I'm just gonna come right out with it. I've seen nearly 100 movies this year so far. The Martian is easily my favorite. No contest whatsoever. Science and sarcasm. This movie was so made just for me.
Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney. Soon after landing on Mars, his crew is faced with an emergency situation and forced to immediately evacuate the planet. In the chaos, there's an accident and Mark is assumed dead as the crew hightail it back to Earth. Not long after they've left, Watney regains consciousness to find that he's been stranded on Mars. It'll be about four years until anyone can retrieve him, and the habitat housing the astronauts on the planet was only designed to survive about 30 days. But it's okay because Watney knows science!
Yes, I am a science nerd. I think my degree from MIT in Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Science proves that. So of course, I had a doofy grin on my face the whole time Watney was engineering solutions to his problems. Even if you're not to that level of nerd-dom, there is no possible way you can sit thru this movie and not think that science is wicked cool. Seriously, this movie was practically science porn, hitting on so many specializations: botany, chemistry, astrodynamics, any flavor you're into.
Two reasons Damon has said he had for taking on the role. One, he'd never met director extraordinaire Ridley Scott, let alone worked with him. Two, he wanted the challenge of carrying much of the film solo. He was certainly an excellent choice. He's proven many times before that he can command a screen, with a powerful presence and a wink of mischief in his eye. Watney has this great sense of humor about him, and I loved how Damon brought that out. I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did. Heck, even in the promotion leading up to the film, Damon was bringing the funny, showing he's a good sport and up for anything. Basically, he just showed us why he's an A-lister. Also, anyone else seeing that thing going around on the internet about how much America has spent to save Matt Damon between movies like this and Saving Private Ryan and Interstellar, etc? Srsly, dude is a troublemaker
Scott also managed to put together an impeccable supporting cast, filling out the rest of the crew as well as the NASA team back on earth. Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan in space, with Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofer, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Kristin Wiig on Earth. Those names alone should be reason enough to see this movie.
Okay so you admit you're in the non science nerd camp, and you're not sure if you can handle this level of science fiction? On some level, it's basically Apollo 13 on steroids. I bring that up because that film was pretty universally well received, and it has a similar solve-our-space-problem-with-science kind of plot. If you could handle that, you can handle this.
I left the movie wanting so bad to watch it again, trying to think of when/how to make that happen. I hadn't even taken ten steps out of the auditorium when my buddy who I'm visiting in LA this week suggest we go see it then. Mission (soon to be) accomplished!
The Martian - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/