Hollywood has been lying to us for years, the real heroes are nerds! Yes, that’s right, stay in school kids forget performing Evil Knievel style stunts on your BMX in your back garden and get yourself down the library.
Ridley Scott returns to form with his latest space adventure The Martian thanks to Andy Weir’s book of the same name. The grounded science from the source material means that the film feels like a fact based true story that’ll have you thinking “holy shit we went to mars.. why didn’t anyone tell me!”.
The Martian doesn’t waste any time and takes us straight to Mars, no training montage on Earth or space camp needed. Within minutes of being introduced to our team of astro-adventurers, a storm hits resulting in a hasty escape and one of the crew, Mark Watney, gets wiped out by flying debris.
Matt Damon plays stranded Watney who’s left behind when his crew believe he died from the accident during their rushed exit from the red planet. Now he has to work out how and if it’s possible to survive. Don’t worry it’s not just Matt Damian for two hours trying to grow potatoes there is also a flawless supporting cast in the ground team on Earth and his fellow astronauts flying through space. Watney goes through this journey with the help and support of his NASA family so no need to draw a smiley face on a potato and call it Wilson.
Like Mark Watney’s astronaut crew there are no weak links in this cast; all have a job to do and each does it extremely well. Jeff Daniels is excellent as the stern NASA head Teddy Sanders. His scenes with advisers Sean Bean and the always brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor are simply delightful. An honorable mention has to go to Donald Glover as the young scatty genius Rich Purnell who adds more hilarious and fist pumping ‘Yes’ moments to an already brilliant film. However, the film really belongs to the Martian himself, Matt Damon, who delivers a funny, engaging and emotional performance demonstrating the power of human intellect and survival instinct.
If you told me this film was actually shot on Mars I’d probably believe you, that’s how good it looks. Castaway meets Apollo 13, The Martian is an epic film that’s as beautifully shot as it is acted. Thrilling, intense and surprisingly funny too.
Reviewed by Ian Wright.