Ever since I heard that Ridley Scott was involved in the making of The Martian, I was ecstatic. Having read Andy Weir’s novel, which The Martian is based on, I knew this film would be nothing but entertaining. And, in all honesty, it was even better than I expected.
The Martian explores the life of Mark Watney (Matt Damon) after he is stranded on Mars by NASA (who, along with Andy Weir, were used as consultants in the making of the film in order to stay true to the book and illustrate realistic depictions of space travel) due to unforeseen circumstances, and shows his attempts to survive on an inhabitable planet while waiting for help to arrive.
The film takes on a Robinson Crusoe-esque theme in which Watney uses nothing but wit, humor, and hope to overcome the challenges that cross his path, from rationing food to creating avenues of communication to contact NASA and for his own survival. Damon’s portrayal of Watney’s character is simply magnificent and is, without doubt, one of his finest performances to date. However, most of the credit goes to the movie’s setting—Mars. The bleak landscape built in the set enhances Watney’s feelings of loneliness and claustrophobia.
Scott has once again been able to redefine the science fiction genre with his signature style of allowing the audience to feel a sense of appreciation for the beauty of space and a simultaneous sense of fear that it can be life-threatening. The Martian has an ensemble cast consisting of Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, and Chiwetel Ejiofor each delivering a commendable performance.
The timing of this film’s release makes it a perfect companion to what is currently going on in science and astronomy news. The film explores the concept of manned missions to Mars and researching more about the conditions of the planet. Elon Musk’s idea of the colonization of Mars has been a hot topic recently and he explicitly states that in order for humans to survive, we must explore Mars as an option. The shocking discovery of liquid water on Mars and the contributions of a fellow U of T student, Rebecca Ghent, towards the Mars Rover that is scheduled to land in 2020 serves as a reminder of how science continues to progress and explore the unknowns of outer space.
The Martian is without a doubt one of the best thrillers of 2015 and is guaranteed to keep your eyes locked on the silver screen. So if you are eager to know whether NASA is actually able to bring Mark Watney back home, grab your 3D glasses and head to your nearest cinema.