Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Martian – review

Based on the Andy Weir novel of the same name, The Martian is a remarkably good film. Top-notch acting and a phenomenal cast make this visually appealing story fascinating to watch. The themes of hope and overcoming adversity are a minority in the science fiction genre. It is hard to not leave the theater with a sense of optimism toward humanity.

The Martian starts off in high gear with a team of astronauts are exploring the alien terrain of Mars. While there, a storm kicks up suddenly and astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is hit by debris and presumed dead. The rest of the crew leaves Mars and soon Mark discovers he is alone on a strange planet. He decides that he will not let himself die on Mars so he begins working to save himself.

Matt Damon is fantastic. He pulls off the charm and wit we have come to expect from him in past roles along with enough pathos to make his dire situation seem very real and the threat of death seem imminent.  The rest of the cast is amazing as well and I could spend all day explaining how well they did but instead I will say that at no point did I feel like anybody was phoning it in.

The shots of the Mars landscape are beautiful and the space scenes look very convincing. The theme of hope as the entire globe unites to bring astronaut Watney home is lovely and optimistic. There are moments of humor and the soundtrack favors the disco era but the movie never gets confused with its overall mood. There is a tense overtone of immanent death that is always on the planet Mars since he can never leave without a suit for protection.

If you are a fan of Moon, Silent Running, or Castaway, you will enjoy this movie. It is a lot more hopeful than those movies and shows a more optimistic look at humanity in the face of tragedy. The movie does not dumb itself down but rather seems to bring audiences along with it for the science aspects of the ride. The Martian is well paced and is worth seeing if you get the chance.