Review: The Martian

The Martian is directed by Ridley Scott, who has directed many other films such as Alien and Gladiator. This movie has an all-star cast of actors, including Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Sean Bean, Donald Glover, (Community), Jessica Chastain (Interstellar), Michael Peña (Fury, Ant-Man) and Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom). This is the second movie that stars Matt Damon in space, after Interstellar.

The gist of the plot is as follows: Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney. He and his crew are on a mission to Mars when a storm hits and the crew has to abandon the mission. During the escape, Watney is hit by a piece of debris during a storm, and his crew assumes that he is dead. So Watney is left on Mars alone. Watney has to stay alive and wait for the people of Earth, who all believe him to be dead, and use his scientific knowledge to find his way back home.

Since the drama in this movie comes almost exclusively from the fact that the audience is supposed to be rooting for the eponymous martian, Mark Watney, to overcome all odds and get back home, this movie has to make the main character likeable. The Martian absolutely hits it out of the park; Watney’s constant witticisms and sarcastic quips subtly establish his likability as a character. Matt Damon delivers his lines so well that I was convinced that he was lone astronaut, and not just some actor playing a role. Watney’s personality, a retro soundtrack and cleverly written dialogue come together to build a rather humorous atmosphere instead of a bleak, depressing movie about a failed mission to Mars.

The supporting cast is also fantastic, particularly Michael Pena, who has great chemistry with the rest of the crew. The other cast members, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, and Kristen Wiig, all gave compelling performances as well. In addition, the science behind the movie is realistic and gives the movie an educational dimension.

This movie is aesthetically incredible as well. The open wasteland of Mars is brought to life by the great cinematography, effects and scenery, which all make this movie feel like you are actually on a different planet.  On a scale of 1 to 10, The Martian earns an 8. It is a great movie, but it is not quite timeless. Even so, I have a feeling it will definitely make my top five movies of the year.

Matthew Hurst
staff writer

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