I'm not an astronaut movie fan. So when I was dragged to the theater by my best friend to see The Martian, thinking the previews would be the best part of the experience, I was prepared to catch a nap. I was convinced, like many other movies of its genre, that all it had to offer had already been served up in it's trailer.
However, much to my surprise, I left the theater thoroughly satisfied. I was blown away! Why? After much thought, I found a few key factors in The Martian that appeal to me as a moviegoer. First and foremost: this movie was intelligent.
When astronaut Mark Watney gets left for dead on Mars after he's struck by debris in a storm, I was quickly reminded of Cast Away - wondering when his own Wilson would come along to keep him company. That didn't happen here. Instead of falling into himself and doing the bare minimum to get by, Watney decides to "science the sh*t" out of his situation, and it was that plot point that kept me awake, watching with intrigue. I'm a nerd. Any mention of science and you have me.
Mark's calculated attempts to sustain his life long enough to be rescued were nothing short of entertaining. In a way, he became the story's narrator, using the cameras installed around base to log his activities. It was reminiscent of Bill Nye's glory days...that hit me right in the childhood. Watching him use his own waste and synthesized water to grow crops on Mars filled me with child like wonder. And he does it with swag.
Secondly, the humor in this movie was rock solid. Precisely placed and expertly executed, the emotional flow of the film was near perfect. From making fun of his crew mates to hilarious pop culture references, there are plenty a meme to be made from The Martian.
Another comedic play from left field: Donald Glover as Rich Purnell from Astrodynamics. This man essentially saves Watney with his 'eureka' moment, explaining it with a stapler to leading employees of NASA in an almost defiant, Jesse Pinkman-like style. However short, his impact on the movie was crucial to its ambiance and tone. Check it out below and see for yourself.
The final factor that I believe needs to be respected here is the artistry of it all. From writing to casting, from filming to editing, this is a work of art. The tone, pace, and emotional flow of The Martian were all spot on. In respect of not spoiling any key content, the proof of my claim lies inside of your local theater. My rating of 9/10 is not generous, it was well deserved. A must see this Fall.
Seen The Martian? Do you agree with my rating? Comment and let's discuss!!