A new film set on Mars taps into the quintessential American story, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary.
After the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel to outer space in 1961, Nikita Khrushchev remarked, “Gagarin flew into space, but didn’t see any god there.” The Soviets would not pass up an opportunity to deride religion, even though, reportedly, Gagarin himself was a Russian Orthodox Christian.
Americans, by contrast, are the sort of people who need to go to Mars to find God. Director Ridley Scott’s critically-acclaimedblockbuster film The Martian, based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, taps into this idea, the quintessential American theme of the great frontier and the aspiration for the transcendent that it signifies.
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