The Martian

The Martian, based on the best selling novel by Andy Weir, is by far one the best movies of 2015. It’s also one of the geekiest and nerdiest film of the year, but don’t let that put you off because Ridley Scott makes sure to take his viewers on a ride of a life time

On the planet Mars, an intense storm forces the crew to return to their ship. Mark Watney (a star turn from Matt Damon) is hit by some debris and is thrown off course. The rest of the crew, presuming him dead, leave Mars. It’s only later we find out that Mark is indeed alive. Proclaiming himself to be the “botanist of the year,” Mark uses his intelligence and scientific knowledge to survive on the planet, where literally there is no water.

In one of the best lines in the movie, Watney says “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this!” This forms the highlight of the movie, where we see Mark use his knowledge and expertise to produce water, grow food, communicate with NASA and survive, all with the help of 70s disco music salvaged from the container of one of his crew members. (Do stay till the end of the movie to hear one of the highlight of 70s disco music!)

At the same time, we also follow the situation at NASA headquarters, where we see the head of NASA, the media spokesperson, the mission director and others in the control room. Once they establish contact with the stranded astronaut on Mars, they come up with a plan to send a supply of goods and a rescue team to bring him back.

I need not get into what all happens, but the 2 hours plus keeps you engrossed and entertained enough.

It was the last third of the movie that completely captivated me. I wanted to grab someone’s arm in sheer panic. I was full of tension. I wanted him to be rescued safely. Will or will not our astronaut of the year, Mark Watney, also known as The Martian, ever return to Earth? For that you shall have to watch the movie my friends.

Why is The Martian a massive hit? Why are people loving this movie?

  1. Matt Damon is incredible. He single handedly carries the movie. You believe in him. You root for him. You panic for him. You want him to be saved.
  2. The research is so well handled, at times, it felt like as if this is a true story. Weir, the author has done some massive research and so it all seems plausible. You keep on wondering how Mark Watney will survive, and you see him do something making you wonder why you didn’t think of that in the first place. Then a lightbulb goes on and you have an a-ha moment. You enjoy the scientific jargon, the formulas, the tech-talk. It’s just so geeky.
  3. The humor. A movie like this could have fallen into the likes of Gravity or Interstellar, with all it’s seriousness, but it doesn’t. To off-set the seriousness of the situation, Ridley Scott infuses humor, which keeps the tension bearable. Check out the Lord of the Rings cheeky reference (Project Elrond!)
  4. The theme. Much like Tom Hanks in Castaway and Sandra Bullock in Gravity, we follow the same theme that we are not meant to be alone. Despite being thrown into a precarious, life threatening situation, the human spirit is resilient and strong enough to fight and survive. Inspirational stuff.
  5. The supporting actors. Many recognizable faces, and all play their part so well. Kirsten Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Kata Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor among others.
  6. The 3D. The Mars landscape will have you believe you are actually there on the red planet. The space scenes will have you immersed into space. Scott uses the 3D technology so effectively, it enhances the viewing experience.

It’s interesting to know that with the recent discovery of water on Mars, NASA is pushing for this movie, piquing the interest of moviegoers world over thrusting The Martian straight to number one spot.

The Martian is a wonderful movie, to be seen on the big screen and in 3D to fully enjoy the experience. I would not be surprised if this movie is seen all over around awards time.

5 out 5

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