‘The Martian’ movie review
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
NASA has created quite the hype with an announcement concerning their finding of liquid water flowing on Mars. This announcement came only four days before the release of The Martian in theatres. Mars is on everybody’s minds. Is this some sort of cosmic coincidence?
The Martian is based on a novel of the same name by Andy Weir. During a terrible storm, the crew on Mars needs to abort. Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by some flying debris and disappears. He is presumed dead and the crew leave. Amazingly, Watney actually survives, but now he is stranded on Mars. Even if he somehow manages to contact NASA and let them know that he is alive, the mission was only supposed to last 31 sols (Martian days), so provisions are limited. Unfortunately, it will take several Earth years for any kind of rescue to reach him. To last that long, Watney has to work some science magic to survive.
The movie was great. The acting was phenomenal. Whenever something went right for Watney, I felt like cheering with him. Whenever a disaster happened, I too wanted to cry out in frustration. Moments were intense. Somehow, Watney maintained his sense of humour throughout all of the terrible situations. It probably kept me from weeping at certain moments.
The film was shot in Wadi Rum, Jordan, which has a red-coloured desert. The combination of location and some CGI effects made it really look like Mars. Filming took 70 days, three weeks of which were spent filming the NASA scenes.
NASA needs to give filmmakers permission to portray them in a film. They require that the filmmakers are representing the truth. Regarding The Martian, 50 pages of the script is NASA material. They were also consulted to make sure things in the movie were scientifically accurate. Therefore, watching The Martian feels like it could be real, and scientifically, it is certainly plausible. I certainly learned a few things while watching this movie.
I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t really a lot of exploration concerning Watney’s mental state over being alone for so long. He was very lucid throughout the movie, coming up with funny remarks during terrible situations. Maybe talking to the cameras all the time helped him stay sane, or maybe he was just extremely strong-willed (which you’d have to be to survive there anyways). I just expected at least one breakdown. I know if I were in that situation, there would probably be a few.
I would definitely recommend seeing this movie. It is amazing. Now, excuse me while I go find a copy of the novel to read.
Did you know?
A “sol,” a Martian day, lasts the Earth equivalent of 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds. Mars also has a considerably longer year at 687 days. The red planet is also a lot colder than Earth, being a freezing -50°C (Earth’s average is 15°C), and the gravity on Mars is 62 per cent lower than here on Earth.