This film hadn’t been on my radar until Allahpundit posted about it last night over at Hot Air, and I watched the trailer quick this morning.
AP observes that casting Matt Damon as the protagonist kind of reduces the movie’s suspense factor. You’re not going to kill off your A-lister, right? That may be true, but I’d argue Interstellar took a similar risk. Was the audience truly worried for Matthew Cconaughey? Maybe that wasn’t as important there, given that the stakes were much higher in Interstellar.
Regardless, my first thought was regarding something else. Acknowledging the fact that the trailer is just a small piece, an overview of the whole, and not something by which I’d prejudge the entire film, it struck me that the Martian really captures the modern zeal of scientism; that is, the deification of science.
It would be a pleasant surprise if Matt Damon’s character were to pray to God at some point following his accident; he’s probably far too rational for that. If I were shipwrecked somewhere (nevermind on friggin Mars), a good prayer would probably be my first order of business, maybe after desoiling myself.
Instead, he narrates that he will have to “science the shit out of this.” What an asinine statement. In other words, it’s all up to him and his brain now. Science has its place, of course, and it is a wonderful thing! Science is part of God’s creation. But it’s just that – an aspect of creation, not a trump card.
Now I don’t expect Hollywood to promote religion or acknowledge the fact that sometimes (or quite often) man is powerless and must appeal to a Higher Being. And I do realize that this is science fiction. But the way that narration frames the story just really turns me off. Impossible situation? It’ll be difficult, but don’t worry – science!
Anyway, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and this will actually be a good movie.