The Martian


The Martian
Release date: October 2, 2015
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Sean Bean

In the last three weeks, I have seen three films: Katti Batti (atrociously plodding), Everest (good), and The Intern (yawn-inducing level bore). I couldn’t find the time, and/or I wasn’t motivated enough to get my fingers to waltz on my keyboard. Hollywood’s fixation with delivering movies themed on the events that happen with stranded astronauts, continues. Gravity (2013) and Interstellar (2014) both came out in the fall season, and The Martian follows suit.

With the common link of a stranded astronaut being left behind, things are slightly different (obviously). Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is a botanist who’s a part of Commander Melissa Lewis’ space expedition team. While the entire team is feeling ut the surface of Mars, they’re struck by a storm. They attempt to escape, and on reaching inside the capsule, they presume that Mark is probably dead. Their journey continues and they move ahead. Watney is pronounced dead on national television by the director of NASA, Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels).

There’s just something about Teddy Sanders’ speeches that reminds me of Will McAvoy from ACN.

And Teddy does show some fine elocution.

Meanwhile in Mars, Mark is using staple guns to stitch him up, inventing water and ‘colonizing’ the ‘earth’ on the Red Planet. He’s stranded for days, weeks and months, and shows very little signs of fatigue, be it emotional or physical. It would be even wrong to expect a thoroughly trained space-hero to shed tears incessantly, but the head-on approach that Watney takes to living on Mars, right from day one is kinda beguiling and yet incredulous.

Mark Watney is also super-confident while recording his video log, he’s also witty. He’s the Chuck Norris and the temporarily vegetarian Bear Grylls. The focus shifts from his inventions and escapades to the continuous back and forth discussions between Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Sanders, and Bruce (Benedict Wong) on how to get Watney back.

Plans fail and plans are reworked. Kate Mara gets the sidekick romance with one of her crew members and Jessica Chastain loves Disco music. Big ups for the disco music though. Unpredictability is not a virtue that The Martian looks to aim for, it compromises in being fairly good with all its predictability.

There’s no major space mumbo jumbo here, just a simple story that throws a few surprises at you along the way.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

  1. Great work!

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