The Martian

RATED - (PG-13) -144-MIN-2015

                                                                   

                                                   It’s off to Mars for a solid castaway in space story.

Matt Damon is one of those actors who always delivers the goods, no matter what role he takes on. He is very likable, and has that same everyman quality, like a Jimmy Stewart or Tom Hanks. I actually think Damon is a bit underrated as an actor, and he deserves more credit in his field than he gets.

Part (Castaway), and (Apollo 13), The Martian tells the story of about a team of scientists form the ship Hermes, who have traveled to the red planet, set up a base, and are now studying it. When a bad storm comes up, and it appears that it will be life threatening to the crew, they decide to make a hasty retreat to head back home to earth. On their dangerous journey outside, to get back to the ship to leave, a nasty bit of wind sends a piece of equipment airborne and it smacks, and sends flying into the darkness, the crew’s botanist: Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who the commander of the crew: Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) tries desperately to find, but can’t. With time running out, Lewis, is told that Mark is dead, and they have to leave now.

Back home on Earth, mission control learns of the accident, and of Watney’s apparent death. The head of NASA: Ted Sanders (Jeff Daniels) and his team of advisors have to tell the world, that although the crew escaped the planet, Watney, in the evacuation, died. He will be hailed as a hero. NASA will move forward with their plans of another Mars trip four years later.

But back on Mars, Watney, who was impaled with a antenna that saved his life because it plugged the dangerous hole it created in his suit, wakes up and stumbles back to base camp, now knowing that he has been left behind. After a rather graphic surgical procedure, where Mark pulls out the antenna and staples the wound, he must evaluate the situation, and, as a scientist, make a plan to survive on this hostile world. He has four years of residence on Mars ahead of him, as that is when the soonest help will arrive. But guess what…he is a botanist, and he knows how to grow “shit”…pun intended.

The crew on the Hermes, heading back, anguish over Watney’s death, especially Commander Lewis. On Earth, at mission control, a very observant engineer notices from satellite images, that sections of base camp, appears to be shifting around, and it is not the weather, as the solar panels have been cleaned off.

Now, knowing that Watney is alive, they scramble to come up with a plan to save him. The media relations advisor: Annie Montrose ( Kristen Wig) tries to appease the public, while behind the scenes, engineer Vincent Kappor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) flight director: Mitch Henderson (Sean Bean) and Sanders have many conversations about how best to deal with getting Watney back.They haven’t told the returning crew of the Hermes’s that Watney is alive,for fear of compromising the safe return of them.

So, the heart of the story, is really about Watney, millions of miles away from earth, using his skills as a scientist, to figure out how to grow food in dead soil, use left behind equipment from past unmanned missions to start communicating with people back home, and not go insane by documenting his plight via video log. The camera he records into is his (Wilson). What he does and how he uses his resources that are there are, is very interesting, and Damon’s gift as an actor, with a sharp sense of humor really make you feel at times, what he must be going through. When things go wrong, and they do often, you will be wondering how Watney will get out of the mess he is in.

The scenes back on earth, and on the ship returning are well done, with all the characters brainstorming on how to get Watney back. The very good cast of well known, good actors help this move along well, and you never get the sense that the movie drags with filler. The great director: Ridley Scott, knows space well, and this film uses some techniques like video feeds again for added realism and effect, like he pioneered in his masterpiece:(Alien).

This is solid, good film, that delivers and, even though the end reminded me a bit of (Gravity),I was always entertained. You should see this movie

watch the trailer: