The movie adaptation of Andy Weir’s epic science fiction thriller The Martian was bound to have plenty of hype and speculation surrounding it right from the announcement. With an excellent trailer, this movie had me pumped up for quite a while now. This begs the question – did it live up to its expectations?
Boy oh boy, indeed it did. The Martian was an absolute joy to watch, making the space geek inside me jump a little in every scene. The movie has a very straight forward, no nonsense story. NASA astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is stranded on Mars, alone and without any communication with home. With this, an extraordinary series of event unfold, as he faces all odds and embarks on an epic adventure. The cinematography and computer-generated graphics are breathtaking, capturing the scale of massive planets very elegantly. Some of my favourite shots were fast low altitude pans over Earth and Mars, which showed the planets’ surfaces in a whole new perspective. The music was fitting and had a few memorable notes here and there. Aside from that, let’s not forget the stellar cast. With big names like Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, and Jeff Daniels, Ridley Scott puts together a thrilling and engaging drama.
Coming to the theme of the movie, it couldn’t have come out a better time. There have been a slew of big-shot science fiction movies recently, including Gravity and Interstellar. Gravity aimed to reach out to a very wide target audience and became ridiculously flawed when it came to scientific accuracy. Interstellar was perhaps a bit too scientific, diving way too deep into the worlds of relativity and astrophysics. I’d say The Martian hit the sweet spot. With all the current talk about Mars missions and exploration, the film is as relevant as it is interesting. If you want to just enjoy some Matt Damon action and Comedy, go ahead. You want to talk about advanced orbital mechanics and the nuances of Martian surface topology? That’s there too. It presents an awesome action movie without making Isaac Newton turn in his grave. Even though it didn’t have the grand scale of Interstellar, “Interplanetary”, was just as, if not more epic.
Verdict: The Martian is a milestone in the sci-fi genre, combining science and entertainment like never before. In fact, this movie might have a greater impact on the future of Mars exploration than even the recent discovery of water on Mars, and its public out-reach will be phenomenal. With the same playful and adolescent-like attitude that he played in Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon delivers a fine performance. Ridley Scott has managed to come up with what is now my favourite science fiction movie of all time. This space version of Robinson Crusoe is well and truly out of this world!
Attention! For those of you who watched the movie but felt you couldn’t follow some of the scientific concepts, worry not! I’ll soon be publishing an explanation article of some of the difficult-to-follow space science in the movie. Stay tuned to astronitt!