Pod 9 From Outer Space – Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Nick

It’s another episode of pod9 from outer space.

Liz

Cue the music!

Opening music.

LIZ

A lone US astronaut pitted against all the odds beyond this earth.

NICK

Robinson Crusoe ON EARTH. No, on Mars. Robinson Crusoe on Mars.

LIZ

I will admit they did what they said on the tin in this one.

NICK

Yes, although is he called Robinson?

LIZ

No he’s called Chris Draper which is the name of someone we know which is weird.

NICK

It is weird. It is certainly a Robinson Crusoe story on what we call that happy red orb.

LIZ

Although I think it’s better than the original Robinson Crusoe cause he has a monkey friend.

NICK

He does have a monkey friend.

LIZ

Mona played by Barney the Wooly Monkey.

NICK

MVP. Monkey Valuable Player.

LIZ

I don’t know why they decided to give him a monkey. I suppose someone to talk to beside from an internal monologue.

NICK

When you say they, do yuo mean-

LIZ

The filmmakers. The film reason for the monkey is we put monkeys into space for experiments.

NICK

And sometimes because we feel like it.

LIZ

And he is friends with Mona.

NICK

He has a touching friendship that transcends species.

LIZ

It also feels like he has someone to talk to who isn’t going to be an extra character – I don’t see why he had the monkey why he couldn’t have just had a log or anything.

NICK

It does come in handy later on when he’s looking for sources of water and things like that the monkey is able to – he doesn’t seem to be wanting any water from him so he knows there’s another source somewhere.

LIZ

That’s true she’s a lot more adventurous than he is he jusyt kind of hangs out in his cavfe waiting for death and she goes I’m going to find some food cause I’m a monkey.

NICK

I’m just gonna roll with it.

LIZ

Probably doesn’t know she’s in space.

NICK

Probably not – she went in a wobbly building for a while and she’s out again. That’s what spaceships are – wobbly buildings.

LIZ

She might think she’s in a postapocalyptic story monkeys don’t have a concept of being on a differnet planet she’s gone into an enclsoed space and now she’s out and it’s all barren.

NICK

Maybe that’s why they sent mona in to space how are you going to vibe with thids will you vibe at all will there be no vibes cause space ia a vacuum and therefor edevoid of vibes.

LIZ

Speaking of vaccums though I find it interesting they gave mars enough atmosphere that Mona’s fine but the astronaut isn’t fine. So we’re not worried about Mona at any point, and frankly we’re more worried about the monkey than the human, cause he doesn’t have any characterisation aside from later when he’s really racist to this alien guy – I know we’re on mars and I could learn your language, but I’ll make you speak english.

NICK

We’re on mars, buddy – speak english.

LIZ

Yeah, it’s like I feel it owuld be more useful considering he’s expecting some sort of rescue at some point, learning this alien language.

NICK

It’s a first contact scenario and you don’t want to laern about another species… (pained) why?

LIZ

Possibly cause it’s made in the 60s.

NICK

(pained, higher)

Why?

LIZ

And it’s based on quite racist source material itself, so does what it says on the tin..

NICK

Yeah, we were just relieved that the monkey wasn’t a replacement for Friday.

LIZ

We thought it would be especially when she finds the water. But we come across someone from one group of aliens who have been enslaved by another group of aliens but he escaped. Their response isn’t let’s leave him on that barren rock to die but let’s send mujlutuple spaceships to shoot him.

NICK

Well of course. Why wouldn’t you?

LIZ

I do’nt understand.

NICK

Just a sign they care.

LIZ

It would have just been so much cheaper to leave him on mars and assume mars would kill him. It’s got the atmosphere where he can’t survive more than a few hours.

NICK

He’s just a corking guy.

LIZ

But he did steal tablets that let him breathe on Mars. But eventually they would have run out – so again from the perspective of the slaver aliens, they’re idiots.

NICK

He’s the only one who can assemble flatpack furniture, and all their furniture is from IKEA and they amde the mistake of getting it all from Stockholm, and he’s the only one who can read Swedish.

LIZ

He does speak Swedish, but we don’t find out.

NICK

It wasn’t relevant to Chris Draper’s journey.

LIZ

What if he wasn’t speaking an alien language, what if he was speaking Swedish?

NICK

Well, no-one knows what Swedish sounds like, so could be. Could be. In terms of performances, up until Friday came along I was rooting for the astronaut – he had a casual chatty manner that you get in castaway films.

LIZ

Then as soon as the alien guy shows up, I can’t remember if he has a name?

NICK

Yeah, just Friday – played by Victor Lundin.

LIZ

He calls him Friday cause he’s read Robinson Crusoe.

NICK

Such imagination.

LIZ

I forgot what I was saying –

NICK

We were saying we liked the main character before Friday shows up-

LIZ

Oh yeah, he says you will speak English and obey everything at all times. you know he escpaed from slavery, yo’uer the worst..

NICK

I wish Mona had fixed up the spaceship and left. This would have been satisfying for a moral reason and also cause it would be awesome. And then reveals that this whole ti9me Mona was from a far more intelligent alien race, hiding in secret on earth.

LIZ

And it turns into planet of the apes.

NICK

(monkey leader voice)

I am Mona, ruler of my kind, and I deem you unworthy.

LIZ

The worst part of Draper and FRiday'[s interaction though is when Friday rescues him near the end which I think also happens in RC, spoielrs for a 301 year old book – the oldset spiler we’ve done – oh you’ve rescued me, now let’s get back to you working for me, which like I can’t work out if it’s meant to be a redemption that he’s meant to be less mean to him now, but I guess 60s.

NICK

One thing that really weighs it down – it being made in the 60s and based on a racist thing doesn’t help – is that the source is based on a large body of embellished travfel literature starting a few cenuries earlier starting with people like Nashe – I went to the new world and everyone was savage and bad and weird and people started to exaggerate more and embellish more to become more popular and –

LIZ

You get the noble savage trope, which feeds into robinson crusoe. This one’s nice, the others don’t like him cause he’s nice.

NICK

as a sidenote I spent the whole time thinking of Foe by JM Coetzee which reteells ti from the perspective of it was a woman who crashed on this island and had a more sympathetic relationship with Friday who then told her story to this author who turned into this whole other thing.

LIZ

That sounds far too believable.

NICK

I couldn’t do this episode without mentioning it.

LIZ

I’d rather have that, that’s more interesting.

NICK

Foe on Mars? It sounds like a bad translation of a bad Italian sci-fi film. Which I now want to exist.

LIZ

Yeah, I’d watch it, but I think this podcast has proven there’s nothing I won’t watch.

Plugs!

LIZ

Adam West is in this. Mostly as a nightmare zombie.

NICK

For the most part, yes. It’s a more restrained performance I feel than some of his others. Having said that, I don’t want to rag on him – the 60s batman stuff is supposed to be comedy.

LIZ

The 60s batman stuff is amazing.

NICK

I find it funny just tangentially that people say I can’t believe they tried to do that – it’s the decade Star Trek and Doctor Who came out – people knew how to do serious genre stuff back then. They were going for comedy.

LIZ

Yeah, whereas this was trying for serious, and ended up not. The problem is you just care about the monkey.

NICK

if you want to make me care about the humans You solve that by swapping the roles and put adam west in the lead. Adam west could act opposite a monkey and make me care about both of them.

Liz

Adam west is good in serious stuff. Or is it was?

Nick

I think he’s alive, he’s guest starred in recent stuff.

Liz

It’s was, 2017.

Nick

RIP. What a guy. I enjoyed the background art of this.

Liz

There’s very good matte paintings. I was saying it’ stacky but I’d love to have matte paintings as prints – obviously some star wars stuff, but also the water pools where they spend a lot of time in this if you’re ever seen red sandstone it’s like that. I doj’nt know how common it is, but it looked a lot like red sandstone valleys it’s beautiful.

Nick

I think one thing I like the idea of is getting it as wallpaper so it can go across a big area.

Liz

That’s so tacky and not in a fun way.

Nick

That’s why you only put it in your home cinema.

Liz

Ah because it’s dark most of the time. It’s certinaly a concept.

Nick

A good concept.

Liz

(high)

Is it?

nick

(higher)

I think so?

liz

(even higher)

I dunno?

nick

(highest)

I dunno either?

NICK

Actually I haven’t even mentioned the whole very thorough scientific way he goes about trying to survive – learning there’s oxygen in the rocks, burning them u-p to get stuff when he’s not edespraing he’s learning how the world works.

LIZ

It’s true he’s making notes and making fun of the NASA scientists on video saying that’s not how it works at all you idiots

NICK

We understand water on Mars might be scarce- oh really? Well done professor. In that voice.

LIZ

Pretty much.

NICK

There’s a specific thing he does when he tries to follow MOna, he gives he ra salty crakcer so she’ll immedaitely want to go off and find her water source that’s how he works it out that’s a good strategvy on the hwole do what the animals do cause they spend a lot of time thinknig about how not to die.

LIZ

Mona spends none of the time yelling at NASA.

NICK

Yeah, she could’ve done, but…

LIZ

We don’t see her for a lot of it cause she’s off with the water maybe she’s got it out of her system by that time.

NICK

She got a payphone and called collect to cape canaveral.

LIZ

We know MAslow’s pyramid is food, water, shelter, yelling at NASA.

NICK

I often yell at NASA whether it’s warranted or not. (stage whisper) it’s always warranted (normal)those clowns at NASA, what are they doing, oh you’re sending a tube up into the sky? Trying to get into space? Like that even exists.

LIZ

What did we learn?

NICK

I learned you should follow the mjonkeys. Always follow htye monkeys.

LIZ

I learned you shouldn’t adapt Robinson Crusoe unless you’re going to do some sort of interesting commentary on racism.

NICK

Yeah, like FOe.

LIZ

It doesn’t get many camp points – tis’ pretty well done and a pretty grounded story even if that ground is red.

NICK

I really like seeing grounded space stories. I feel like there’s a scale and it lands closer to Gravity than to Interstellar.

LIZ

We were discussing not sure if ti’s an established thing or not but I’d call this low SF, like low fantasy – it’s not a big space fight, it’s a story that happens to take place on Mars.

NICK

Cause that’s the current milieu. Are you judging me for saying milieu?

LIZ

No more than usual.

NICK

What do we think for the next film?

LIZ

I think I might go for one of my favourites. One of Clint Eastwood’s first performances. Tarantula. I shall tease it with one of my favourite lines (american accent) hey, isn’t that an isotope?

NICK

We’ll see you then.

Closing music.

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