Based on Andy Weir’s hit novel, “The Martian” chronicles an exploratory mission to Mars that goes horribly wrong. Ridley Scott directs the sci-fi film, with Matt Damon stars as an astronaut left accidentally left on Mars, with an ensemble cast of Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Bridges, and Sebastian Stan, trying to save his life.
“The Martian” begins with a team on the planet Mars, joking around and studying samples of the planet, when a terrible storm hits. During the Chaos, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney is knocked unconscious and his team is forced to leave him behind, fearing he’s dead. When Watney wakes up, he realizes he’s been left behind, and is forced to try and find a way to survive on the desolate planet. After contacting Earth, his team tries to figure out a way to save their teammate and friend, without killing everyone else.
“The Martian” does the daunting task of telling a story with many small intricate details in a short amount of time. While the book has many pages to fill up with science and formulas, the film doesn’t have the time, and needs to keep audiences entertained, which it does.
The film does a magnificent job of making you root for the characters in the film, something many films fail to do. The emotion provoking storyline even being tear-jerking at times, (ironic considering the film was considered a comedy at the golden globes) and the science isn’t too “out-of-this-world,” which help the film be not only likable for general audiences, but begs the question, “Could this happen one day?”
The cast is a true ensemble, with no one other than Matt Damon sticking out ahead of the others. All the characters get their small time in the spotlight and deliver when necessary. The script is also quite precise and does a great job of keeping the details general, and does a good job explaining the complicated science behind space travel. While the special effects are beautiful at times, even on the desolate planet of Mars.
It seems films set in space are becoming prime awards contenders, with 2013’s “Gravity” and 2014’s “Interstellar” not only racking up box office stats, but also performing well in the awards circuit. With “The Martian” looking to repeat the same pattern at the Oscars, (it is the 3rd most nominated film) it’ll be interesting to see if space movies can further break away from being classified as “genre” films in the future.