Every cinephile is familiar with Ridley Scott’s name. He has made two of the greatest Sci-Fi films we have ever seen i.e. Blade Runner, and Alien. He also made the historical drama film Gladiator, which was a critical and financial success. His filmography is filled with great and awful films. He is a great director, but he hasn’t done anything great for years now. He made Prometheus but it wasn’t that good and we all know how mediocre Exodus was. He needed a good film and The Martian is just that, a film that Ridley needed to revive his career and put him back on track. It is a well-made film with great visuals and good story.
Imagine a planet, where you are the only being alive. There is no water and the land is not fertile. Your supplies won’t last for more than 60-70 days. You know that you can escape the planet only after 800-900 days, but you have to stay alive. There are so many things you have to take care of –
- If you run out of food, you die.
- If you run out of the water, you die.
- If you go outside, you die.
- If you don’t do something, you die.
- If you lose hope, you die.
Most importantly, the feeling of loneliness will definitely kill you. We all have seen what loneliness can do to people. If you haven’t, then watch Taxi Driver.
Now, what would you do? Would you lose hope and die even before the supplies end or will you start finding ways to solve the problems? Does your mind work or your body becomes numb? How would you keep your mind in control? How would you live? Well, that’s What happens in The Martian.
“The Martian is a story about some astronauts working on NASA’s ARES III mission on Mars. They are hit by a storm and one of their team members (Mark Watney) gets lost. Presuming that he is dead, the remaining team members leave the planet. Mark Watney was not dead, he was hit by an antenna. He wakes up to find himself alone and stranded on this red planet. He has supplies that could last for a few days. He tries to communicate to NASA, but the communication system was destroyed by the storm. Now he has to face all the odds, find a way to communicate back to earth and survive until someone comes and saves him. Does he make it back to earth?”
The film is based on a novel by “Andy Weir”. It is a simple story but works on multiple levels. Drew Goddard (The Screenwriter) did a fantastic job of converting words into action. Surely, some of things are lost when they made it into a film but it does not bother me. The screenplay is simple and doesn’t hold many surprises. The runtime is 141 minutes, but the pace is so good that you don’t feel something is being dragged. As the plot drives forward, the protagonist is presented with more and more problems which present threats to his life, He tries to overcome these hurdles by using his wits, spirit, and skills. The whole process is very exciting, exhilarating and thrilling. This is a perfect example of smart and witty writing supported by good filmmaking. The Martian is a character-driven film where out protagonist is in a bad situation, but he does not lose hope and makes full use of his skills and wits. This is a film about hope, fighting the odds, Optimism, courage and willpower.
There is only one shortcoming that I could think of. I wanted to see more of Watney’s (Matt Damon) character. He was such a fascinating character and always a delight to watch. I would have loved it more if they had explored more depths of his character. The used the humor really well, but all his emotional conflicts were not shown. His internal struggles, pessimistic and optimistic character shifts and emotional conflicts would have added more depth to his character. But you can’t really complain as it would have added another 20-30 minutes to the runtime. So I think Goddard did a good job with the screenplay.
This has to be one of the best acting performances of Matt Damon’s career. He is an excellent actor and he did a fantastic job in The Martian. He portrayed every emotion perfectly and effortlessly.
The supporting cast is equally good. Jessica Chastain didn’t have much to do, but she did complete justice to her role. Sean Bean was good, but I was disappointed because he didn’t die.
The cinematography is gorgeous and some of the shots are spectacular, especially the climax scene (Even though it is not the same as the novel and is kind of dumb). If you are going to watch this film, make sure you go for the 3D as it adds more depth to the scenes. You can feel the atmosphere created by the Cinematographer.
The Martian is a must watch. Go and watch it as soon as you can because it is one of the top 3 movies of 2015. Some people might be put off by the Sci-Fi tag but believe me, it’s The Shawshank Redemption set in space. It is the journey of a man who tries to survive against, all odds, using his wits, willpower and courage.