Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir and directed by Ridley Scott (Alien), during a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is assumed dead after an epic storm, and left behind on Mars by his crew. Unknowingly to the crew, Watney beat the odds and survived finding himself alone and marooned on the vicious and unpredictable red planet. With only limited supplies, he must draw upon his intelligence, wit and willpower to think of a way to get a message to NASA saying that he is alive. One hundred and forty million miles away, NASA and a group of international scientists are working consistently day in and day out to bring Watney home, while his crewmates simultaneously plot a daring, if not suicidal, rescue mission. As these anecdotes of incredible bravery unfold, the world joins together to pray for Mark Watney’s safe return.
What can I say? Mark Watney is one hell of botanist and mechanical engineer. Watney is sarcastic, smug and cocky but you can’t help but like him. He had to the science the shit out of everything. Every decision he made, every step he’d take, had the ability to kill him or keep him alive a bit longer. What gets me is that throughout the whole movie, Watney doesn’t seem, not a tiny little bit fazed. I mean, your crew have left you on Mars all alone after watching you “die”in a very hostile storm and he’s watching reruns of Happy Days. What gives? You’ve been left alone and you’ve had to grow your own food on a planet that is uninhabited with no known water supply. He’s smiling and making the best of a very bad situation but he’s surviving. I can’t really blame him. He’s told himself that he’s probably going to die here so you may as well make the run up to your demise a happy one.
Damon (Bourne) is witty and intelligent as Watney, but ridiculously optimistic as well for someone who is slowly walking towards death’s door. Damon is a brilliant actor and I think this is his career best, after Jason Bourne of course. He is a one man show in this movie. It’s an easy-going science fiction movie, for someone who is marooned on another planet. Much of the time, Damon has this childish charm, as if Christmas has come early. That’s what I like about him, even with unwinnable odds, he still believes he can survive and get home. The cast is stellar. Jeff Daniels has just walked out the studio of The Newsroom with Donald Glover from Community, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), Benedict Wong (Marco Polo), Kristen Wiig (How To Train Your Dragon), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier) and Michael Pena fresh off the set from Ant-Man. Also Kate Mara from the box office bomb, The Fantastic Four despite her ability to make jokes about the movie in interviews. We also had Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones). Oh and he didn’t die. There’s a first time for everything. I bet he was annoyed he didn’t have spectacular badass death scene like he does in all of his movies and television shows.
The one thing you can guarantee from Scott is that he always delivers. He has created a gripping sci-fi flick. Other than Damon’s one man show, Ridley Scott has delivered a true spectacle that is visually stunning in more ways than one. Another visual feast and it’s utterly sublime brimming with colors and not just orange. This goes from the sandstorms of the red planet to the NASA headquarters back in America and even the scenes on the ship and shots of Earth from space. You can tell that this is movie is made by a seasoned filmmaker and that this isn’t his first rodeo. This is Ridley Scott, a big name in cinema and I await his next project with haste. There are parts that make you laugh, cry and other parts where you are on the precipice of your seat.
“My team must have thought I was dead. But, I’m alive. Surprise!”
It doesn’t take much for films of this nature to turn from a fun sci-fi flick into political propaganda. Scott has kept his scope purely on sci-fi. There is in only one mention of politics in the whole movie where Ejiofor’s Vincent Kapoor urges Jeff Daniel’s Teddy Sanders to capitalize on the public’s reaction to Watney’s death to fund a rescue mission to Mars. Kapoor is right to do this because Watney would be forgotten. Unfortunately, he would just be another astronaut that died whilst on the job. This movie thrives on its humor and the will that one man has, to survive and beat the odds. I am glad it didn’t turn political because that is what separates this movie from others of its ilk. Lots of space films get political from the get go. The Martian doesn’t, it focuses entirely on the mission and the mission is to save Watney from the hostility of Mars and Lewis’ horrific 80s disco music. I loved the soundtrack but Watney’s hate towards Lewis’ (Jessica Chastain) disco music is comical and the score by Harry Gregson-Williams was also awesome.
Michael Pena’s performance is a more serious one yet he still plays the fun-loving character he did in Ant-Man, just without all the dramatic story-telling. I love Michael Pena in any role. He’s great to watch and is getting some great gigs. I first saw Kate Mara in 127 Hours, House Of Cards and then in American Horror Story on FX. She is getting some good roles as well. Then she did the travesty that is Fantastic Four but as an actor you have to do some trash before you get the good roles. My introduction to Sebastian Stan wasn’t through Marvel, it was in ABC’s Once Upon A Time as The Mad Hatter. This guy could play the Joker. He’s also a great talent. I need not talk about Jessica Chastain. Two Oscar nominations, three BAFTA nominations and three Golden Globe nominations (one win). Need I say more?
The movie has lots of heart and spirit. It’s emotional and fun to watch yet serious and has great effects but I’d also urge people to watch this in 3D. It’s witty and incredibly well-written. I’d definitly watch this again at the cinema and then on DVD and BluRay when they are released. Also, I’d also say this movie has the potential to be nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and a few of the behind the scenes categories such as cinematography, sound and music at the Oscars 2016. We’ve still got three months left of 2015 but I’d say this is my favorite movie so far. There’s still plenty of more movies that have the potential to surpass Ridley Scott’s The Martian.