Film Discussion: The Martian

Hello people, this is Sayantoni! I am a new addition to the family of Abookesia, and I am very thankful to my friend and fellow blogger, Sanchita, for asking me to contribute to the blog. So, in my introductory post, I’ll be discussing the craze surrounding the much awaited movie of 2015, The Martian, and why it is justified.
To start with, I would like to mention that I did watch the movie before reading the book, and I have not read it yet. So I won’t be bringing up the book every now and then, and my review is going to be unbiased. As most of us already know by now, The Martian is a sci-fi movie based on Andy Weir’s eponymous bestselling novel. And I am going to tell you everything I liked about it, without spoiling it for you.
Every few years, there comes a movie so fresh and unconventional, that it blows you away with its sheer ability to handle its plotline with effortless grace. The Martian is one such movie. Yes, yet another space movie, yet another film adaptation of a novel, and yet another sci-fi movie. But not “just another movie”. This movie has the ability to stand out among thousands of other sci-fi movies, it’s that different.
The story is that of a man, Mark Watney, who is assumed dead and left behind on Mars by his space-bros on order of the commander, Melissa Lewis, (Jessica Chastain) of the Ares 3 mission, following a violent dust storm that hits the crew on the soil of the foreign planet and as a result of which Mark goes missing. The next day Mark wakes up to find himself abandoned and stranded on Mars, impaled by a part of the communication dish, thus with zero ways to contact anyone, let alone return to earth.
Meanwhile, NASA has already told the whole world about the mishap and the loss of an extraordinary man on an extraordinary mission. A very grave situation, indeed. But, Mark Watney is found to be a very resourceful man, who makes the best use of humour, which is, in the worst of times. He figures out that he’s about to die there, even if NASA sends a rescue mission to Mars (which will take years), assuming he does find a way to contact them. But instead of sitting and counting down days, he tries to turn things around and does so like a boss. He keeps his calm and does the real math. He gathers all his resources and “sciences the shit out of it.” This is exactly where the film strikes a chord with each and every human being. It’s not just a space movie. It’s about the urge to survive, and the use of tremendous will power in doing so.
From that very moment, Mark Watney sets on a mission to keep himself alive until help reaches him. The basic instinct of survival kicks in hard, as he figures out, “If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.”
An electrifying performance by Matt Damon brings Mark Watney to life and one cannot help believing that Matt is an astronaut. His make-believe game is so strong that he takes you on a ride on an emotional rollercoaster alternating tears with bouts of laughter. Speaking of which, the film does an exceptional job at keeping the atmosphere comical and cheerful with sheer wit and hilarity, even though there is an underlying tone of tension throughout the movie, that is unavoidable, as the whole world struggles to bring their fellow human being home. It is a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat and also makes you roll with laughter, so you have to grab the handle of your seat from time to time to prevent yourself from falling off. This is where The Martian takes a different approach from typical sci-fi movies and makes it a movie for the regular audience as well. The film stands entirely on the shoulders of Matt Damon, whose presence on-screen was probably the best thing about the movie, assisted by dazzling performances by co-stars Jessica Chastain (who had played a major role in another space flick, Interstellar, last year), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, and many others. Director Ridley Scott, who has previously directed silver screen giants like Gladiator and Prometheus, gives us another movie that is not only critically acclaimed but is a movie for all ages, from 8 to 80. Or rather, a movie that, I believe, everyone should take the pleasure to watch. It is science and entertainment rolled into one wholesome package, even though the science is very real and advanced.
So here’s what I think and how much I can tell you without giving away the fate of the protagonist. Hope you enjoy the film as much as I did. Thank you! And happy watching!

Fin!

– Sayantoni

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