I went to the Irish première of The Martian and from two seats over I heard a girl ask her boyfriend “is this based on a true story?” I’m going to just assume she was blown away by the ‘realness’ of the movie rather than question her intelligence !
Director Ridley Scott has brought us such movie masterpieces as Gladiator, Alien and Blade Runner. He has also treated us to the likes of Black Hawk Down and Thelma & Louise. Based on the book of the same name by Andy Weir, Scott is back with his latest movie The Martian starring Matt Damon. He plays Mark Watney, an astronaut and botanist left behind on Mars when his team abandon the planet after a storm hits.
Alone and abandoned on Mars with little food and no way to make contact Mark must come to terms with the gravity (see what I did there) of his situation and use every bit of ingenuity he can to survive. I was a little sceptical that a movie over two hours long (1.41 mins) about a man lost in space might drag a little; but I’m happy to report it does nothing of the sort.
Using his botanist knowledge and a whole load of human waste (eek) he manages to cultivate a crop of potatoes to help him survive until the next mission is due to return four years later. Of course everything that can, does go wrong and his crop is wiped out. Its Mark’s upbeat humour, a central character trait, that keeps him pushing forward and tackling one problem at a time, whilst of course entertaining us no end.
At the same time Mark is making his plans on Mars, including heading to another land site where he hopes to find a communications device, a team on the ground have come to the conclusion that he is still alive by tracking movement on the surface of the planet. Back on Earth the (inter) stellar cast includes Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders the Director of NASA, Sean Bean as Mitch Henderson the flight director and Chiwetel Ejofor as Vincent Kapoor NASA’s Director of Mars missions.
Initially they keep the news of Mark being alive from his former space crew while they work out how best to handle the situation. After evaluating all options and working together with an extended team of experts they hatch an outlandish (yet doable) rescue mission to bring Mark home.
It’s been a while since I considered a movie a ‘blockbuster’ (Everest didn’t quite cut it for me) but The Martian for me fits it perfectly. Its big, its bold, its epic and its bloody funny and entertaining too. There’s also a fun disco inspired soundtrack running through the movie which keeps the mood light. I’m giving it it 4 out of 5. Check out the trailer below.