Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, The Martian is a wonderful mix of thrilling intergalactic antics, space travel, and technology. It’s suspenseful, engaging, with just the right amount of humor sprinkled in.
Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is a NASA astronaut, who, when thought dead by his crew during an emergency evacuation, finds himself stranded on the desolate planet that is Mars. Watney’s first challenge is to let his people know he’s alive.
That in and of itself is a daunting task, but once completed you realize the real challenge is just beginning. As his team back on earth begin to work tirelessly to formulate and execute a rescue mission, Watney must utilize all of his skills, resources, and will to survive until help arrives. Which is years away.
The movie bears witness to our favorite botanist as he finds he needs to “science the sh** out” of his seemingly hopeless predicament. Despite the fact that help is 140 million miles away, our lonely spaceman does his best to fight hopelessness and make the most of his situation. In doing so, he takes us along an informative, somewhat stressful, and yet entertaining ride of self-help innovations.
Meanwhile, mission control must navigate their own plethora of issues, ranging from the geopolitical down to the practical details. There is no question that everyone wants to rescue Watney, but real questions about money, time, and technicality are prevalent throughout the entirety of the film.
The Martian tackles the challenge of having the focus of the film on one man who is stranded on a red dusty planet exceptionally well. Damon shines in all of his solo scenes, utilizing the ingenious form of talking through his situation by way of video diaries. He also manages to make math and science fascinating, as he faces each problem with creative solutions. These include growing potatoes from his own waste, converting hydrazine into water, and MacGyvering the technology to communicate with mission control.
The supporting cast, constructed of a diverse crew, do a phenomenal job in supplementing the main story while showcasing the guilt, uncertainty, and strategic planning that is brought on by forgetting one of their own.
The Martian doesn’t attempt to be unique in its story plot, but rather, focuses its efforts in providing unexpected solutions to a somewhat predictable plotline, which in turn makes the movie a masterful entertainment piece. Directed by Ridley Scott and adapted by Drew Goddard, the movie is delivered with a superior script, breathtaking videography, and excellent acting. The use of real science throughout the film adds a level of authenticity that would otherwise be lacking.
It’s a story about human connection, the brilliance of one man’s ingenuity, and of course, of space. So whether you have a family movie night approaching, are in need of some R&R, or are simply wanting to sit back with friends for a fun night, this is the movie for you. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the film that is The Martian.