The Martian, Scott’s adaptation of the best-selling book by Andy Weir, is a funny and fantastic space adventure. Ridley Scott managed to show the human race what we are getting close to doing better than NASA ever has.
Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney who is left for dead on Mars after his crew is forced to flee a dust storm. Stranded with only enough food and water to last a month, Watney attempts to “science the shit” out of the mars base hell-hole by growing Samwise’s favorite food, po-ta-toes.
After realizing this movie is half about people on earth trying to convince everyone he is OK, and half about Matt Damon (known for playing Jason Bourne one of the most badass characters of all time) growing potatoes, I started to analyze. Apart from the hard to miss feature of him colonizing Mars with his poo, The Martian is a great insight into the mind of a man in a situation like this. With the vastness of the red planet, Damon delivers one of the most emotional lines in any movie set in space: “This is the first time ever a human has been completely alone, just me on a planet.”
Back on Earth, many going-ons occur with the heads of I.T who notice Watney is still moving around and alive. This gets Teddy Sanders, head of NASA (Jeff Daniels), in a strop as he debates with the team what they should tell mankind, and if Watney is worth saving. Ridley Scott, yet again, creates a character to hate on for an hour, which shows us how real this could all be in 10 years’ time; a scary thought really.
Now about Matt Damon: Watney is a tough character to pilot this skeptical, geek, know-it-all persona, but Damon has the charm and wit to land some tricky one-liners. You try making “Fuck you, Mars” sound cool. He delivers a stellar performance and was a perfect choice for the part.
In the most dramatic and stupidest moments, where Watney makes a video log for what happened, Damon delivers a character that you just need to look at in order to feel the abandonment.
Of course (as always) the Ridley Scott brilliance had to stop somewhere, and as per usual he lets himself down towards the end. During the main course of the movie the best part for me was the fact that everything can be a documentary not too far in the future from now; with the tech and the views on society (that is, until we see the main ship, Ares lll).
The actual look of the ship will make a Klingon say, “bit over the top.” That’s not all, with the over-the-top shots of artificial gravity of people working in different rings, it makes me question how desperate they wanted to appeal to 5 year olds.
Then there is the last mars scene: as Watney (by this point also known as Captain Blonde beard) strips off an entire ship to escape mars the Ares/Piccard’s new sports car closes in on him and he comes up with the plan to “be like Iron Man” and “do that thing with the suit.”
…yeah that’s right. You would think this is just another clever joke at his sanity levels, but no, he actually cuts a hole in his spacesuit while in the vacuum of space because (as physics indicates) Damon is in fact capable of anything as he flies away like Wally towards his crew members after a bomb made of sugar has gone off to propel it the other way.
This movie is great, don’t get me wrong, but in the future can you please not let a 5-year-old direct the last 10 minutes.