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The Martian: Scene Analysis

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Evan Albert

on 2 June 2016

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Transcript of The Martian: Scene Analysis

First Analysis
The start of this scene displays multiple match cuts from Mark working on his actual rover on Mars while preparing for his trip to Ares 4, and NASA working on a replica rover in a work shop. This is showing the dedication that NASA has towards saving Mark Watney. It then cuts to Teddy Sanders and Mitch Henderson in China, meeting Zhu Tao and Guo Ming, thanking them for letting NASA use their space probe, the Taiyang Shen. After, we cut back to Mars where Mark is counting the amount of food he has left and what he is going to bring on his journey. One pivotal shot that is shown at 0:48, is Mark writing "Goodbye Mars" on a food package, indicating that Mark is prepared and happy to be leaving Mars. Then we go to Hermes and Martinez is having a conversation with his wife at 0:56. His wife is frustrated at him that he is staying in space for 533 more days. Martinez answers immediately saying "He would of done the same for me, and you know that." Martinez initially had no hesitation to go save his best friend Mark and he keeps that decision even after his wife's disapproval.

Skipping ahead to 2:07, when we have more match cuts with Mark and NASA both inflating a plastic ball over the rover. We see NASA's pop, but not Marks. We assume that NASA told Mark the final pressure of the 'balloon' before his popped as well. We then see Vogel entertaining his kids and wife, as he is doing some zero-gravity flips, much to the pleasure of his kids. After the Taiyang Shen is launched successfully, we see Mark riding peacefully in the rover, while shaking with excitement. We then see Martinez guiding the probe onto Hermes while Beck is outside guiding it to the doc. As he is doing this Johanssen nervously watches him, Beck then waves at Johanssen. Beck and Johanssen appear to be having an emotional connection on board, this is against NASA's policy but they continue to do so anyways, and eventually have a kid near the end of the entire film. The scene is then concluded with Hermes going past Earth and onwards to Mars. All this happens while we have David Bowie's "Starman" playing in the background.
Importance to the Film & Theme
Multiple techniques were used in this scene, such as...
Multiple cuts used to go from setting to setting.
Match cuts showing NASA working on their rover and Mark working on his.
Multiple horizontal tilts establishing the setting.
Internal framing when Mark is working inside the HAB, used to show his current isolation.
Extreme close-up of Mark writing "Goodbye Mars" on a food packaging. This camera angle shows the importance of the writing, signifying that he is leaving Mars.
Negative space shot with Hermes in the foreground and Earth in the background, shows the depth and isolation of space.
Reverse shot of all the astronauts talking to their families and Mitch talking to the Chinese.
Reaction shot when Commander Lewis' husband reveals a gift he got her.
High angle of Mark closing the rovers door.
Reaction shot of Vincent Kapoor when the balloon bursts, and of NASA when the Taiyang Shen is launching.
Open space of Mark driving the rover.
Extreme close-up of the rovers tire accelerating in the sand, shows the type of soil on Mars.
Framing of the supply probe coming towards Hermes and specifically Beck.
Reverse Shot of Beck and Johanssen exchanging waves.

The song selection of "Starman" by David Bowie is also really fitting if you listen to the lyrics, "There's a starman waiting in the sky, he told us not to blow it, because he knows its all worth while." (1:05- 1:14). These lyrics really fit the entire film since Mark is a "starman" waiting in the sky, he would like to come meet us, and he for sure knows its all worth while.
The Martian: Scene Analysis
By: Evan Albert
In this scene, we understand the importance of Mark Watney to NASA and his entire crew on Hermes. As we see observe multiple match cuts from NASA and their rover, to Mark and the actual Mars rover. We see also see the 'bromance' that Watney and Martinez have. Martinez has no hesitation or second thought when telling his wife that he will be up in space for much longer than they planned. The overall importance of this scene to the film, is that Mark Watney is coming home and he has most of he world behind him.

This film and novel has the overall theme of isolation, and from this scene we see that this constant isolation that haunts Mark is finally relinquishing him as he prepares to leave Mars. We see that Mark is closer than ever to meeting face to face with another human being for the first time in almost 2 years. Another theme present in this scene and the overall film is sacrifice. This is present when the Hermes crew is telling their families and they do not have much of a problem with staying in space for much longer just to rescue Mark. Also that the Taiyang Shen that China has been preparing for their own use, is being sacrificed to save an American astronaut, nothing that China was initially involved with.
What is the Director Attempting to Achieve?
Actual Movie Time: 1:33:13 - 1:37:20
In this scene, the director, Ridley Scott successfully achieves building up the anticipation of what is to come further in the film. This scene builds up for Marks journey to Ares 4, his final ascent, and the stretched mission for the Hermes crew. Also, Scott achieves letting everyone know that Mark Watney is coming home, along with showing the sacrifices that have been made to save Mark.
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