The Martian leaves its audiences believing that you can literally "science the shit" out of pretty much anything.
The Sci-Fi film (Based on the fantastic best selling novel by Andy Weir) was seemingly released at the best possible time considering NASA's recent major announcement. If you've been sleeping under a rock here's the news:
The film follows the Ares 3 mission to Mars. Though exciting, the mission quickly transcends from a successful trip to a failure, when mechanical engineer and botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is left stranded after a traumatic dust storm.
What makes The Martian stand out is it's ability to acquire the audiences attention with accurate scientific data whilst simultaneously entertaining them with humor and empathy. At some points the audience is learning the sheer basics of astrodynamics, but at others we are laughing and crying with Watney (Matt Damon) as he attempts to plant potato plants using his own feces as fertilizer.
He succeeds but much to his disdain he runs out of ketchup not too long afterwards. But it is this balance that keeps the audience engaged but not overwhelmed. This can be attributed to the excellent direction of Sci-Fi royalty, director Ridley Scott. But it is also a testament to the cast and their relatable personalities, even during otherworldly feats.
Matt Damon is joined by his Interstellar co-star Jessica Chastain as ship leader Melissa Lewis. And is also joined by Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Stan and Michael Pena.
All of which do a terrific job of making these outstanding astronauts and scientists personable to the general audience. Although the crew is together for only a few moments in the introduction of the film, by the films peak it is obvious how much they care for each other on a professional and emotional level as the team learns of its fallen members survival.
While on earth we watch members of NASA, CNSA, and everyone in between scramble to find a way to save Watney without hurting any others or their own credentials in the process. All wrapped around a plot that doesn't seem as far-fetched as it may have seemed when author Andy Weir first penned it back in 2011.
For those with plans to see the film this weekend, be prepared to try to grasp scientific jargon that you may have never heard before. But also be prepared to feel familiar emotions like isolation, trust, and commitment.
You'll learn that duct tape has no bounds in our universe. And you'll either hate or love disco a lot more than you did before you saw the film. But there are virtually no limits to what is presented in this film.
We are shown that almost anything can be figured out with scientific prowess and a strong drive to succeed. We are shown that emotion is not a weakness but a fuel to that drive. And most importantly we are shown an example of the astounding future we have ahead of us as a species in the name of science.