From the chamber piece of the first half, The Martian becomes a more traditional bring-our-heroes-home kind of film. Politics and public relations also intrude, as hard-nosed NASA chief Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) considers the very real possibility that a failed rescue bid could result in six dead astronauts rather than one.
Above all else, The Martian is really a film about possibility.
After taking care of his injury – he’s been impaled by an antenna – Mark has to figure out how to stretch his limited food supply until the scheduled arrival of a Mars lander four years in the future, since he now has no way of communicating to Earth that he’s still alive.
The second point of view is Watney’s crew; the ones who’ve left him behind.
But the film is as much about teamwork and the sense of brotherhood that binds scientists together everywhere.
The production shot its Mars scenes in the handsome, isolated Valley of the Moon (Wadi Rum) in Jordan, the ideal stand-in for the red planet. The trouble is, he figures, it will take them at least two years to get back to Mars. Instead-and this might sound weird-Scott’s film is mainly a wry comedy, one which smoothly transfers the castaway narrative to outer space. It is a message that everyone can understand and it is relatable to young and old alike. The film also didn’t stay on Mars enough for me, as I wish it spent less time with NASA on Earth since Watney was such an interesting character to watch. No matter how big or small the role is everyone has an important part in the main attraction that could not go on without them. And meanwhile, star Matt Damon, playing Watney, is at his most relatable and really sells the graveyard jokeyness of the guy who’s having to come up with outlandish ideas to keep himself alive. “You can’t weaken and have to utilize your inward strengths to see you through”, Scott said. “Contrary to the notion that this is all science fiction, I believe this really is right around the corner”. “I go to see all their movies and yet I didn’t even get to work with them”, Damon said. The plot has many elements that weave a clever story here and it is not always clear what is going to happen next.
The week of its release, and The Martian’s science is already outdated by the recent discovery of water on Mars.
The Martian doesn’t quite rank up there with the all time great space rescue movies like Apollo 13. Though not as showy as “Gravity“, “The Martian” will have you chuckling, armrest-gripping, and hoping for the best… not a bad night at the movies.
At the center of it all, Damon gives a quietly intense performance as the stranded astronaut. His low-key charm pays off as the actor shows Watney deploying his intelligence and a wickedly droll humor through tiny victories and life-threatening setbacks. This movie stands out from the crowd in so many ways and is an enjoyable ride the whole way through.