The Martian

Published on October 2nd, 2015

Grade: A+

One of my most anticipated films of the year The Martian hit theaters this weekend. It’s the latest from director Ridley Scott, and you guessed it, it’s a space film. However The Martian is so much more than just another space film, in fact it’s easily the best film I have seen this year.

The Martian wastes no time putting us on Mars with the Crew of the Ares 3. Our group of 6 Astronauts led by commander Lewis, played by the endlessly talented Jessica Chastain, are about 18 Sol’s (or days) into their mission when the mission goes sideways thanks to a big storm and they are forced to evacuate. However in that process Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by a dislodged satellite and they lose all vital stats on him. Assuming he is dead and a loss, thew crew reluctantly boards their escape ship and heads out.

Sol 19 comes and we find that Watney is not dead, and now stranded on Mars. He now is on a mission to figure out how to survive long enough to meet up with the Ares 4 crew that will be landing in another area of the Red planet almost 2 years later. While also making an effort to contact NASA and let them know that he is alive and in need of rescue.

Making way for the story that takes place on earth as NASA scrambles to handle the revelation from every angle. What to do to save him, how to handle the PR nightmare, and at what point to tell the crew of the Ares 3. A great opportunity for wonderful scenes led by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor who is working his hardest to come up with a way to bring Watney home. Kristen Wiig’s character trying to handle the PR nightmare of leaving an astronaut on Mars, and Jeff Daniels trying to be the voice of reason and not risk more lives.

Much of the film is shot as Watney doing video diaries, and if you’re even semi familiar with the book, you would know it’s written like journal entries. So it makes sense, and it adds a light air to what could be a depressing and dire film. When it’s not the video diaries, it’s your regular cinematic style film, and it’s not all Mars. However the Mars stuff looks great. They didn’t go overboard with a red filter or anything silly like former Mars films have tried to use. I love Ridley Scott for his use of practical effects, and this film is no different. Much of it was clearly shot on desert landscapes and sets that are built to look like a space ship or a housing unit on Mars.

It’s a no brainier that the film is made with quality. Quality actors, director, sets, film makers and editors. The Story in this film is no different. Writer Andy Weir did created an amazing book and Drew Goddard adapted the screenplay for it flawlessly. I have a big feeling that this film is going to be up for several oscar nominations, and deservedly so.

The story is the real reason you should go see this film. On the surface it looks like it could be a sad film. It’s anything but. Ridley Scott strikes a home run. While Watney is faced with many challenges that would make anyone want to give in and give up. He doesn’t, he never gives up. The story shows resilience and the human spirit to survive. The story gives us hope. I would compare it to Apollo 13, except this film is based on fiction.

The Martian is a great film that should be seen in theaters. Don’t wait for it to come to home video. Go see it now, experience it on the big screen. The run time is long, but it will fly by and you’ll leave the theater feeling better than you did when you went in.


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