By: Paul Esquivel
Saying Ridley Scott’s The Martian is good is an understatement. The Martian is an awesome film that engages you from the moment it starts ‘till its spectacular finish. Starring Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney, the story follows Mark’s fight for survival alone on Mars after a storm hits the site him and his crew are at. The ordeal leads to the crew to believe Mark is dead and leave him behind not knowing he is only temporary incapacitated.
The Martian has a lot of memorable, funny moments, but also plenty of moments that tug at your heart strings. There is almost nothing I would change, the films entire cast gives stellar performances. Their chemistry feels so natural with banter and dialogue exchanges making you really feel the character’s emotions and the gravity of the situations, no pun intended. It is the classic man vs nature formula, but instead Mark is castaway (ok last one) fighting the elements of a foreign planet that would lead to his mortality. It is the film adaptation of the book by the same name written by Andy Weir, which I suggest reading, and in this review I wont have a warning for spoilers cause I wont give anything away.
Its that freaking good and I don’t want to giveaway anything, plus the trailer spoils enough. The Characters are given great depth to the point we care for them, seeing dynamics and roles they play with Mark’s humor and attitude giving hope throughout an otherwise grim scenario. The film genuinely leaves you guessing what will happen, unless you have read the book of course, which still wont take away why you should see this adaptation. The direction is superb and the sets for NASA are truly stunning complete with blinking monitors and all. I cant imagine the screenplay being preformed by anyone else, Damon, Jessica Chastai, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mackenzie Davis and Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino out of freaking nowhere) deliver and unforgettable movie. The Martian is easily one of the best films in recent years and its style, substance, storytelling and characters make it one of the best dramas I’ve seen in a long time.
One thing I really love about this film is the way The Martian is really funny, an unexpected quality that is great and a joke about Elrond (for my LOTR nerds) and talk of space-pirates are hilarious. I think its safe to say this was intentional, aside from the obvious of easing tension. The humor keeps us engaged in these characters,like the banter between the crew that shows the camaraderie and loyalty to each other. Or the scenes of Mark talking to himself lettings us see how he copes with being alone on Mars.
It is Mark’s optimistic way and motivation to fight against certain death, keeping him sane after deprivation from other human contact. The humor and its timing gives all the characters more depth and dimensions. Even with all the laughs the question of “do the needs of the few out weight the needs of the many?” and the answer is yes. Well of course not just blanket statement wise but case by case and for The Martian it most definitely is yes. Its not just about saving Mark, but about advancement, the cost and sacrifice of mankind’s exploration to understand the universe around us. It is an event that unites us as a species, not being just for one country but Earth. Mark represents mankind’s will to fight against the odds and our brave curiosity. Marks team is the enduring spirit and love for fellow man, pretty much friendship.
The Martian is easily one of the best films in recent years and its style, substance, storytelling and characters make it one of the best dramas I’ve seen in a long time. Go see this movie when it comes outs October 2, 2015