From the man who put Alien and Blade Runner on our screens comes the next movie to add to your Sci-Fi collection. Based on the novel The Martian by Andy Weir, Ridley Scott shows us and tells us of the legend that is Mark Watney (Matt Damon). Watney, an astronaut botanist, is stranded on Mars after a storm hits his crew’s outpost and forces the astronauts to abandon mission. On their escape Watney is left behind as the crew believed him to be dead after an accident occurred getting to the escape vessel. Watney amazingly survives and has to come up with ways and methods of surviving the barren planet of Mars as well as trying to find a source of communication to transmit a message to NASA saying that he is in fact alive.
Matt Damon gives us a stunning performance as he completely captivates the audience and has us all rooting for him as he shrugs of the “I’m going to die here” mentality with positive thinking, potato farming and Captain Lewis’ (Jessica Chastain) ultimate disco collection, with all your favourite songs from the 70’s. The disco fever adds a light hearted feeling to the dire situation that our lone Mars dweller faces; it also fortifies Watneys hatred of the classic 70’s tunes (although he is seen to bop to one of the tunes during the film). The whole cast for this production was very carefully and excellently selected as each actor played their part to a tee. Great performances by Kate Mara who plays Beth Johanssen a young astronaut, Chiwetel Ejiofer who plays Vincent Kapoor the director of Mars missions and finally you couldn’t not mention Game of Thrones sensation Sean Bean.
The screenplay, which was adapted from the novel into a screenplay by Drew Goddard (who was originally meant to direct the film), was executed to the highest standard. The brilliant script furthermore added to the excellent performances given. This film isn’t completely unlike Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, as in both movies we see the astronaut isolation that both Watney and Dr.Stone (Sandra Bullock) go through, in space. The film is also on the same par for being as visually striking as Gravity with effective use of CGI and also non-CGI methods that give a sense of real feeling throughout the film. The Martian is rated 12A so the “F” word is constantly being bleeped out in a way that doesn’t use the “bleeping” sound, which saves our ears from the annoyance (but it still would add to the film if we heard “f***” as often as it was intended).
Ridley Scott has brought us yet another Sci-Fi classic to add to our collections, with brilliant performances by all actors and an excellent screenplay that has ticked all the boxes. The one flaw is the 12A rating, and that’s pushing it.
Review by Michael Killoran, Film Contributor