“I’m going to have to science the shit out of this”
– Mark Watney
I have always loved movies where the protagonist is placed in unfathomable conditions and does anything to survive. I also love movies which have an intriguing plot (Duhh!) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the perfect mix in Ridley Scott’s the Martian.
The movie starts with Captain Lewis (Chastain) and her crew Johannsen (Mara), Martinez (Pena), Beck (Stan) & Watney (Damon) on an exploratory mission on Mars. Things go wrong when a sudden change of weather results in a storm on foreign terrain and Watney in a series of unfortunate events gets left behind on Mars. From being impaled by an antenna to a lack of food he goes through an incredible journey to survive.
The Martian is the movie Gravity wanted to be. Alfonso Cuaron is one of the best directors out there but Gravity just lacked on so many levels, the biggest being an interesting enough protagonist. Damon’s Watney is the all american hero in every sense of the way. He realizes the mortal peril he is in but that doesn’t curb is sense of humor. He doesn’t delve into Avengers style humor but still keeps you smiling in what could have been the saddest movie of the year. Ridley Scott proves that he is the king when it comes to realistic sci-fi.
The look of the movie left me dumbfounded. I would believe in a heartbeat that it was actually filmed on Mars if I didn’t know no man has been there. Scott, along with Nolan & Tarantino, is one of those directors who has never been afraid to throw intelligence at the audience and make us feel like intellectuals. After watching Mad Max, which is almost on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to movie making, I was pretty sure no movie was going to top that this year however this movie beats it by a mile.
The Martian paints the picture of a very recent future that is very real. Interstellar is one of my favorite sci-fi epics and the Martian comes really close. Both have Chastain & Damon giving brilliant performances but both are so dissimilar that it does not hit you for even a moment.
In the end, the Martian is about hope and survival and is a must watch.