Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” impresses moviegoers
By Anthony Plescia
Duration: 141 minutes
On Oct. 2, Ridley Scott’s newest film, “The Martian” was released in theaters nationwide. During opening weekend the movie’s grossed over $54 million.
The film is a fictional story about a near future manned mission to Mars. One of the scientists is accidentally left on the planet when presumed dead. This man must use his limited resources in order to survive on the Red Planet until a rescue is possible.
During an extravehicular activity on the Martian surface, a group of scientists are forced to hastily evacuate the planet due to a massive dust storm approaching their landing site. One of them, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is blown away in the storm during the evacuation attempt. Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) attempts to locate him, but her colleagues conclude he has perished. Little do they know Watney is actually alive — his suit was hit by a piece of debris causing his communications equipment to fail. Left behind, he is marooned on the Martian surface near the abandoned base with a limited amount of food and water.
Watney begins improvising ways to extend his survival until a follow up mission arrives. As a botanist, he is able to craft his own farm within the base by using Martian soil and synthesized water.
Back on Earth, a NASA technician notices his activities, and news of his survival is quickly made public. Watney is also able to re-establish contact with NASA by using a Pathfinder rover from a previous mission. NASA personnel scramble to devise a strategy to rescue him. He will need to survive nearly a year and launch himself into Martian orbit with an escape vehicle that was supposed to be used by the following mission.
Despite the hopelessness of the situation Watney was in, the scenes featuring the creative solutions he comes up with will entertain many viewers. “The Martian” is a reminiscent to the 1995 film “Apollo 13.”
The pace of the film was even and steady. Scenes transitioned smoothly from showing the mission controllers to Mark to the rescue crew. Anyone who is a fan of space adventure movies will enjoy this sci-fi tale.
The special effects in the film appeared to be realistic and believable. Several scenes showed crew members aboard the Hermes floating around when they were not in the artificial gravity modules of the spacecraft. Scenes featuring the Martian landscape were also consistent with views provided by our current rovers.
Overall, “The Martian” is an entertaining film because of the adventure, problem solving and decision-making aspects.