There is great fear in being deserted, left alone somewhere to fend for yourself. Now imagine that somewhere is another planet—a planet without oxygen, food, water and civilization.
That is the story told in the new blockbuster film "The Martian," based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, which was released successfully on Oct. 2 in U.S. theaters.
Starring Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney, a scientist who specializes in botany, "The Martian" shows the struggles of Watney trying desperately to survive on Mars and the controversy back on Earth as the head of NASA, played by Jeff Daniels, tries to create a rescue mission that can be executed, to save him. Supported by stellar acting from Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig and Chiwetel Ejiofor—Damon creates a very likeable personality in Watney, which makes you root for him to survive.
The movie doesn’t try to force anything cinematic or artistic into the story, but instead lets the plot unravel and move itself. This works very well for "The Martian," because it has a complex and engaging storyline that is complemented by beautiful shots and effects as well as strong performances from its actors.
In order to keep you locked into the situation on Mars, the director used a lot of shots with overlying frames that indicate they are NASA installed cameras in The HAB, where Watney lives on Mars, as well as on he and the other astronauts’ suits and on other pieces of equipment like the rover. This gets you more involved with the movie, giving a realistic and almost tangible element to its design.
This comes as no surprise when you see who the director of "The Martian" is. Ridley Scott is known as a legend in science-fiction and outer space filmmaking, having directed classic sci-fi films like "Alien" and "Blade Runner," as well as other great movies like "Black Hawk Down" and the more contemporary space blockbuster "Prometheus." Obviously this was not his first rodeo and he and his team crafted a realistic Mars environment and a scientifically accurate depiction of space and space travel.
One of the best aspects of "The Martian" was the constant lack of communication between the two sides of the film—Watney and NASA. The audience are the only ones who know what is happening on both sides, and watch nervously as both groups try to get on the same page while running into hellacious obstacles, and high risks of failure and death, either literally in space or through the pressure of the media on Earth.
Watney’s journey to get into contact with NASA, survive and his ability to use his logic and innovation again and again are what supercharge this film. Scott and Damon have come together to make something brilliant and exciting, and it is well worth going to see in theaters during its blockbuster run.