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Austin Huyboom

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The Martian and Prometheus
Which One to Watch?
Movies about outer space are
really picking it up. Watching space
movies doesn’t hurt every once in a
while, especially when it comes to living
on Mars or exploring the depths of
space. That’s why I am going to cover
The Martian, released 2015 and
Prometheus, released in 2012.
The Martian is a movie about
actor Matt Damon getting lost on Mars.
It is a space fantasy film about a rescue
mission. Him and his crew land on Mars
to study it until one day, known as a sol,
a rough storm approaches on Mars, with
rocks flying around along with raging
winds which cause them to abort the
mission. The character, Mark Watney
was left behind in belief that he was
dead, although he was surprisingly
alive. Throughout the movie, Mark
Watney is left to survive on this
uninhabited planet with limited supplies.
He later reaches contact with NASA on
earth and they work on a plan to save
him, meanwhile the crew finds out that
Mark Watney is alive, to which they later
rescue him in their daunting mission.
Prometheus is a movie that
peeks into the deeper questions about
life, along with more of an alien thrill. A
group of scientists land on a strange
planet which is similar to Earth, even
having breathable air. The crew of
scientists set out to explore, along with
having a robot accompany their
adventure. They find strange structures
built by aliens to which they found a fluid
that contains human-like DNA. A
character named Peter Weyland wants
this DNA to create longevity so he won’t
die of old age. The story slowly
becomes more and more terrifying with

characters being killed off and
eventually a few human-like aliens are
awakened and are threatening the
destruction of earth. The movie ends
with the question: did aliens create
Both movies share the same
theme of being in outer space and
involve being a couple million miles
away from earth. Outer space is broad,
however, and that creates two very
different stories. The Martian takes
place around modern times, imaginably
10 to 20 years in the future, compared
to Prometheus which obviously takes
place in a few hundred years from now.
The Martian is a movie that revolves
around the idea of a rescue mission,
whereas Prometheus focuses more on
exploration and finding answers about
human life. They both use astute
approaches to surviving on a planet,
such as Mark Watney from The Martian
cultivating mars and growing potatoes,
and breathing the planet’s air in
The conflict of The Martian is
something realistic, especially as
portrayed in the film. Mark Watney was
abandoned on Mars when the crew
thought he was struck and killed by
debris. He actually survived and stitched
himself up, and then he was left on Mars
alone and must survive and reach
contact with NASA on Earth. That
creates a conflict of surviving on an
uninhabited planet along with trying to
find a way home by contacting NASA.
Prometheus also has a double conflict.
The first is landing on an unsuspectedly
dangerous planet where different breeds
of aliens are killing off the characters,
along with human-like aliens plan to
destroy earth and end humankind.
Another conflict is more visible in the

Austin Huyboom
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background of the story, although it
creates the entire motive for the crew to
visit this planet. Peter Weyland, which is
an old character, is getting near death
and was preserved until they could find
a way to create longevity so that he
could live forever. This is why they
visited the planet, to find answers of
human life.
This leads to the symbolism that
is created in Prometheus. At the
beginning of the movie, a very humanlike alien drinks a dark fluid and
disintegrates into water, to which his
DNA is released. It begins the idea of
the search for life. These explorers set
out to find out where they came from
and how they are made. Prometheus
asks the question of how we are made
and where we come from compared to
The Martian, which focuses more on
teamwork. It took the entire crews’
cooperation to save Mark Watney, and it
took all of the forces of NASA to create
a plan, and not one person can make it
alone. Another symbolic element in The
Martian is decision making, including
resourcefulness and problem solving.
Mark Watney had to grow potatoes on
Mars, so he created a mixture if his own
waste and Martian soil. Now that’s quite
resourceful! He also created water using
mixtures of chemicals and he grew
edible potatoes to which he was able to
survive with while trapped on Mars.
More symbolism is noticed by
Peter DeBruge, a Chief International
Film Critic from Variety states, “’The
Martian’ puts man’s potential for
problem solving to the test today,
assembling a gender-balanced, multi-

culti cast and combining their brightest
ideas to save Damon’s character.”
DeBruge even supports the idea that
teamwork is an essential key to the
movie. “Unlike so many films that cast
heroism as the doing of a single
rebellious soul, this one does justice to
the idea that truly amazing feats depend
on the collaboration of exceptional
Cherished and loved movie critic,
Roger Ebert captured the magnitude of
Prometheus in his quote from his
website, “The most tantalizing element
is how it plays with the role of these
DNA twins. Did they create life on
Earth? The possibility of two identical
DNAs as a coincidence is unthinkable.”
That expands on the symbolism of the
movie. Prometheus points out that that
we were created by these humanoid
aliens which is almost a whole new
belief, which creates many existential
questions just from one film. Not only is
the movie a thought-provoking flick, but
it is an action movie with extreme
scenes. “The film then develops horror
scenes comparable to ‘Alien,’ although it
depends more on action and weaponry
than that film's use of shadows and
silence” Ebert states.
Both films are fantastic and
anyone who likes a little bit of space
action should watch these, however
each movie comes with a different
spark. If you like a more realistic, casual
movie with a solid plot, then The Martian
would be a great movie to go see. If you
like a movie with more gore, aliens, and
a thought provoking plot, then
Prometheus will be the one for you.