By Linley McCord
This is the late-season blockbuster we’ve been waiting for. It follows abandoned astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he battles environmental obstacles while living on Mars. It’s a story of fighting against the odds, bold personalities, and believable-yet-incredible plot points. A true must-see.
When Watney and his team (featuring Jessica Chastain) are caught in a sandstorm on a manned trip to the red planet, Mark is hit by debris and the team is forced to leave him behind. He survives, miraculously, and must decide if he wants to fight for survival or leave himself to die in the midst of the Mars wasteland.
Meanwhile, the team continues back to earth and NASA is alerted that Watney did not make it back on the ship. Thus begins the various splits of plot. You’ll bounce between Mark and his video diaries on Mars, his teammates aboard their ship, and NASA command in Houston as they move forward after leaving Mark. But because he’s an astronaut, and therefore brilliant, he is able to make contact with NASA from Mars.
And the rescue mission begins.
The plot and character development is incredible. Events throughout the movie will leave you awestruck, terrified, and laughing. You’ll probably experience all of these emotions within the same ten minutes, too. A star-studded cast (think: Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, and Jeff Daniels) draws you in and gives real emotion and life to the characters. You begin to care for them within the first half hour of the movie.
Aesthetically, the filming and CGI is unreal. Mars truly is made to look beautiful despite the fact it’s a red clump of sand and rock. And space feels like the vast and mysterious place we paint it to be.
It’s a heart-pounding movie—especially the last twenty minutes—and the ending doesn’t leave you disappointed. In terms of other new space movies, it’s more equitable to “Gravity” than “Interstellar” but “The Martian” is definitely its own film. It earns itself a solid 8.5/10 stars and a well-earned spot in any movie-lovers library.
Rated PG13 for language.