Main Plot Points:
- During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
- Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.
- Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
What We Thought:
- I quite liked The Martian. It’s not as heavy as Interstellar, but didn’t lose my attention like other “trapped alone” type films.
- Sure it’s not quite a full on single character/single location film like 127 Hours or Cast Away, but a lot of the film is Matt Damon alone trying to find a way to stay alive and communicate back home.
- I think why it held my attention is because it’s extremely well acted. Damon gives a stellar (pun intended) performance. It’s one of Matt’s best performances in years. Not that he gives bad performances, he’s just really, really good in this. He’s funny and charming and science-y and you genuinely root for him to get home. My biggest issue with the film Gravity was, I didn’t care about Sandra Bullock getting home. She went to space to get away, why do I care if she gets back? Damon’s character has enough to him that I hoped they figured out how to get him back.
- The supporting cast is equally as good. I’ll pretty much watch anything Jessica Chastain is in. As the leader of the team, you feel her guilt for leaving him behind because she makes you feel it. Michael Pena is always fantastic. Even in smaller supporting roles, Pena is funny and steals scenes. Kate Mara and Sebastian Stan (who I didn’t even recognize at first) are also good.
- The team on Earth trying to bring him home is star studded as well. Jeff Daniels plays the man in charge of NASA who must talk to the media. Kristen Wiig leaves the comedy behind for this one. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives yet another solid performance and it’s good to see Sean Bean make it all the way through a project.
- The film isn’t as scientific as last year’s Interstellar. It seems pretty realistic and NASA clearly consulted on it, but if you were confused at the Matthew McConaughey film, there isn’t much of that in this. Sure the whip around using gravity to launch a ship faster was done in Armageddon, but I don’t mind them borrowing it.
- I have not read the book the film is based on so I can’t tell you how different it is. From what I was told the book has a lot more jokes in it and Damon’s character makes a lot more references in the book, but I can’t confirm that.
- I had a lot of fun with The Martian. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and doesn’t try to wow you with non-stop action and CGI. It has a nice balance to everything. The story is easy to follow. The special effects are subtle and necessary. The cast is fantastic. I liked it. I liked it a lot actually.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Matt Damon
- Jessica Chastain
- Jeff Bridges
- Director Ridley Scott
- Kristen Wiig
- Michael Pena
Recommended if You Like:
- Cast Away