Matt Damon plays astronaut Mark Watney in Ridley Scott’s suspenseful and spectacularly satisfying take on Andy Weir’s book of the same name.
A team of explorers cuts short their mission on Mars when a massive storm hits. Watney is struck by debris and left behind, presumed dead. Knowing it will be four years before any rescue mission reaches him (assuming he can even let NASA know he’s alive) and that his food supplies will be long gone by then, Watney promises himself: ‘I’m not going to die here!’
And so Watney employs his ‘super power’ of botany and an arsenal of MacGyveresque techniques in what seems most of the time to be an impossible quest to survive. And yet …
It’s perfect casting, with the preppy Damon perfect as warm and witty Watney. Mars might take a lot from this man, but it’s not getting his sense of humour! (And in a movie that runs to two hours and 21 minutes, this humour is an audience essential.)
While Watney grows potatoes in his own excrement and listens to disco music, back on Earth an impressive cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor set to work to manage the PR fallout of this space tragedy and (eventually) to devise a rescue plan. This leads to some glorious interactions between ‘management’ and the clever people who know how to build rocket ships and calculate space travel over vast distances when there isn’t a Tardis to hand.
The Martian reminds us that science, maths and astrophysics nerds are the coolest people. In fact, the overall message of this tale must be: pay attention in science and maths classes—your life might one day depend on it!
A must-see movie for anyone who loves a really good space flick.
Review by Christina Tyson
The Martian (2D & 3D)
Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: M (offensive language)
Run time: 2hr 21 mins