Being a fan of Nolan's Interstellar, I thought I had seen enough of Matt Damon in space. When the trailer for Ridley Scott's new film, The Martian debuted, I was among the least excited. Even after some good festival reviews, I wouldn't have even given it the time of day had a friend of mine not dragged me to it. Now, I hate admitting when I'm wrong. But, in the case of The Martian, I've never been happier to do so.
If you're one of the few who hasn't seen the film sitting atop the international box office, I'll fill you in. Based on Andy Weir's novel of the same name, The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney as he is left behind on a mission to Mars, thought to be dead. Months after announcing his death, NASA discovers he is surviving the deserted planet on his own and they now have the responsibility to do everything in their power to bring him home. Go ahead and watch the trailer, if you haven't already.
You only get glimpses in the trailer, but Matt Damon's performance is actually as fantastic as it lets on. Forced to film over 95% of his scenes alone, Damon makes use of his video recordings and surroundings to pull you in and really empathize with his situation. An incredible supporting cast, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, and Jeff Daniels, brought NASA's inner workings to life and helped the audience really feel the stress required to bring Mark home.
As great as Ridley Scott did bringing The Martian to life, the best quality of the film lies in the point it's story is making. At one point in the film, the Chinese space program reaches out to NASA and offers to help save Watney, even though the effort will cost them years of work. After the joint effort, we witness the entire world watching NASA's live stream as the rescue mission for Mark's life takes place. The film paints a beautiful picture of what it would look like for the entire planet to unite, even if for only one man's life. Other space epics see the planet working together in order to save humanity itself, but The Martian takes it deeper than that. It show's unity for something so incredibly small, and how incredible our world would be if we could achieve it.