NASA has sent a team of astronauts to Mars for a research Mission. While there they encounter a fierce storm that forces them to abandon the planet and return to the ship orbiting the planet. As they flee the storm one of the team members, Mark Watney is struck by debris and is presumed dead. All sources are showing no signs of life. Making the tough decision to abandon him behind to ensure the safety of the rest of her team, Captain Jessica Chastain forces them to leave. Little do they know Mark has survived and he is on his own on a barren planet. With limited food rations and water Mark has to find a way to stay alive, contact NASA and try and make it back to Earth. The Martin is a leap into the future but is well written and directed. Along with its soundtrack this is a film you have to see.
Sending man to Mars has always been a long-term goal for NASA. Although we don’t know in what year the film is set, lets assume it is set sometime in the near future. Right from the start of the film it grips you. The group are already on Mars which is a welcome change to a space mission film and within the first 15 minutes Mark has been left stranded on the red planet. This allows the film to really express itself and gives the time to let you watch him struggle and battle to stay alive. Staring death in the face he decides to take his plight and turn it around.
Matt Damon leads this film extremely well and you really connect with his character. Given the circumstances he is remarkably resolute. Determined to try his all to get out of the situation you really feel all his emotions. There are times in this film where the strain of living on a dead planet is put aside with light-hearted moments involving Matt. Its nice and breaks up the tension. Ridley Scott has done a fantastic job in directing this film. Each character complements the film and it all comes together to deliver a gripping and tense film. Most of the filming was in the Wadi Rum, which is a UNESCO world heritage site located in Jordan. Visually its great and it does bring that little bit of your imagination of what Mars may look like to the big screen.
There are some big name stars in the cast line up such as Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Kate Mara and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Each has a part to play that allows the film the flow. None of them steal the limelight and it’s a welcome change to see Jeff Daniels character (Director of NASA) wanting to bring his stranded astronaut home. Most space films in the past have leader thinking about himself, looking for a PR stunt to keep them at the top. Here it’s different and he does all he can to bring Mark back safely.
One the best aspects of the film is the soundtrack. Written by Harry Gregson-Williams it brings you into the film and makes you feel part of what is happening on screen. Alongside the original score are some classic vintage songs such as Star Man by David Bowie and I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Quite fitting given the circumstances of Matt Damon’s character.
Overall The Martian is a great film to watch. There are some light-hearted moments knitted between some very tense scenes. At almost 2.5hrs some people may think its too long but the time passes quickly and you wouldn’t notice it at all. This is a credit to the film, its cast and director. If you are looking for a film with a difference that breaks the mould of your space adventures then look no further. It’s a must see film.
Reviewed by Jon Elliott