Out-of-this-world plot highlights positives of The Martian

By Emma Puglia, Web-Editor-in-Chief

Rating: 3.5 stars

Just the fact that reputable eye-candy and A-lister Matt Damon is the lead actor in The Martian is reason enough to watch the newly released movie. The flick itself, released Oct. 2, blends a gripping plot with dry humor in a captivating yet feels-as-if-it’s-nine-years-long movie.

Photo provided by www.imdb.com
Photo provided by www.imdb.com

Based on the novel by Andy Weir, The Martian is the story of NASA’s attempts to bring astronaut Mark Watney, who was presumed dead after being struck by debris during a storm, home. By thinking on his feet, Watney was able to grow vegetables on Mars and experiment on abandoned rovers to create contact with NASA. Watney survives day-to-day talking to his video logs, waiting for international scientists to rescue him. As he states to his log, Watney is the first person to be alone on an entire planet.

For over two hours, the suspenseful events leave audience members clinging to the edges of their seats. Each near-death moment during the rescue mission causes the audience to catch their breath with a constant question of “will they make it back to earth?”

However serious the film appears to be, Damon lightens up the mood with dry-witted humor and one-liners such as “I admit it’s fatally dangerous, but I’d get to fly around like Iron Man,” or “In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.” These little bits of comedy keep the audience from feeling stressed for the main character. They also simultaneously jolt the viewers awake, considering there were a few snorers in the crowd.

It’s slightly understandable why some audience members wanted to hit snooze. Running at 144 minutes, The Martian tends to drag out the details, making it seem like something just happens to go wrong every two minutes (which it does).

However, the amount of fact-checking for each scientific equation or theorem that must’ve gone into the movie highlights its impressiveness. The cinematography of the red planet’s landscapes glide smoothly into each frame, panning to the hazy atmosphere in the distance or each messy bunk in the command center.  These two aspects result in a film that appears realistic to the tee, individual meteors and all.

What’s most striking about this film isn’t the actors or the structure of the film, it’s the plot. When space agencies from halfway around the world decide they want to help, the story embodies the connectivity of the world to support one man on his journey home, a heart-lifting story that restores some faith in humanity.