How watching potatoes grow can be entertaining

Science fiction has really taken off in the past few years. Space dramas such as Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian are straight up hits with the critics and in the box office. These films use real science to portray fake situations beyond our Earth. We would all like the Mars missions to be a reality and have the cool tech that we see in these films. But how do you explain science to viewers with no previous knowledge and still manage to entertain them?

In The Martian, Astronaut Mark Whatney (Matt Damon) uses his knowledge in botanic, chemistry and mechanical engineering to come up with ways to survive in an inhabitable planet. At every step of the way he records a digital journey in which he describes every single thing he is doing. This is used as an exposition tool to explain to the audience what is going on. After all, if he would have come up with a crop out of nowhere we would all think that movie was pure fiction. Nevertheless, is amazing that the film was able to entertain its spectators by showing a guy grow potatoes.

In a reality where NASA is over funded, no piece of technology is too crazy. The movie appeals to us in the futuristic aspect just the Space Race did back in the day. During the 60’s everybody wanted to be an astronaut. Even I still want to be a one! The movie persuades us by going after our feeling of wonder. When you see one of those cool rovers in the movie you think: I would really love to drive one of those. Or maybe you ask yourself: How would living in Mars be like? If the film makes you say those things, then it is a successful Sci-fi.


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