The Martian stands out


Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Matt Damon plays astronaut Mark Watney in the rigorous outer-space survival movie The Martian.

Survival stories can go one of two ways: they can be gripping or utterly boring. Fortunately, The Martian was exciting and never had a dull moment. This particular survival story focused not only on Mark Watney’s (Matt Damon) struggle to live on Mars, but it also focused on NASA and the world’s devotion to his safe return home.

Mark Watney is an astronaut sent to Mars with his team to study the planet. There is a massive and abrupt storm on Mars that forces the team to leave the planet prematurely. However, during the storm, Watney is hit with a satellite and is presumed dead. Much to NASA’s surprise, Mark was in fact still alive. Mark Watney then has to find a way to prolong his supplies on Mars until a rescue mission can be performed.

Back on Earth, NASA has teams of scientists designing ways of communicating with Watney and developing a ship to get him home. The time crunch between the amount of time a space ship can be made, the amount of time it takes to get to Mars, and the amount of time  Watney’s supplies will last creates the central obstacle of the film.

With quick wit and optimism, The Martian provides the audience with a sufficient amount of humor to make the movie a little light-hearted. It was nice that the film had humor and heart to it because of its theme. If The Martian was serious like most survival films are, then it would not have been as successful. A running joke throughout the movie is that the only music available to Watney is disco music. In addition, Watney produces a video log to account for his days on Mars. These logs contain some of Mark’s funniest lines that examine his situation in a comical way.

The Martian did not lack in poignant moments as the resolution of the film united countries and individuals. There were moments when the audience could feel the pain of Watney’s solitude on a planet nearly 55 million miles away from Earth.

One notable feature of this film was the cast. It was refreshing to see women in high positions of power. Jessica Chastain played Commander Lewis, Kristin Wiig played Annie Montrose, and Mackenzie Davis played Mindy Park. Each of these women had a significant role in NASA and in bringing Mark home.

Also, this film had actors that are usually typecast as comical, portray serious characters. It was interesting to see Donald Glover and Kristen Wiig switch from their typical roles to something unique.

Overall, The Martian was highly entertaining and would be worth watching a second time. The story was well developed, the characters were intriguing, and the suspense of it all captivated the audience. It was the kind of survival film that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.