Welcome back Sir Ridley Scott! You can come out the corner now from your last debacle known as Prometheus, once again able to hold your head high as for the first time in recent memory we actually have a good film set on Mars.
Scott’s list of accomplishments are very impressive with only a minor blemish or two, but he was clearly the right choice for the Martian
It’s a simple concept, one man alone with no help on the red horizon. But not to give all the credit to Scott, here we have a fantastic cast to fuel this film along, it’s no wonder this has been considered a box office success, with the biggest October opening weekend record.
Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, a member of the Ares 3 crew on a what has become a routine exploration mission on the surface of Mars. In charge is Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), As we start the story the crew have already been on the Surface of Mars for some time, conducting various tests. What is refreshing straight of the mark is the crew actually get on, there is no bickering amongst the team at all and no cowardly protagonist.
After all the story is so simple yet compelling it doesn’t need added tension from the crew unlike Scott’s previous films, Its always outstanding to see the contrast of Scott’s films, Throughout his nearly four-decade career as a filmmaker, Scott, now 72, has gravitated toward dark tales of human survival. But here we have an stunning vast back drop, pitting Watney against the elements of Mars, still a vast unknown waste land until help can arrive, that’s if help arrives!
The Crew are forced to abandon their long standing mission and leave the surface, this is a tough call for Lewis to make as they lose sight of Watney and have to assume the worst, but the worst is yet to come.
Watney awakes after a severe storm to find he is alone, stranded and without means of communicating with his fellow crew or home, but rather than give up against the odds, he chooses to survive in the most creative and ingenious ways possible even managing to smile and keep an upbeat approach throughout the whole situation.
Back on earth it becomes apparent to Nasa that Watney is indeed alive, much to the dismay of director of Nasa Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels, welcome back from your last debacle known as Dumb and Dumber too) who is dreading a PR nightmare as well as informing the crew they left a man behind!
This story is tense, gripping , smart and funny a perfect mixture, you will cheer along for Watney throughout the film as he disco’s his way across the red planet, surviving never looked so entertaining (sorry Tom Hanks, hand over your cast away crown please).
The crew are soon informed of Watney’s survival story and in unison decide to make the round trip from Mars, to Earth and back again to save their stranded comrade (still no bickering, very refreshing) the months roll past and take their toll on Watney, who is visibly and emotionally drained. Living off what he can, he prepares to make a long and perilous journey across the surface, under extreme conditions, one enduring day after the next.
The whole world waits with baited breath as a daring and bold rescue attempt is made, risking not only Watney life even further, but jeopardising the entire crew.
This was a fantastic way to spend an evening, It leaves you with the feeling like you have been on adventure along with Watney, that is true testament to his portrayal by Matt Damon,
This is a fun exhilarating film, from one of the greatest directors of all time (I’m keeping my eye on you for Prometheus 2 though, don’t make me send you back to the Hollywood corner of shame!)
This may be one of those rare modern day films that etches its self into your memory not for the special effects or block buster cast, but for the compelling story its self.
So I award this 5/5, its polished, beautiful and even a little relatable as Watney feels like the average man in an extraordinary situation.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did,
Comments always welcome here or on the twitter machine @CongertonLee
Thank you for reading,