Director Ridley Scott’s latest sci-fi epic, The Martian, is the latest book-to-movie adaptation to be brought to the big screen. Written by Drew Goddard and boasting a superstar cast, The Martian is one of the best films of the year to date.
Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, the stranded astronaut that fights all odds to survive on the desolate planet of Mars. With only a few months of food and water from rations, NASA tries to find a way to rescue Watney while he employs his knowledge of botany to grow food. With a limited supply of rations, he must use his ingenuity and training to keep himself fed for as many sols (days on Mars) as possible.
Andy Weir, the author of the original novel, did countless fact checks on his own math to make the science behind Watney’s fictional tale accurate. Crunched for time, the teams at NASA work tirelessly to bring Watney back to earth.
The film does a fantastic job of immersing you on the barren, yet beautiful landscapes of the red planet. Scott gives a beautiful interpretation of Mars, filming Matt Damon mostly in the country of Jordan. Red canyons, orange skies, and rocky terrain all display that Scott still has a knack for sci-fi.
However, we have Dariusz Wolski to thank for the beautiful cinematography. Long, overhead shots of the martian landscape add to the feeling of isolation. You start to feel as though you yourself are the only person on the barren planet.
The script is clever and surprisingly funny.
The Martian honestly has more laughs than quite a few of the comedies on the big screen this year. The story is not dark and gloomy like you would imagine a movie about a stranded astronaut would be. It’s delightfully optimistic, fun and gives audiences a fresh new take on a genre. The lack of dark tropes makes it appeal to a much wider audience. The only problem is that you find yourself wanting to see Matt Damon on screen more often in between the scenes at NASA.
As for the cast, everyone in The Martian brings a unique and wonderful performance to the table.
Damon gives us an Oscar-worthy performance, adapting Watney’s character faithfully from the novel as well as adding depth. At times his character is so compelling that the earth scenes seem less engaging.
The rest of the Mars crew is a great group of stars, with Jessica Chastain and Michael Peña taking charge of the “Ares III” team. The Ares crew has great chemistry and each individual has his or her own sense of humor.
The other members of NASA bring even more big names. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are at the forefront of the NASA operations and Ejiofor gives yet another unforgettable performance. Daniels, who stars in the upcoming film Steve Jobs, proves once again that he should stick with serious roles. Kristen Wiig and Sean Bean are also playing supporting characters at NASA, along with smaller roles at NASA played by Donald Glover and a scene-stealing performance from Benedict Wong as the engineer tasked with saving Watney.
Overall, The Martian deserves to be on 2015’s must-see list, giving us one of the most faithful book-to-movie adaptations in addition to riveting performances. It is well worth two hours of your time.