The Martian Movie Review
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Oscar Wins: No wins.
Other Nominations: Best Actor (Matt Damon), Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture
Based on the best-selling book of the same name, The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who is lost during a storm on Mars and left for dead by his crew. With any type of help literally millions of miles away, Watney is forced to put his skills and know-how to the test and figure out how to survive on a planet that does not sustain life.
The cool thing about this movie is that it doesn’t only answer the big questions – like how do you create food and water with the bare essentials around you, but what do you do if your helmet cracks? How do you survive the loneliness of being the only person on Mars? How do you find it in yourself to not give up?
As luck would have it, Watney is a trained botanist and is able to turn his bunker into a greenhouse where he grows several potato plants to help keep him alive. When he’s not in his garden, Watney is conversing with himself or his digital diary (aka the audience) about his mental health and the state of his situation.
Back home, the director of NASA (Jeff Daniels) comes to discover that Mark Watney is indeed alive and alone on Mars, just after he organized a very public memorial for the astronaut thought to be dead. With a team made up of various scientists, PR executives and head-honchos, the NASA group quickly begins figuring out how to bring Watney home safe…and alive.
Despite the stress of the situation, The Martian still seems to find the humor in everything. Watney’s wisecracking jokes are just the comic relief we need to cope with his situation and the blunder and folly that takes place at NASA headquarters almost feels like an office workplace comedy. While this movie worked hard to be as scientifically accurate as possible, it also didn’t take itself too seriously, which really gave it a warm and almost relaxed feel.
Is The Martian predictable? YUP. But most castaway movies are, aren’t they? This is a story about man vs. nature, about the will to survive. And in movies like this, the lesson remains the same: