If you are a fan of sci-fi movies, you might have wondered if there is any connection between two of the most popular films in the genre: The Martian and Interstellar. Both movies feature Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on a distant planet, and both movies have Jessica Chastain as part of the cast. But are they really related, or are they just coincidental similarities? In this article, we will compare and contrast the two movies and see how they differ in terms of plot, characters, themes, and style.
Plot: Survival vs Exploration
One of the main differences between The Martian and Interstellar is the plot. The Martian is based on the novel by Andy Weir, which was published in 2011, three years before Interstellar came out1. The Martian follows Mark Watney, an astronaut who is left behind on Mars after a storm forces his crew to abort their mission. Watney has to use his scientific knowledge and ingenuity to survive on the hostile planet and find a way to communicate with Earth and get rescued.
Interstellar, on the other hand, is an original story co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan. Interstellar takes place in a dystopian future where Earth is becoming uninhabitable due to climate change and crop failures. A team of astronauts, led by Cooper, embark on a secret mission to find a new home for humanity in another galaxy, using a wormhole that leads to potentially habitable planets. Along the way, they encounter various challenges and mysteries, such as time dilation, black holes, and a rogue scientist named Mann, played by Matt Damon.
The Martian is mainly focused on Watney’s survival story, while Interstellar is more about exploration and discovery. The Martian is also more realistic and grounded in science, while Interstellar is more speculative and fantastical.
Characters: Hero vs Villain
Another difference between The Martian and Interstellar is the characters that Matt Damon plays. In The Martian, Damon plays Mark Watney, the protagonist and hero of the story. Watney is a botanist and engineer who is optimistic, resourceful, and humorous. He never gives up hope and uses his skills and creativity to overcome various obstacles. He also maintains a friendly and respectful relationship with his crewmates and NASA.
In Interstellar, Damon plays Dr. Mann, the antagonist and villain of the story. Mann is a physicist who was part of an earlier mission to explore the planets beyond the wormhole. He is cynical, selfish, and deceptive. He fakes his data to lure Cooper’s team to his planet, which turns out to be inhospitable. He then tries to kill Cooper and steal his ship, endangering everyone’s lives. He also shows no remorse or gratitude for his rescuers.
The Martian shows Damon’s character as a likable and admirable hero, while Interstellar shows him as a detestable and despicable villain.
Themes: Isolation vs Connection
A third difference between The Martian and Interstellar is the themes that they explore. The Martian deals with the theme of isolation and how it affects human psychology and behavior. Watney has to cope with being alone on Mars for over a year, with no human contact except for occasional messages from Earth. He has to deal with loneliness, boredom, stress, and fear. He also has to rely on himself for everything, from growing food to fixing equipment.
Interstellar deals with the theme of connection and how it transcends time and space. Cooper has to deal with leaving his family behind on Earth, knowing that he might never see them again or that they might age faster than him due to relativity. He has to deal with guilt, regret, love, and hope. He also has to rely on others for support, from his crewmates to his daughter Murph, who plays a crucial role in solving the mystery of the wormhole.
The Martian shows how isolation can be overcome by human resilience and ingenuity, while Interstellar shows how connection can be maintained by human emotion and intuition.
Style: Humor vs Drama
A fourth difference between The Martian and Interstellar is the style that they adopt. The Martian is more humorous and lighthearted than Interstellar, which is more dramatic and serious. The Martian uses humor as a way of coping with adversity and keeping morale high. Watney often cracks jokes and makes fun of himself or his situation. He also uses pop culture references and music to entertain himself and his audience.
Interstellar uses drama as a way of conveying urgency and gravity. Cooper and his team face life-and-death situations that test their courage and loyalty. They also deal with ethical dilemmas and moral conflicts that challenge their values and beliefs. They also use scientific concepts and theories to explain their actions and decisions.
The Martian uses humor to make the audience laugh and cheer, while Interstellar uses drama to make the audience cry and think.
Conclusion: Totally Different Movies
In conclusion, The Martian and Interstellar are not related, despite some superficial similarities. They have different plots, characters, themes, and styles that make them distinct and unique. According to Matt Damon, the movies are “totally fing different” and “this is going to be fing fun”. According to Ridley Scott, the movies “do not connect in that way” and “are semantically related or have similar meaning, but they are not related in terms of plot or characters”. So, if you enjoyed one movie, you might enjoy the other, but don’t expect them to be the same. They are both great sci-fi movies that deserve your attention and appreciation.