The Martian: A movie to see


Ridley Scott’s sci-fi adventure is the kind of film you leave the theater itching to tell your friends to see. Like Apollo 13 and Gravity, The Martian turns science and problem solving into a futuristic yet present and realistic experience that keeps you wondering what will happen next.

In The Martian, Ridley Scott goes back to the future, a familiar destination for him, and returns in fine shape to the presentAlthough technically a science fiction, by virtue of being largely set on a neighboring planet, this adaptation of Andy Weir’s best-selling novel is more realistic in its attention to detail than most recent films on aliens and extra-terrestrials, and it cultivates an environment and an experience that feel as if the story may very well take place in the near future, perhaps tomorrow. Though not always exciting, the plot is always comical and constantly absorbing; this major autumn Fox release will definitely attract attention worldwide.

Scott has famously been up in space before, thrillingly in Alien, far less so in Prometheus. This time, he’s telling a survival story, pure and simple, of an American astronaut thought to be dead. He is the top botanist who is left behind on Mars when an enormous sand storm compels his five fellow crew members to hastily cut short their extra-planetary visit. The plot is like Robinson Crusoe on Mars, but without the monkey and aliens. When Mark Watney (Matt Damon) regains consciousness after having been impaled by an errant antenna and knocked out, he quickly asses the situation: he’s millions of miles from home and, based on the food supply, concludes that he has perhaps a month to live.

Just as the movie seems to come to a short and boring end, Mark fights the impossible with all he can. Mark is by nature a can-do, optimistic kind of guy, a botanist by profession who possesses a sardonic, self-deprecating sense of humor. Mark quickly decides that he has no intention of dying, even though the next Mars mission from home is not due to arrive for another four years.

As a heroic NASA scientist, Mark begins to document every little detail of his life so people in the future can learn from his successes and failures. Amazingly, he manages to farm potatoes on Mars and begins to colonize. He also eventually establishes communication with Earth. While he is without a doubt lucky, his rescue is made possible, realistically possible, by science. It is fascinating to see how boring high school science is applied to simple tasks like farming to complex technology like recreating water.

I highly recommend this movie, because I believe what we are able to dream today we will realize tomorrow.