I reviewd The Martian


I watched American movie “The Martian” (2015, Sir Ridley Scott) and I analyzed this movie through making use of knowledge that I learned in film analysis class. The Odyssey is that the main character and his colleagues who were astronaut, searched Mars, but they were caught in a storm. Although they had to escape from Mars, the main character was hit by some debris and lost his sensed, so he was left on Mars and he tried returning to the earth by himself. In the end, his colleagues helped him to escape from Mars and he was able to return to the earth. This time, particularly, I would like to analyze the scene in which the main character was trying to return to the earth and making an expedition to Mars by himself. This movie had me feel like exploring magnificent Mars with the main character, so research question in this essay is how The Odyssey was made to make viewers have such feelings. I focused on Mise-en-Scene, Sounds (music) and Cinematography I was taught in class to analyze this movie. As a result, I realized that costume and setting, which are components of Mise-en-Scene, played an important role in making me feel like going on an expedition into the undeveloped world, Mars with the main character. In addition, we can hear many kinds of sounds. Among them, various disco music came on back ground music, and hearing these music gave me mood for having similar feeling to him and some messages. It seemed to me that those messages were from director. In undeveloped world, Mars, camera angle in the area of cinematography emphasized an eerily quiet and grand Mars and powerless a person.

First, costumes and setting encouraged me to be excited and feel like searching Mars with him, and I will explain costume and setting. The main character whose name was Mark Watney usually lived in a base camp on Mars where he wore normal clothes and didn’t have an oxygen container, so the scene when he were in a base camp assured me because I understood that he were in a safe place. In fact, he looked relax and he ate space food which was produced in the earth and familiar to me. Entering the middle of scene, he began to raise potatoes and ate them. Growing potatoes and other food on Mars is not just a sci-fi curiosity. Now, a NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) -backed “Potatoes on Mars” experiment is showing that Watney’s fictional feat might actually be possible¹, so what he did is not unrealistic action. Watney, who was botanist, looked happy while he was raising potatoes, and he took pictures with his normal camera during lunch. His costume, food and setting are so familiar to me in his base camp that I was sure that he was safe. However, he had to wear a space suit and have an oxygen container, and used special machines to scout Mars when he went out and he explored, so I knew that he were in a danger and unknown place because what he used to make an expedition on Mars was unfamiliar to me, and I thrilled with his expedition. His clothes and items showed and contrasted between a safe place and an unsafe place. It was easy for me to recognize whether he was in safe place or unsafe place, and I wanted to cheer for him. This is why I feel like exploring Mars with him.

Second, back ground music gave me feelings and some messages. However, this is not normal back ground music because Watney played music from music player in this films and he listened to the same music with me. When he and I were listening to disco music, these music gave me opportunities to think about his feeling and hoping and director’s messages. For example, the disco music, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (1976, Thelma Houston)² and this disco’s lyric was that don’t leave me this way, I can’t survive. I supposed this lyric showed his sensation. Other song was “ I will survive ”(1978, Gloria Gaynor)³ came on music player. This music conveyed an intention of surviving, so this message encouraged Watney and me to return to the earth. And also, Watney and me listened to “ Love train ”(1972, The O’Jays)⁴ and this music said that people all over the world join hands. In actually, there was the scene in which America, Russia and China cooperated with each other to rescue Watney in this film. So, this music seemed to me his hoping, and the director seemed to convey this message to viewers in this movie, The Odyssey. I thought director would like people all over the world to join hands. Because Watney and I listened to the same music together, I was able to guess his feelings, and, he and I had feeling in common through disco music. This helped me to become like one with Watney.

Third, I found many technics of camera angle in this movie. When he was in camp, camera angle is usually close-up to take the audience deep inside the boundaries of the subject’s “Private Space”. Close-up fills the screen with part of the subject, such as a person’s head/face and this camera angle are used in many films to describe the emotions and reaction of a character. This was true of this movie as well. Because of close-up, I could see his face closely, and notice his worry and promise. I got his feelings and felt an affinity to him. On the other hands, exploring Mars, camera angle often is long shot which shows the subject from top to bottom and tends to be dominated by the scenery. I could realize a landscape of Mars, and I amazed how an eerily quiet and grand Mars. At the same time, I wondered how tiny Mark Watney was on Mars. When the scene in which he began to venture into the unknown area was, camera angle was extreme long shot, which show the subject from a distance or the area in which the scene is taking place, and I was surprised how large area he and I didn’t venture in. This film showed that Watney, who I became to be familiar with, faced a grand world, Mars, through many kinds of camera angles.

I felt like exploring grand Mars with Watney when I watched this movie for the first time in my life, so I analyzed this movie to know why this feelings occurred to me. Making use of knowledge about Mise-en-Scene, Cinematography and Sounds, which I learned in class, I understood why this film enabled viewers to feel like expedition magnificent and an eerily quiet Mars with him, and have a similar feeling to him. Changing costumes and setting, which are element of Mise-en-Scene, depended on the situation and it contrasted between a safe place and an unsafe place. This helped us to tend to cheer him up. Back ground music that he played from music player contributed me to having similar feeling to him and taking his or director’s messages. Because I and he were able to have feeling in common through disco music, I became to be familiar with him. Mise-en-Scene and music enabled me to have me to feel like exploring Mars with the main character, Watney. In addition, many kinds of camera angles, which are kinds of cinematography, played an important role in realizing how an eerily quiet, grand and magnificent Mars, and how tiny Watney was on Mars. As I explained, I found that these sorts of points, which are Mise-en-Scene, Sounds (music) and Cinematography, made a substantial contribution to feel like that I explored an eerily quiet and magnificent Mars, and tried returning to the earth with the main character, Watney.


1 https://www.sciencealert.com/growing-potatoes-on-mars-might-actually-work-hints-a-new-experiment

2 https://genius.com/Thelma-houston-dont-leave-me-this-way-lyrics

3 https://genius.com/Gloria-gaynor-i-will-survive-lyrics

4 https://genius.com/The-ojays-love-train-lyrics