A couple of weeks ago I watched The Martian after missing it while it was in theaters. I was reminded of it while watching the Golden Globes, because it was nominated several times. This was interesting to me because I had prematurely dismissed this movie, which is why I never saw it in the theaters.
I love space and all things having to do with it. I especially love movies about space or space travel, but I have been let down too many times by bad movies about Mars, so I assumed this would just be the next in a line of disappointments. Looking at you,Red Planet.
But this one was different. I had assumed that The Martian was going to be bad because it was probably going to end up being about aliens or someone going crazy. I have been let down by too many of those as well, e.g., Mission to Mars, Apollo 18, Europa Report,etc.
I was really not interested in seeing another suspense thriller filled with jump scares, plot holes and painful dialogue. But when I found out that The Martian was not a suspense or horror film in the least, and had a cast filled with a lot of my favorite actors (Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor just to name a few) I was suddenly very interested. On a side note, while this was certainly not a horror movie, I’m not sure how they got away with classifying it as a comedy for the Golden Globes. Sure, there were several incredibly talented comedians in it, but they played serious characters. Something suspicious this way comes…
Anyhow, this movie was great. For once a space movie cared about the science of it all! And I don’t just mean the waters of theoretical physics that Interstellartried to wade into; I mean the mundane details of orbital mechanics and planetary geoscience. We got to see the inner workings of the Jet Propulsion Lab, and lots of people heard the word astrodynamics for the first time; I mean what more could you want in a movie?
Sure, Ridley Scott took some liberties with the atmospheric density of Mars in order to make his opening sand storm as dramatic is it needed to be, but that’s an artistic choice I can live with, not a gaping plot hole.
In case you haven’t seen it, the basic premise is that an astronaut, played by Matt Damon, is accidentally left behind on Mars and has to survive until he can be rescued. Now, this is Mars, so a rescue plan is years in the making, not weeks or even months.
One of the themes throughout the movie is the overwhelming support from people back on Earth, who all advocate to “bring him home.” Andy Weir wrote the book that the movies was based on, and in the book he wrote the following:
“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are a——- who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.” – Andy Weir, The Martian
Quite often we as humans are portrayed poorly, especially in groups. We hear about how society is bad and we’re all going somewhere hot in a handbasket. Sometimes I even think this myself, but then I am reminded of a different reality by things like these words from Andy Weir.
This past Sunday we talked about the nature and character of God, and the fact that we are all made in the image of God. I think that is one of the reasons that these words from Andy Weir are true. Yes, humans tend to make some poor choices, especially in groups when mob mentality takes over. We are all broken in one way or another, but that doesn’t mean that we are bad or evil or beyond redemption. It just means that we have to work together to make sure that the image of God is the one we bear as often as possible.
This coming Sunday we are going to be continuing in our sermon series, “Who Am I?” and I hope you will join us. In the mean time I hope you remember that you are made in the image of the God of the universe whose very nature is love. And if you’ve got some free time you should watch The Martian, and be entertained by the wonderful story of Mark Watney: Space Pirate.
Have a wonderful week my friends!