As an accomplished scientist, Neal deGrasse Tyson has become the go-to authority on all things related to outer space - both in our world and, nowadays, in the world of cinema, too.
In what has become common practice, the latest viral trailer for Ridley Scott's The Martian - a film adaptation of Andy Weir's best-selling novel of the same name - takes us on an exposition-filled journey into the science behind the film's mission to Mars; this time, with Tyson as our guide.
Approaching the camera from a green screen rendering of the cosmos, Tyson takes the audience on a journey through the fictional history of The Martian's (fictional) Ares program. Taking place in the near future, the trailer explains how humanity has already set foot on Mars, and the film's Ares 3 crew will represent the next step in our eventual colonization. Tyson explains the technical steps involved in their journey, the cast scope of the distance covered by Ares 3, as well as the inherent dangers that go along with such an endeavor. Ultimately, however, he revels in the the pioneer spirit that has drawn us away from Earth, and out into the expanse of the universe.
The main purpose for viral trailers such as these seems to be providing audiences with necessary levels of context for the upcoming film. Aside from the newly released video, the campaign has included numerous "pre mission" logs filmed by the crew of the Ares 3, such as psychological evaluations, and tours of the Hermes spacecraft. All of this has served to bring the audience up to speed on the technical aspects of The Martian -- allowing the film to focus solely on the human drama.
The Martian's viral marketing has become a common practice Scott, as his 2012 sci-fi adventure Prometheus also used a similarly styled viral campaign to set up character Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce) and his company's passion for pushing humanity a newfound, godlike status.
Bringing in Tyson for the viral The Martian's viral campaign effectively legitimizes it for audiences. His involvement signifies an unofficial seal of approval regarding the film's scientific authenticity. It's a tactic that we have seen employed in marketing for multiple upcoming major motion pictures that feature inherently absurd or implausible science-fiction elements - such as the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice teaser trailer, which featured some voice over from Tyson. Similarly, Interstellar even got a thumbs up from Tyson for its scientific concepts.
The Martian stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kata Mara, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, among others. It will open in U.S. theaters on October 2nd, 2015.
Source: 20th Century Fox