Live through ‘The Martian’

This+photo+released+by+20th+Century+Fox+shows+Matt+Damon+in+a+scene+from+the+film%2C+%22The+Martian.%22++
Back to Article
Back to Article

Live through ‘The Martian’

This photo released by 20th Century Fox shows Matt Damon in a scene from the film,

This photo released by 20th Century Fox shows Matt Damon in a scene from the film, "The Martian."

(Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox via AP)

This photo released by 20th Century Fox shows Matt Damon in a scene from the film, "The Martian."

(Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox via AP)

(Aidan Monaghan/20th Century Fox via AP)

This photo released by 20th Century Fox shows Matt Damon in a scene from the film, "The Martian."

Marialuisa Rincon, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






I knew from the start I would be tough on The Martian — it’s one of my favourite books and in general, I think the sci-fi genre has a funny way of turning a could-be magnificent story into something left lacklustre and wanting.

As the movie started, my thoughts laid with Andy Weir. The author only has so much control over how the characters he created are portrayed and I hoped they lived up to his expectations — and mine.

Matt Damon plays astronaut Mark Watney, who gets stuck on Mars after the Ares III mission is aborted and the rest of the crew (Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Aksel Hennie) escape aboard the Hermes and reluctantly leave him for dead.

Clearly, Watney does not die — instead choosing to survive by “[sciencing] the shit out of [this].”

Upon being discovered by engineer Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Jeff Daniel’s NASA director Teddy Sanders orders that the crew not be informed and throws the agency’s full force into supplying him until the Ares IV mission can arrive and bring him home.

In this photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox, Matt Damon, from left, as Astronaut Mark Watney, Jessica Chastain as Melissa Lewis, Sebastian Stan as Chris Beck, Kate Mara as Beth Johanssen, and Aksel Hennie as Alex Vogel, appear in a scene in the film, "The Martian." The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Oct. 2, 2015.

(Twentieth Century Fox via AP)
In this photo provided by Twentieth Century Fox, Matt Damon, from left, as Astronaut Mark Watney, Jessica Chastain as Melissa Lewis, Sebastian Stan as Chris Beck, Kate Mara as Beth Johanssen, and Aksel Hennie as Alex Vogel, appear in a scene in the film, “The Martian.” The movie releases in U.S. theaters on Oct. 2, 2015.

As it goes, everything that can go wrong does. After the first attempt to resupply Watney burns up in the atmosphere, a rejected plan to use Earth and Mars’ gravity to send the Hermes is covertly sent to the crew, who unanimously agree to return and rescue Watney.

While the book concentrates on Watney’s inner dialogue about his own survival, the movie pans slightly camera left to NASA’s efforts to get him home. His problems almost seem to be solved off-screen, while every one of NASA’s struggles is molded into their own solution.

This movie is pretty hard to spoil — obviously he lives. Obviously he will be rescued. Watney is set up from the beginning to survive this. The real fun lies in the science behind his mission and seeing how the world could be in a future where manned space travel is possible, and two formerly feuding nations work together for the benefit of one man.

The Martian moves quickly, though not in a bad way — Weir’s 369-page novel is adapted nicely into a neat little-over-two-and-a-half-hour package. In general, books cater to a more niched audience than movies, so it’s not surprising that most of the material cut is technical banter that wouldn’t have translated quite so smoothly to a more casual audience.

But, they made it work. Somehow, without all the backstory that the book provided, one would not wonder how he got to the Pathfinder probe or traversed the 3.2 thousand kilometres to the site where NASA’s next manned mission would land four years later.

I think there’s something to be said about Matt Damon not having to completely change his persona for the role — it’s like Watney was written for him.

I’ve only completely lost myself in a movie once before. It was December 2012 and one of my favourite musicals, Les Miserables, had finally been adapted to the big screen marvel it always deserved to be. Anne Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” took me in. I remember being literally surprised I was sitting in a cinema, not in a 1860s Paris sewer.

Being able to experience that again as Matt Damon lay unconscious in the Martian atmosphere and the whole world watched as the Hermes crew maneuvered their way into the history books, was something I never thought would happen.

Even though I saw it for free I would pay to go see The Martian again in a heartbeat — in fact I already have, twice. If I hadn’t already made it completely clear, I give this movie five stars and two big thumbs up.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email