Length: 144 minutes / 2.4 hours
I, for one, am excited that space travel is now a topic regularly covered on the big screen. If the general public becomes even a little bit more interested in interplanetary travel, perhaps I can see man stand on the surface of Mars in my lifetime. The Martian (2015) is merely the latest in a string of space-themed sci-fi movies that brings the excitement of outer space to theaters. While not nearly as continually intense as Gravity (2013), or as epic as Interstellar (2014), what The Martian does right is give a sense of scale to the challenge of returning to Earth from being abandoned on Mars.
Gripping and just humorous enough to keep it from being dour, director Ridely Scott uses many cinematic techniques, including several montages, to tell the story many have already read from Andy Weir’s novel of the same name. While many sequences and scientific explanations were obviously cut for the sake of time, the ones that remain help maintain the ebb and flow of victory and tragedy. Like many films based on books, I saw the movie first before committing to reading the book. After now having read the source material, I can say that each version has its merits, and both are equally as spectacular. Sure, there were some elements I wish were in the film, but that’s why reading the book version is great too: it has “deleted scenes.”
Matt Damon’s portrayal of Mark Watney was spot on, and the rest of the cast certainly did a great job of filling in their respective roles. The pacing was great and the CGI looked incredible. Considering the current array of NASA equipment, the ships and shelters used for a Mars mission certainly seemed realistic in this film, which should help with my aforementioned desire for the general public to become interested in interplanetary travel.
A stupendous film that gives a good visual representation of Andy Weir’s novel, I give The Martian 5.0 stars out of 5.