Based on the novel by Andy Weir, The Martian is an intense science fiction film. With a brilliant cast and a gut-wrenching story that adheres fairly close to the original material, this movie is a bold and entertaining watch. It keeps you guessing what will happen next (though if you’ve read the book you’ll already know), and it manages to keep the audience up to speed with the complicated science.
Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is part of a team expedition in the middle of a manned mission on Mars. When an unexpected powerful storm forces the crew to abandon their objective on the red planet, Watney is stranded and presumed dead on the Martian soil. However, Mark survives and is left to live alone on the desolate planet. With no communication, reliable food supply, and companionship, Mark Watney must find a way to both establish contact with NASA and create a long-lasting food source if he ever hopes of making it back home to Earth.
One of the things that was really nice to see in the movie was the compelling story that the main character endures. While some parts differ from the original narrative, most of the key moments are carried over into the film. You really get a feel for what Mark is going through, and Matt Damon absolutely nails his character. It takes the wild question of a man being left on Mars, and delivers a thrilling answer.
Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the rest of the cast also help contribute lots of great character interaction and further develop the story as it progresses. Each plays an important role in the quest to save Watney, and each plays off of each others’ personalities very well. They all also do a splendid job of clearly explaining the math, science, and physics behind every glaringly intimidating obstacle. As a viewer, you never feel lagging or left behind trying to figure out how they solved a problem.
Another thing that absolutely shines in this movie is the beautiful cinematography. Filmed in Budapest, the landscape and photography truly capture what it would be like to be on another planet. It’s mysterious, vibrant, and fascinating whenever we see Watney venture out into the dangerous environment.
This movie is a fantastic addition to the science fiction genre. It meshes together great story telling with great characters that never gets boring. It’s genuinely humorous at times, and is almost perfectly paced for any movie-goer. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting a unique and fresh take on a very possible scenario in the realm of space exploration.