Damon is perfectly cast to play a smart-alecky Everyman, which is how he’s presented in the Andy Weir best-seller upon which the movie is based.
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Morning, Renee. “One would be hard-pressed to find a single space rock of darkness or cynicism in The Martian, which instead chooses to be a love letter to yesteryear’s manifest destiny of reaching toward the stars as well as embracing the human spirit’s willingness to say “(Screw) you, Mars” when the chips are majorly down.
TURAN: He is the Martian, yes. Ultimately it talks about how far we would go, what can be done to help Mark Watney considering his impossible situation. He is alive, millions of miles away from Earth, on a deserted planet. There’s technology, as he eventually begins to communicate with Earth. Scott, on his part, hand-delivers the precision to the screen, and gets NASA to oversee the science and logic in the film.
“The Martian” follows Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut on a manned mission to Mars. That’s for six people. Can we consolidate just a bit here? Even highly trained astronauts would likely need a few time to compose themselves before settling down and trying to figure out how to survive. Luckily, Watney is a trained botanist. Mars will come to fear my botany powers. Donald Glover shows up at NASA briefly, in one of the many appearances that had me wondering why?
TURAN: Me, too. No, well, this is kind of “Robinson Crusoe” on Mars. What are being celebrated here, in an admirably and appropriately thoughtful way, are intelligence, resourcefulness, expertise, and creative problem solving. When you’ve made a movie like this look easy, you know you’re on the right track. “It feels very much like a dance and there is choreography to it”, adds Kate Mara, “but, once you do it, you really do feel like a little kid”. But I also hope that people who are more skeptical of the science fiction genre take a leap of faith and see this movie. What about this one, though?
There’s a mixture of thrilling desperation and fatalistic humor to much of the movie, and that makes it both engrossing and immensely entertaining.
Although he’s been in the movie and television business the past 12 years, the last four have been especially eventful for Sebastian Stan, morphing from good guy Bucky Barnes to the villain The Winter Soldier in the “Captain America” movies, and playing Sigourney Weaver’s son in the acclaimed USA Network miniseries “Political Animals”.
That soft spot equates to cooperative relationships with filmmakers; relationships that lead to more realistic depictions of space travel and astronaut life in films like “Tomorrowland”, “Interstellar“, and this weekend’s big release, “The Martian“. “So it’s really The Best of the Best”. And it’s wonderful to see it unfold so beautifully. “NASA now knows that there is a massive glacier and therefore several massive glaciers of pure water underneath the sand on Mars“, he said.