I’m a week overdue on this review, but I hope my memory of my experience is still intact to write a representative review.
I finally watched The Martian, which I have been wanting to watch for well over a year now. For those who don’t know the story, it’s about an astronaut, Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who gets left behind and presumed dead on Mars. The movie follows his struggle to survive on a desolate planet and make it back home.
It’s been a good while since I’ve finished watching a movie with that level of satisfaction. The movie deserved all of the accolades and recognition it received when it came out. Matt Damon did an excellent job. The screenplay was well written — direct, humorous, and witty. The soundtrack was on point, especially Commander Lewis’ disco soundtrack. The story, moreover, was compelling. It’s not that the motif of a lone adventurer trying to survive and make it back home is a new conflict (think Castaway, Gravity, etc.). True, the setting was a new one, but what made the story compelling was that it highlighted the capacity for human ingenuity in the face of adversity. As I was watching the movie, I was aware of the fact that in any analogous scenario I’d probably blank out and just let things unfold, but I was blown away by the engineering and science solutions that were devised under such stressful conditions; it made me want to be super cool like Watney, haha.
The one downside, if you want to call it that, was that the characters besides Mark were a bit contrived and generic, but I didn’t really think of it as a negative. The movie was about Watney and his journey (physical and psychological). I do think the rest of the cast carried their roles well considering how the characters were written. Jeff Daniels was a boss as always and Sean Bean may have lost his job, but at least he didn’t die at the end?
In any case, I give The Martian a 9/10. And if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it!