Let it be said the human race possesses drive and imagination to travel anywhere in our solar system, but at times can bite more than one can chew. In the film, The Martian, director Ridley Scott, brings science fiction novel to life as astronaut Mark Watney is left behind on Mars during an emergency lift-off during a fierce sandstorm. A novel written by Andy Weir and screenplayed by Drew Goddard, draws to light to the dangers of space travel as the Ares III crew members abandons one of their own left for dead only to discover two months later, enroute to Earth, he’s still alive.
Botanist Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon. awakens to find himself alone. A sandstorm tears a communication relay from its mounts and knocks the astronaut away from his crew. Wounded and low on oxygen, manages back to base and performs emergency surgery and clean his wounds. Calculating how long when Ares IV ship will take 4 years to return has only six months of food and supplies to survive. Mark needs to “Science the SH#T” out of everything. With the necessary resources to produce water and create fertilizer from a bucket full of human waste, Mark becomes the first ever to grow potatoes on a dead planet thus extends his food supply. Needing to communicate with NASA, finds the 1996 Pathfinder’s landing probe and riggs it to communicate back home.
Back on Earth, news of Mark’s untimely death has the whole nation in mourning as the mission to revisit Mars fall short of funding. NASA’s Director of Operations, Teddy Sanders, played by Jeff Daniels, and Director of the Mars Mission, Venkat Kapoor, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, discuss whether to promote the next mission to Mars to extract Mark’s body in order to lock funding from Congress looks feasible. Later at NASA’s control center, what looks like someone is driving the Mars rover discover it’s Mark, alive and well. With supplies running out, NASA prepares an emergency launch in hopes to extend his survival. But tragedy strikes two fold, as the rocket carrying supplies explodes and Mark’s decompression chamber blows a huge hole in his garden of Eden, destroying all crops. Will Mark surviving the remaining time on Mars before starvation kills him or will NASA’s smartest and brightest come through in the clutch?
With actual consultants from NASA, this move is about authentic to a real life crisis astronauts face while working in space. Looking to generate public interest to fund a real mission to Mars, key members of Jet Propulsion Laboratory and departments from NASA’s Planetary Science Division and Solar System Exploration lend their expert advice to bring this film to the big screen. This is an absolute jewel of a movie to watch, truly a cosmic-buckling adventure story in modern times. Though bureaucracy tends to dictate procedure to save Mark, scientist and engineers rally together and bring this one man back home. What I found to be the moment of truth in the film. Mark did everything he could to survive while marooned on Mars and now must let it all go and risk himself for a chance to be rescued. Matt Damon is wonderful to watch and will touch your soul. Rated PG-13, now in theaters and is a 10 of 10 red planets.