‘It’s out of this world’
Admittedly, as a girl who would usually refine her Netflix search by clicking the romantic comedy genre, I expected the science-fiction movie ‘The Martian’ to be out of my movie comfort zone. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There are plenty of films out there about space adventure and surviving conditions against all odds, but something felt a little different about this story. Although it follows the traditional plotline of a space mission going awry, I was still gripped to the very last second.
The film follows astronaut Mark Watney, played by the very charismatic Matt Damon, on a mission to Mars. During a dramatic storm, Watney is presumed dead and left behind on the red planet. However, unbeknown to his crew mates, Watney is still alive and is now forced to endure life alone on Mars without any communication with Earth.
With limited supplies and no help from home, he must use all his strength, knowledge and wit to survive and signal to Earth for help. When communication has been successfully established it takes all the effort of NASA and his crew mates to bring him home in a seemingly impossible rescue attempt.
Brilliantly directed by Ridley Scott (famous for films such as ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Alien’), ‘The Martian’ takes a more light-hearted tone towards Watney’s predicament. He played on everyday annoyances we might consider small-scale in a space mission (such as the moment he realises he has ran out of ketchup) which humorously brings this space film back down to earth.
Unlike other science-fiction films, it is not impossible to understand the scientific jargon used, making it much more believable. Rather than simply focussing on the lonely astronaut’s woeful predicament, the film explores the wonders of space exploration and the thrill of scientific discovery. A lot of the enjoyment comes from watching clever people solve impossible problems successfully, only to be faced with even bigger problems further down the line.
Although the film is predominantly performed by one actor and you may expect it to drag out, Matt Damon managed to carry the film with much enthusiasm and hilarity. However, Matt Damon wasn’t the only actor to wow the audiences. Kristen Wiig took on the more serious role of a NASA spokeswoman, showing that she isn’t just built for comedy. Jessica Chastain, who played the role of the commander of the Ares mission, gave a convincing performance. The moment she is told the news that Watney survived the storm was truly tear jerking.
Overall, ‘The Martian’ had all the ingredients to be a successful space movie: fantastic visuals, a scientific background, a strong lead actor, and a stacked NASA crew. But what set this apart from the rest was the humour and unusual disco soundtrack.