Has Ridley Scott finally made a decent Sci film? Let us see.
During the manned Aries three mission to Mars, a freak storm causes the mission commander (Jessica Chastain) to abort the mission early and leave Mars. But while the team is evacuating Mars one of the team, Botanist Mark Whately (Matt Damon), is supposedly killed. The rest of team reluctantly leave and head for Earth.
Except Mark survived the storm. After taking stock of his situation, Mark determines that he might be able to survive until the next manned mission to Mars if he can contact NASA.
Ensue Martian hijinx.
I find Matt Damon is one of those actors whose characterisations are for the most part all pretty similar regardless of his role. I don't necessarily have an issue with this, it is just if you like Matt Damon then you will enjoy this film. The film does have a very strong ensemble cast with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain and firm favorite Sean Bean. Here's a spoiler Sean DOESN'T DIE! The supporting cast gives reasonable performances, however, the film's focus is firmly on Damon and his trials on Mars and you might find that rest of cast a little subdued.
The Martian is a science fiction castaway story which focuses on a balance of science and politics. While Mark Whately "Sciences the shit" out of his problems, NASA has to weigh and balance public opinion with its fragile budget. But I think what make The Martian work is that the film is all about problem-solving. How do I do this, or how can we make this happen. It is interesting and highly engaging, and Damon does give a good blend of drama and humour to keep it interesting.
While the plot doesn't contain a lot of surprises the story still manages to carry tension and avoids melodrama. Mark does not have a wife and children waiting for him at home, so we thankfully avoid any cliches. As for the science, well if Neil deGrasse Tyson is on board, then that is good enough for me. It has drama, and elements of humour and it keeps you fully entertained until the end credits.
As it is directed by Ripley Scott it is beautiful well-crafted film and as such worth seeing on the big screen. Scott effectively turns the deserts of Jordan into the alien face of Mars.
I really enjoyed this film, and I think that it is worthy of the hype.