Martian Movie Review – Spoilers ahead

Life on Mars
Life on Mars

I’d never been in gold class before. I still don’t know how much it costs, and I don’t want to. But you should definitely go. They have a restaurant with a view, and waiters who will come and serve you popcorn mid-movie if you so desire. Also, reclining and extending roomy plush seats with ample hand rests. No more awkward hand-touching with the stranger next to you, and the seats were in rows of two so my boyfriend and I got to nestle in together romantically. In other words, gold class is legit, and definitely a good surprise date. Brownie points.

Now for the movie itself. Martian is based on a best-selling novel by Andy Weir and directed by Ridley Scott. Matt Damon, that epitome of handsome yet hulking hetero-normative masculinity, has the lead role as Mark Watney. The rest of the cast at least is far more diverse than the lead and average Hollywood movies in general. Yes, the main character is still a cis-hetero-white-male, but many of the important protagonists were of different ethnic backgrounds and genders. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover were all exceptional in their roles. Expect especially great things from China’s space program, the woman commander of Watney’s crew, and Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino).

It’s a damn good movie. Basically, Mark Watney (Damon) gets stranded on Mars after a storm and NASA mission gone wrong. His crew believes he’s dead and Watney can’t communicate with anyone on Earth. So, he uses his botany extraordinaire skills and ingenuity to survive and find a way to make it home. Although the man-left-behind premise of the film isn’t exactly an original one, Martian makes it work. It’s science-y enough to make you feel intelligent, without excessive jargon going over your head if you’re a lowly arts student like me.

Unlike the visually brilliant but emotionally draining ‘Gravity’, Martian intersperses the tension with plenty of comic relief. It’s emotional but not sappy. Don’t come in looking for a romantic sub-plot, because it’s not there. There’s no family at home he has to get back to – although this doesn’t lessen how much he wants to get home, obviously. It’s not a cast-away in space type scenario, and the NASA scientists are involved in the movie and plotline almost as much as Watner is, although he is the star of the movie. Apart from the headache I got from the 3D screening, I couldn’t fault Martian. It’s a cohesive, excellently directed and brilliantly-cast film that steers clear of clichés. Also – great soundtrack. Hope you like 70’s disco.


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