Gravity is a recent science fiction thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. It was a financial smash and runaway critical success, garnering rave reviews across the board and seven Academy Awards. Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a 1964 sci-fi adventure starring Paul Mantee and Victor Lundin, relocating the action of the Daniel Defoe classic to the planet Mars.
Now I don't like to make unfair comparisons. After all, Gravity is a slick, big-budget movie with state-of-the-art special effects and two award-winning lead actors, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars is an 1960s movie with a cheesy title. What I mean to say is... Robinson Crusoe on Mars is way better.
Like, it's not even close.
Do you want inspirational schmaltz or a pet monkey? It's up to you.
Robinson Crusoe on Mars, however, really does take the cake, and it's one of my favorite sci-fi movies ever. The atmosphere, the sense of isolation, the compelling search for oxygen and drinking water, the wonderfully realized Martian environments, Paul Mantee's solid performance, and the capable direction of Byron Haskin all add up to the perfect late-night viewing experience. It's a bonafide classic of the genre.
"So," you may be thinking, "two good science fiction movies exist. What's the big deal?"
Well, dear inquisitive reader, allow me to inform you. Upon revisiting these two films recently, I couldn't help but draw a few rather odd parallels between them. For example...