The Martian, the latest Sci-Fi film from Ridley Scott based on the titular novel, once again proves that movies with the lowest stakes pack the biggest punch. The Martian is a gripping movie from beginning to end, and it will either make you want to be an astronaut again, or vow never to leave Earth.
Mark Watney is lost and thought dead after a major storm on Mars, but to his and everyone else’s surprise he has survived. Now he must live alone on the surface of a foreign planet until he and NASA can find a way to bring him back home. This of course will not be easy since Mars will do everything it can to try and kill him.
Like I said in the intro movies like this have incredibly low stakes. We are talking about the life of one man, and in the grand scheme of things that is not much, but those low stakes allow us to get emotionally involved. To let us identify with what is happening on screen. When movies are busy killing off hundreds of people it is hard to care. They all just get lost in the shuffle, but when you see the struggle of one human, you are right there with him willing him to beat the odds.
Though without a likable Watney this movie would fall apart. Matt Damon nails Watney. His has a jerky, but likable charm. He is a fun character to watch as he tries to escape his new Martian home. There are a lot of other good actors in this movie, but this film belongs to Matt Damon. His is in almost every scene, and he makes the most of it.
The special effects are wonderful. Ridley Scott is a Sci-Fi genius. The Martian landscape looks real and like a place we can visit. It makes me hope that we will get there someday to see how close he got. Mars is a fully realized character second in importance only to Damon.
This movie is a lot like Gravity, but that is a good thing not a bad one. Even though these movies show the perils of space travel they still excite the imagination and make us want to venture beyond our little planet. The Martian is a wonderful movie, and thrilling all the way through. I cannot recommend it enough.