The Martian

by

Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a survival story for the 21st Century. Astronaut, Mark Watney, played effectively by Matt Damon, is stranded on the Red Planet after the rest of his crew assumes him dead during a threatening storm. The crew abandons their mission and Watney finds himself alone.

Watney, a capable botanist, sets to about the work of survival on a planet without life. His short term goal is to stay alive. His primary objective is to get home.

Scott has a great talent at presenting authentic appearing worlds. Whether the setting is real or imagined, the present, future or past, doesn’t matter, the visuals he creates are evocative and powerful.

The Martian has a great supporting cast and Damon in particular is engaging as the stranded astronaut. But the real star of this film is the plausible presentation of science. Every innovation, every situation presented in the film feels so authentically plausible that it creates a genuine tension at every moment. Bad things happen and are overcome in a realistic way. Characters make mistakes, feel emotions and behave entirely in truthful ways. Therein lies the great power of this film – it not only looks great – but it feels entirely truthful and real, despite the fictional story presented. The only misstep is an “Iron Man” moment in the films climax which stretches credulity a little too far. Otherwise, this feels as much like a real series of events as those presented in Apollo 13.

Evocative of the human spirit of exploration and self-preservation, The Martian is entertaining from the first frame to the last.