Many science fiction films focus heavily on the fiction and leave the actual science to the side. Sometimes though, we see a truly intelligent smash hit film like The Martian that leans heavily on science to ensure its success, a winning combination of entertainment and learning. Many NASA departments consulted on the film to make it as realistic as possible, resulting in a massive critical and commercial hit.
The Martian is a story about a single struggle to survive following Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Michael Pena, who all left him unknowingly on Mars, believing him to be dead when they landed on the surface of Mars. Here are thirteen films you will want to see next.
Interstellar, a master film-maker Christopher Nolan, was the first film to pioneer the grand tradition of stranding Matt Damon alone in space. Detailing concepts as diverse as wormholes, time dilation, multi-universe theory, and five-dimensional space will fascinate anyone who re-watchs it later.
Overgard (the always wonderful Mads Mikkelsen) is stranded in the Arctic following a tragic aircraft accident, and must decide whether or not to flee the relative safety of his makeshift camp or embark on a dangerous journey in the hope of rescuing them both.
In Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, the empty abyss of space has never felt more claustrophobic. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are most often relegated to spacesuits as they try to dodge the high-speed debris that destroyed their ship and threatens to jeopardize their chances of returning home.
As the timer is set for each subsequent disastrous wave of debris, the audience and the characters suffer. However, underneath the immediate threats there is an undercurrent of hope, of surviving trauma not unchanged but unchanged. This defiant optimism and faith is also strongly present in Both films, where both emphasize the need to recognize death rather than connection.
Cast Away (2000)
"I'll be right back," says Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) before boarding a doomed FedEx flight across the Pacific Ocean. With only the contents of the parcels and the natural resources around him to survive, Chuck learns how to make his living. Finally, he devises a plan to return to the lifestyle he once knew.
Hanks delivers an iconic performance, delivering every high and low, from the excitement of discovering fire to the deep sorrow over the loss of his volleyball, Wilson. Cast Away is a survival tale that shows us that sometimes Earth is as difficult to survive as Mars.
The Martian and Sunshine are a foreboding story about humanity's inability to survive easily in space. A star-studded cast that includes Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, and Benedict Wong, has been sent on a dangerous mission to re-ignite the sun.
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Are you stuck in the desert, without anything but wisdom and ingenuity to assist you survive? The Flight of the Phoenix, a 1965 survival film, was initially considered a financial failure, but it remained critically acclaimed, and was re-made in 2004 despite much less critical praise.
All Is Lost (2013)
Robert Redford's amazing performance in this sea-faring action film is no longer suffocated by a near-wordless script. The man must contend with a severe storm, the harsh sun, circling sharks, and his own mortality.
The 1996 tragedy on which Everest is built was the most fatal Everest expedition until the filming, but it has since been eclipsed by two other fatal seasons. On a fateful May morning, two mountaineering guides (including John Hawkes, Josh Brolin, Vanessa Kirby, and Michael Kelly) join forces to guide their amateur climbers to the top of Mount Everest. Nature's brutality is only eclipsed by the spectacular scenery, and the horrific journeys of all involved are testament to human endurance.
Marooned is a film set during 1969, where three astronauts Buzz (Gene Hackman), Jim (Richard Crenna), and Clayton (James Franciscus) are caught stranded after a malfunction leaves them floating in space. Despite their plans, NASA's director (Gregory Peck) realizes that their salvation isn't guaranteed.
Both Marooned and The Martian juxtapose the quiet, solitary helplessness of an astronauts confronted by the busy, busy workspaces of those back at NASA who are charged with assisting them in their hardships.
Adrift is a half-survival thriller and half-romance, directed by Shailene Woodley. As the pair sail across the Pacific Ocean, Richard instructs Tami to stay below the helm where it is safe. When she returns to the deck, she discovers she has a broken boat and a broken fiance, and Tami must return all of them to the relative safety of Hawaii, despite her inexperience.
Maverick, Tom Cruise, and director Joseph Kosinski collaborated on this stunning sci-fi action film before their record-breaking collaboration on Top Gun. The film is depressing and cold, full of cold colors against dark sand, making Earth appear like a foreign land.
The Edge (1997)
In this tale of intrigue and survival starring Anthony Hopkins, Elle Macpherson, and Alec Baldwin, there are more deadly forces at play than just the bear that is stalking them. You will probably also learn a thing or two from Hopkins' fact-tasting ability should you ever need to get back to civilization.
David Bowie's commercial breakthrough song was "Space Oddity," and his son, Duncan Jones, created his own space oddity - Moon. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) lives on Earth, but his health takes a drastic turn as he discovers the truth behind the strange events at the station.
Moon has cultivated a loyal following since its release, utilizing the same winning combination of cerebral sci-fi and dramatic survival thriller with a likable lead man who mostly carries the film, an stark outer-space setting, and an emotionally satisfying conclusion that made The Martian a smash hit. Hollywood will continue to abandon actors in space with nothing but their intellect and instincts for a long time.