Movie Review – The Martian (2015)


Movie Synopsis:

Botanist, engineer, and astronaut Mark Watney is on the surface of Mars with his crewmates when the mission is suddenly aborted due to serious weather conditions that arise on the planet. But when he is thrown away from the group in the storm, the crew is forced to leave him for dead and evacuate the surface. However, Watney is not dead, and must now find a way to survive for the next 4 years, until the next Mars mission arrives, when he only has limited food and water, and has no contact with the departing ship and Earth.

Movie Review:

Based on the successful sci-fi thriller of the same name, this action packed movie was fantastic in many respects.

Firstly, the writing in the film was quite exceptional, with a good job in bringing to the screen the novel penned by Andy Weir.  Because the novel itself was somewhat introspective and a lot of it was narrated by Watney through mission logs, not all of the dialogue, scientific description, and humour from Watney necessarily got brought forward into the film.  At times it felt kind of unfortunate because we may not have gotten the entire sense of who Watney was as a character.  However, that being said, screenwriter Drew Goddard does a fairly good job illustrating Watney and some of his key character traits, including the humour and the closeness he feels with his cremates.  Goddard also does a nice job illustrating some of the connections and the plot and humour points between other characters as well.

Secondly, the direction in this film by Ridley Scott is phenomenal.  The visual effects, especially of Mars, are astonishing. One wishes we could see more shots of the red planet in this film actually, because when we do see the vistas, it is incredible, and really brings us into Mark Watney’s space, and helps us to understand how vast and alone he really is.  Other scenes in space are also breathtaking.

Thirdly, the acting in this film is wonderful, with a strong ensemble cast of actors who do a great job.  Matt Damon in the starring role is very strong, and he also does a great job not only of showing us Watney’s charm and humour, but also of showing us some vulnerability and emotion in a couple places too, which actually served to elevate the film in my mind, and really drive the moral of the story home.

The sense of camaraderie amongst the astronauts in the film was great, and overall the film is a fun one to watch, and is highly recommended!  Following on other space movies like Gravity and Interstellar, and recent space novels like The Martian itself, it is clearly a good time to be making science fiction films.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5 stars.