LOS ANGELES: When “Good Night Oppy,” which follows NASA’s Opportunity and Spirit rovers before and after they landed on Mars, the documentary had an unexpected effect on audiences when it premiered at film festivals in September.
Director Ryan White told Reuters, “It’s funny because I promise you we weren’t talking about how to make people cry in the editing room.
“The shocking response to this movie is like people who shyly come up to me with their hands over their mouths saying, ‘I cried about robots.'”
The film, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado in September, looks at NASA’s 2003 Mars Rover (MER) mission.
Both solar-powered rovers were expected to live only 90 days on the solar day (SOL) of Mars, but Opportunity (or Oppy) sent its last message on June 10, 2018. It lasted for over 14 years until I did.
White wanted to make the film after Opportunity’s final message, “Batteries are low and it’s getting dark,” went viral.
But it’s the film’s human characters that evoke the emotional response.
White assumed that scientists and engineers would be very academic and sober, posing the challenges of filmmaking. “I was totally wrong,” said White.
“When we met the human characters, it was an embarrassment of wealth. These are the people who live day to day to do what we dreamed of doing as kids…and It’s not just a job for them.It’s the daughter of Mars, as many see her.”
One of the main comparisons moviegoers have made is that Rover is eerily similar to Pixar Studio’s animated character Wall-E. That movie was released in 2008 after the rover landed.
“I think comparisons are inevitable when you’re documenting a little robot that’s alone on a planet,” White said.
“There’s something very emotionally adorable about that idea.” Currently showing in select US theaters, “Good Night Oppy” will begin streaming on Amazon on November 23rd.
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/good-night-oppy-about-nasas-rover-mission-may-make-you-cry-3092691 ‘Goodnight Oppy’ about NASA’s rover mission might make you cry