Movie Review: The Martian

What would you do if you got stuck on Mars?

The movie The Martian is based on the book by Andy Weir. The time is somewhere in the near present and space travel is common. This is the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who is left behind and presumed dead after a manned mission is forced to evacuate Mars due to a storm. Watney is hit by an object and lost. He wakes up after the storm has passed, alone on the planet and must find a way to survive and contact NASA.

I must admit I have not yet read the book, but have heard great things about it. Hence, I cannot give an honest response in terms of comparison between the two forms. What I will say though is that this movie is a must watch. It strays away from other space movies because it has such an original story. This is a man not only lost in space and far from home, but one that is attempting to find life on a new planet.

The movie uses humor and wit to develop quirky characters that are hard to not fall in love with. Matt Damon’s acting is sincere and with just enough comedy. He plays a man that is easy to sympathize with, who is funny and smart enough to want to follow along for the full length of the movie (and its a long one.) I also need to add that he looks incredibly fit and sadly too good looking to be a man left alone in space.

Kristen Wiig makes an appearance, and she is just as great as you would want her to be.

Space films are always amazing, and always a good experience to watch in the movie theater. They put into perspective our existence. The Earth seems terribly small when seen through the lens of an astronaut in Mars. A single human being in a dead planet makes us wonder the worth of a single life. How many things that we often take for granted, and we see Mark lose them all in a second. Everything from plants growing to water that flows to the importance of human company.

While the movie is long in duration, it keeps you up on your feet throughout all of it. The film is total catharsis, it encompasses a whole range of emotions while remaining funny and lighthearted. I felt a lot of tension throughout the whole movie; it was really nerve wracking to have to accompany this man in his journey alone on a planet and to know how far away he is from everything else. It is impossible not to be on Watney’s side and want him to survive, and that is what makes it the most tense, knowing that there is only two possible outcomes for the story.

I also enjoyed the fact that the movie takes you from Mars back to Earth, and we get to see the two sides of the story. Once NASA finds out that Watney is alive, they try to contact and save him. Yet, along with that comes all the politics of PR and the emotions attached to everyone who is on Earth watching this man thrive in a different planet. There is so much tension in both planets, so much real human emotion all surrounding one life. This also makes it from recent space movie blockbusters like Gravity, because The Martian keeps you between two planets. You are not away somewhere in space, this movie gives you two solid grounds in which to feel and explore.

The cinematography is vibrant, more so than the typical Earth shots seen in other space movies, this one gives you Mars. As a result, you get all the cool space shots that can be compared to those in Gravity and also get shots of the vast, red landscape of Mars.

A ticket to The Martian buys you a great story and the ability to discover a new planet. So allow yourself to leave planet Earth for a couple of hours and explore Mars with Matt Damon. You won’t be disappointed. 

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