“Help is only 140 million miles away.”
“The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott, is the story of Mark Watney who is presumed dead by his crewmembers and left behind on Mars after a storm hits. It is up to Watney to, “science the shit of it,” and work his way to grow food, find power and hopefully contact NASA so he might find his way home.
The Martian shines in so many places it is hard to count.
Matt Damon (Watney) is able to really show off what an incredible actor he is. He takes on the impossible task of carrying this movie with the majority of the scenes relying on him alone on Mars. He keeps a video log, which serves more of a purpose than just exposition and actually feels like a glimpse into Watney’s mind.
Science never takes a back seat in this movie. Despite the movie taking place in an unspecified near future, the whole endeavor is very genuine and does not back down from using lofty concepts. The director breaks down the concepts in a way that makes sense for the characters and the audience so we do not get left behind or taken out of the movie.
“The Martian” is uplifted by a loaded supporting cast including Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Donald Glover and countless more actors that give a more than acceptable performance to move the plot along.
The whole movie is meticulously crafted to give genuine humor to contrast the gripping suspense. Nobody feels safe in this movie. And just because they are an important actor or character, it never feels as though you know they will make it out alive.
The scenes on Earth can seem to be less interesting than those of Watney on Mars, however it makes sense for the story and overall craft of the movie.
Lastly, the visuals of this movie are nothing to bat an eye at. The desolate surface of Mars is not just a blank desert; it has craters and mountains and like the rest of the movie, is somehow perfectly placed to obtain exactly what the director wants- amazement and wonder.
It is amazing that this movie actually was not a true story. The Martian somehow makes you believe that this happened. Great performances, visuals and suspense make this one of the best space or isolation movies in recent memory.