At the Movies: Peanuts Movie and the Martian
The Peanuts movie is nostalgic to a simpler time. How many movies are rated "G" these days? The characters are as comfortable as a well worn sofa for people of a certain age who grew up reading the comic strip and catching the occasions special film. The Charlie Brown Christmas has become iconic of the season here in the USA.
The update is in the technology of the animation (3D look even in non-3D projection) and some of the music. Overall though, the production team still kept it connected to the old style with its general look and feel and the heart warming story line.
Will this revive the franchise and thus more films?
I don't know what the financial figures are from the film and I do wonder if the new generation of film goers brought up on much more sophisticated animation and "darker" and "complicated" characters will welcome the earnest simplicity of the Peanuts gang. As for me, I enjoyed it.
The Martian is a wonderful adventure, survival, science-fiction/fact film!
Love that the "nerds" get to be on center-stage as the heroes of the story.
I had to check on google about whether one can really grow potatoes on Mars. Perhaps so according to this item!
The film does highlight how technically demanding going to Mars would be and how harsh an environment it is. Going to the moon in a decade was the challenge of the 60s and quite the feat. In fact, a feat that hasn't been repeated in over 40 years. I suspect going to Mars is going to be the challenge of the 21st century and without some significant technological breakthroughs not likely to happen in my lifetime.
In addition to the science of the film was some of the human dimensions of the story.
Commander Lewis' (Jessica Chastain) collection of disco music was probably used to be able to have the chance to play "I will survive" in the film. For some I'm sure it was a groaner but for others it was the right type of humor and connection to audience members who grew up following the NASA manned program (NASA has not directly launched people into space for a few years now and aren't likely to for a few more years). Though Matt Damon is clearly the star of the film with lots of screen time, I'd say most anyone would be happy to have Lewis in charge of any mission.
Some of the action in the film does remind me a bit of Gravity in terms of straining credibility but it is the movies so some suspension of belief is required. Nonetheless, it was a good attempt at trying to keep as much of the film grounded on plausible technology.