girlfriend sitting right next to me, in one hand a huge bucket of freshly made popcorn, on the other, the biggest soft drink available. I was literally jumping on my seat. I felt like a little boy once more. "A new Herbie movie? Bring it on, amuse me!"

Maggie talking to Herbie

There’s a scene where Herbie gets in trouble and starts to loose oil. With my heart pounding hard, I was waiting in awe. “How can they fix it? He would lose the race, no c’mon, fix it, please fix Herbie!” Maggie (Linsey Lohan) ask Herbie if it want to continue, she don’t want to damage her trustful companion, but the car was so into the race that all it wanted was to cross the finish line. In the middle of the ordeal, a mechanic figured out a way to keep Herbie on the race.

Drama at the pits

On the parking lot, there was this shiny, glamorous, yellow new beetle. He took a replacement part from its engine to place it on Herbie’s damaged left valve cam cover. Long story short, it worked, and he won.

Age is just a number

Why am I telling you all this? Well, the New Beetle has a different engine, not a single replacement part is compatible. The old beetle is an air-cooled engine, the new one is water cooled, (sorry for the mechanic crash course). Story wise it worked, and for me that was enough. My huge smile was a good indicator that I had fun watching Herbie race once more.

Herbie smiling :-)

Doing some research, I found a lot of controversy around the accuracy of the information portrayed on “The Martian.” In the end, this is only for our entertainment. The general consensus is that The Martian is “fairly” accurate. But does it really matter? I’m sure that for almost a couple of hours, your mind was almost 50 million miles away on a celestial sojourn among the stars. And that means they did their job.

Let's embrace what's coming

References.

- "progress." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 23 August 2020.

- “NASA's Mars Exploration Program.” NASA, NASA, 3 June 2014, mars.nasa.gov/.



movie review

About the author

Giovanni Profeta

Enjoy my daily rant.

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