With “The Martian,” director Ridley Scott has created a riveting drama that explores the ingenuity, and fighting spirit of humanity. Plus, it’s surprisingly funny.
The film starts with a redefining of “worst day ever.” Following a series of unfortunate events, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is left for dead by his crew, and stranded on Mars.
With the odds stacked against him, Watney takes on his predicament one problem at a time, starting with his limited food supply. Taking one task, and one sol (Martian solar day) at a time.
Being a true scientist, Watney is sure to log his failures and successes via video, which leads to much of the films humor. Musings from how to create water on Mars to thoughts on the music preferences of the mission’s commander (Jessica Chastain) keep the film from being bogged down by the gravity of Watney’s situation.
Aside from its epic story, what makes this film work is its mind-blowing cast. Quite often when you have this caliber of cast, you start to get a little nervous that you’re about to sit through a several hour vanity project where the director trots out a dozen or more of his personal friends. Thankfully, “The Martian” also has substance beneath its shiny exterior.
Matt Damon, as Watney, is everything you would expect. There’s an intelligence to his performance, and he has a perfect dry delivery of all of the more humorous commentary.
Of course, backing up Damon is an insane supporting casts with names that include Oscar nominees, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor, as well as Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, and Sean Bean…to name a few.
The film keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning until the credits start to roll. It’s fun, funny, fast-paced, and little bit nerdy. In truth, it does nothing new, but it does tell its story really, really well.
…just for fun: