Mars! by Joe Bichard and Jack Cunningham

Mars! is a visually striking and sophisticated marriage of animation and graphic design created by Joe Bichard and Jack Cunningham at Kingston University. Sound design by Jimi Swells is also quite effective. In light of BP’s destructive behavior, the film can be read as an effective and timely allegory for how oil companies rape and pillage planetary resources without any regard for the consequences of their actions. Or maybe the filmmakers just set out to make a version of Avatar minus all the boring parts.


  • http://www.ericorchard.blogspot.com eric orchard

    Really great. I watched it with my son who’s not quite 2 and he understood when something bad was happening and when something was really cool.

  • Bill Field

    What an amazing version of Martian exploration with their leader, I believe his name was Commodore 64?

  • David Breneman

    “In light of BP’s destructive behavior, the film can be read as an effective and timely allegory for how oil companies rape and pillage planetary resources without any regard for the consequences of their actions.”

    Jeez Louise, where does a rational person start with this? Do you really think that BP employees wake up every morning asking themselves, “How can I be the most destructive? How can I rape and pillage the planet?” Maybe, just maybe, they wake up and ask, “How can I provide a valuable product to my customers around the world at an economical price?”

    And, maybe, when engineers push the boundries of technology month after month, year after year, and don’t encounter disaster, they may come to believe that they have all the problems solved. They may let their guard down and make mistakes. And, in the meantime, government officials, who generally REGULATE because they cannot DO, get complacent as well.

    Then, out of the blue, because people aren’t PERFECT, an accident happens. Maybe one person or a small group cut a corner. Maybe it’s because there was a deadline to meet, or because the weekend was coming up. Maybe someone didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Maybe, even, someone let an arrogant “suit” get away with something crazy because the economy is down and that person might lose his job for pointing it out.

    And, then, the whole thing comes crashing down. Do you think they stand around, twirling their waxed mustaches, and cackle, “Tee-Hee-Hee! We’ve achieved out evil ends, now on to our next greedy goal!” Or, maybe, do they have that sinking feeling we all have in the pits of our stomachs when we realize we’ve f***ed up, and say, “Oh my God – what am I going to do now?” Will I lose my house? Will my children disown me? Will my wife leave me? Will I become the face of disaster?

    It’s all too easy to blame greed and malevolence for the ills of the world, but the vast number of big mistakes are MISTAKES. Lets wait for the root cause analysis and lessons-learned exercises before we start labeling people as rapers and pillagers.

    BTW, is that an AUTOMOBILE I see in your driveway?

  • Scarabim

    ^This. *applause*

  • lampshade

    Don’t bother white knighting BP just because they made “mistakes”.

    They screwed up, it’s their responsibility, end of story.

  • lampshade

    On the flip-side, if I were to approach the environmentalists and say “Okay, for decades, you guys have been saying you’ve been making progress; however, the situation still keeps getting worse and worse, why is this happening?”

    I would predict all their excuses would eventually lead to, “Well, we’re too powerless.”

    If that was so, I would say “That’s too bad, it’s your job to save it.”

    It doesn’t matter how much “progress” they’ve made, because they’ve failed in the end.

    Excuses are meaningless if you want to get something done.

  • http://www.spungella.com Jean-Denis Haas

    Love the movie, great style with less is more!

    And BP, come on, that was no mistake. It’s a big corporation. Last I read, they knew about problems a year ago. It’s cheaper to pay the fine than spending what it takes to keep things safe and secure. Every now and then, the mess is so huge, that the fine (and consequences) is (are) actually worse. And yes, I’m sure there’s someone high up who doesn’t care about what happened, except how much money he lost.

  • http://mayberabies.blogspot.com Raven M.

    That… made me really sad! Found the ending trip toward Jupiter especially haunting. Really, this is my favorite kind of stuff. Animation that just kind of gut-checks you.

  • http://MBCraigMyLivesandTime.blogspot.com Mitchell Craig

    Simple, yet profound. Reminds me of a lesson I picked up reading The Martian Chronicles – man takes his baggage with him wherever he goes.

  • Jay Sabicer

    I think these guys told the story better:
    Humans by 3 Legged Legs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osUiUaNOo2s

  • http://fishsaquarium.blogspot.com antonin

    great one !

  • Chris

    Is it just me or did this resemble something David O’Reilly has previously done. The intro titles and sound effects even down to the astronauts foot stepping sound is very similar to “Please say something”.

  • http://www.pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    I agree with David Breneman. Evil people in society don’t think that they are doing evil. They’re just doing their jobs and going about their business. The fact that their businesses may have risks and consequences are the cost of doing business to be factored into the bottom line.

    Big corporations evil? No more evil than your local bistro owner who uses less than top grade ingredients in their baked goods. At what point does cutting costs and shaving corners stop being smart business and become evil?

    And to quote David Breneman: BTW, is that an AUTOMOBILE I see in your driveway?

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Amid -
    There’s another Mars playing in NY.
    A feature.
    No idea if it’s related.
    June 10th, Thursday 9:30pm

    Brooklyn Academy of Music

  • http://silverfishcloset.com David Montgomery

    Well with BP there was Alaska, Texas, Toledo, Lake Michigan, and then the Gulf ( a foreseeable risk given Ixtoc). J ust because other oil companies might have even worse safety standards I don’t think they get a pass.

    So because of that car in my driveway I think the film and any criticism of BP is fair and I’m trying to drive it less everyday.

  • Maik

    @Chris yeah it looks very influenced by Please Say Something, even the wind animation!

  • christy

    @chris and maik:
    yea-i mean its a cool film, and i don’t want to sound like a jerk but i’d go even further than ‘inspired’…the titles, the ‘wind’ the footsteps, the sound design…very very ‘inspired’ by ‘please say something’ indeed!

  • Dan

    ok so i watched this while accidentally listening to Brand New’s “welcome to bangkok” i got really excited because i thought it was the soundtrack for the clip. it works PERFECTLY, changes the vibe quite a bit, but still awesome! try it out!

  • Avro Merrick

    yeah christy…i’d love to see your animations though.

  • http://ratso.podomatic.com Carl Russo

    Actually choked up watching this film. But really, Mr. Breneman, do you believe that BP execs seek to “provide a valuable product to [their] customers around the world at an economical price?” Sucker born every minute, I guess.

    Have you not read any of the readily-available revelations about BP’s criminal past, deliberately lies, cheating, cutting corners on testing and fudging of results, baseless safety guarantees, deadly safety record, and disgusting attempts to downplay and distract from the apocalyptic disaster they have created?

    Or how the Mineral Management Service, stacked with oil industry execs, was on the take to approve drilling projects and ignore safety standards? What about the billions in bonuses BP wants to pass out for FIRST-QUARTER profits while the southern states are decimated for decades to come?

    BP put the bulk of their investments into deeper drilling and a pittance into cleanup technologies. They drilled ever deeper, relying on backup plans that failed many times before in shallower oil spills.

    CORPORATIONS DO NOT CARE. The multinationals consider natural disasters, injuries and mass deaths (Bhopal, anyone?) as the cost of doing business.

    The proof is in the black-tar pudding coating our beaches and killing our seas. No, the BP exec wakes up and says, “How much fucking money can I possibly make without getting caught?”

    Mr. Schnier kills me, too: “Evil people in society don’t think that they are doing evil. They’re just doing their jobs and going about their business.” That’s a defense? Murderers are similarly self-justified. That’s why we remove them from society.

    Really, the moral bankruptcy, lack of reason, critical laziness and willful ignorance of the libertarian mindset is incapable of recognizing the terrible truth in a work like “Mars!”

    And there’s no car in my driveway, doc.

  • http://juan-bauty.blogspot.com/ Juan Bauty

    A Masterpiece. Impressive.

  • Tom Cushwa

    Simple well done animation.

    As far as BP is concerned: They want to privatize the profits and socialize the risks. We are going to asked to clean up the mess in the end. And… the disaster is getting bigger by the second!

    Thanks Amid for making the connection.