The Martian (2015)

If you like science fiction, you should watch this movie.

If you like science fiction movies that don’t throw science right out the window just for the sake of ‘more drama’, then this is a movie you cannot miss.

I was a bit skeptical at first about this movie. It just felt too mainstream. I mean with recent releases like Gravity and Interstellar, The Martian felt like just another movie from the same genre. Of course, there’s a lot you could do, but you know. It was just a feeling. And I was completely wrong.

The Martian is one of the few science-fiction titles that I really liked. Unlike other science-fiction movies, The Martian never tries to impress the viewer with flashy visuals and cool pieces of technology. Instead, it lets the science speak for itself. Science wasn’t part of the drama; science was the drama. And that’s something you don’t get often.

Cast

NASA’s Director of Mars missions, Dr. Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), do everything they can to bring home an astronaut stranded on Mars, in THE MARTIAN.
NASA’s Director of Mars missions, Dr. Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), do everything they can to bring home an astronaut stranded on Mars, in THE MARTIAN.

Of course, Matt Damon is the star of the show here. But people returning from Interstellar will get a very familiar feel once they get to see the whole crew for the first time. Yes, it’s only Jessica Chastain, but you can’t but help remember bits from the hit Nolan movie. That really goes to show how strong her screen presence is. The Martian is no exception. Since Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain has been taking on some pretty bad-ass roles and even here, the captain of the mission really feels like the captain of the mission despite her fairly limited on-screen presence. Michael Peña and Kate Mara again come together after Shooter and somehow both have the same vibe as that from the 2007 movie. Sean Bean and Chiwetel Ejiofor were great as ever but personally, I’m slowly getting tired of Chiwetel playing similar roles all the time.

And Matt Damon really is the Martian. There’s a lot of talk about his great performance everywhere on the internet and there’s nothing in the movie to suggest otherwise. From start to finish, you get a perfect painting of a man who is hopelessly faced with impossible odds and yet tries to keep his cool with his wisecrack personality and his sense of humour and by doing whatever that’s necessary for him to survive. And despite the entire story revolving entirely around an astronaut and his fight for survival, Mark Watney was still not the centerpiece of the film.

Visuals

In today’s time, most movies come with pretty neat CGI and special effects. Many tend to go overboard with this but rarely any movie fails in this category. Still, just for the sake of a complete review, it can be added that The Martian was really good in the visual department (obviously, considering this to be a high-budget Ridley Scott movie) and more importantly, looked believably well.

The Story and the Science

Beautifully written and very well scripted, The Martian doesn’t leave room for anything less. [Spoiler] Disaster immediately strikes the Aries III mission and the team is forced for an emergency evacuation. And when we realise that Mark never died; the moment he regained consciousness, The Martian ceased to be just another sci-fi movie.

Around 20 sets were constructed for The Martian (where 70 were built for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings and over 100 for American Gangster) Of course, you require very few set pieces if you're set to depict a dead planet, but the scale was always immense
Around 20 sets were constructed for The Martian (where 70 were built for Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and over 100 for American Gangster)
Of course, you require very few set pieces if you’re set to depict a dead planet, but the scale was always immense

Immediately, you realise the gravity of the situation and how less options the lone survivor had. Soon, the story unfolds and we’re all set for an epic space adventure. But somehow this movie still different. The drama was there, the acting was great, the suspense and tension was there all the time, but all came after the Science. The most beautiful aspect of this movie was the respect that it had for the science in the story. Mark doesn’t survive solely because of his sheer determination and strength but because the rover power-unit could be optimized for the extra mile, Mark doesn’t lose his mind after staying for more than half a year on the red planet but because of his brilliance as a botanist and because the potatoes really did grow well. The scientists are real heroes in this movie. NASA should be proud of contributing whole-heartedly to the project. The movie throws the limelight on the scientists who actually call the shots everywhere, whereas in most movies the scientists are really just some four-eyed folks who provide the heroes with whatever cool things they need. The science in The Martian has a very humanizing element in it, and that’s where all the drama came from.

Music

The movie doesn’t have the mind-blowing background score that usually beautify most of the space-exploration titles but it isn’t bad either. In fact, I noticed very less this time mainly because the left-side of my brain was working in full capacity figuring out the science behind everything. All in all, the movie was a pretty solid package.


The Martian is a rare gem among space movies because of its sincere focus on the science part. Ridley Scott has made one hell of a movie and the entire science team and NASA deserve equal praise. One of the most realistic movies based on space and exploration, The Martian will definitely leave you thinking.


4/5


Submitted to the Daily Post prompt: Admire 

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7 thoughts on “The Martian (2015)”

    1. that’s tough.
      The acting wasn’t extraordinary and the music wasn’t mind blowing. This was a familiar territory for films, but that doesn’t make it less ordinary.
      So I settled for a 4.5, which translates to 9.

      I would love to hear about your 6.5

      Like

  1. A story about a guy who keeps his head, and uses his knowledge to survive in very challenging circumstances. The Martian never loses his sense of humor and it is certainly better than a guy talking to a soccer ball for a story line. IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

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