Exercise 02: Discovering Themes

One of my recent favourite movies has to be The Martian, a sci-fi film about an astronaut’s solo attempt to stay alive on Mars after being assumed dead during a dust storm.

the martian

An group of astronauts are on the mission to explore Mars. A sudden dust storm attack separated botanist Mark Watney with the rest. Presumed dead, the crew returns back to Earth without him. He wakes up after the disaster, alone.

While gathering any possible resources to increase his food stock, Watney has to find a way to contact NASA for assistance. He begins his journey on the vast and unfamiliar land to find a way home.

The themes of the movies are

  • Man Against Nature (survival)
  • Triumph Over Adversity (perseverance)

These concepts recur during the following scenes:

  • Watney constructs a potato farm to increase food supply.
  • He manages to contact NASA with an old abandoned probe.
  • Crops are destroyed from an accidental explosion, cutting off his only food supply
  • China offers help with its booster, Taiyang Shen, when NASA’s supply probe exploded from the lack of preparation.
  • Crew is determined to return back to Mars for Watney despite risking their life.

Another film that holds the similar theme of Triumph Over Adversity is The Maze RunnerThe story, too, is set in an extreme environment that pushes characters’ limits to overcome disasters. Thomas arrives to a glade where a young boy, food supply and weapons are sent over every month. Outside the glade lays a maze infested with nocturnal Grievers (spider-like creatures) who are eventually the driving forces behind the boys’ journey to escape the trapped world.

The Martian would be a better projection of the theme Triumph Over Adversity for its prominence of a character trying to overcome multiple hurdles as the story progresses. Both movies can easily put characters into their survival instincts in their dangerously atypical world. Martin allows audience to grasp the theme with just one character (Mark Watney), while Maze Runner concurrently offers complexity of relationships between multiple characters. As such, The Martian is more direct in conveying the idea of human perseverance.

Author: Lau Yi Wen

ok i'll try

One thought on “Exercise 02: Discovering Themes”

  1. Interesting analysis and comparison of themes. Would be fun to work on an opening sequence of The Martian and create a summary of these themes presented:)

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