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The Martian

Coming Soon

Author Andy Weir self-published his first novel in 2011. It was eventually picked up by Crown Publishing who re-released it into wide publication in 2014. The bestselling story of astronaut Mark Watney, stranded on Mars with little hope of survival, was so compelling that it has already been adapted into a movie starring an absurd amount of A-list actors. The Martian is in theaters now and is primed for the same type of success that its novel counterpart has enjoyed over the past few years.
Director Ridley Scott has always had an affinity towards science fiction dating back to his theatrical beginnings. Two of his first three works were based heavily on the genre with Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982). While sci-fi has not defined Scott, it does seem like an area in which he excels. The Martian looks to be the perfect trifecta of success with Scott directing, Drew Goddard (Daredevil (2015), World War Z (2013)) writing the screen adaptation and many solid actors surrounding the tense space survival project. Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney who is also both a botanist as well as a mechanical engineer (overachieve much?). Watney (Damon) is presumed dead on Mars after a sudden violent storm erupts and begins to lay waste to the area his team is currently exploring. Upon losing contact with Watney, mission commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) must make the gut wrenching decision to leave the angry red planet in order to preserve the lives of her remaining crew.
The Martian is fascinating on many levels. As a human race in general we have become enamored by the unknown. Outer space and its vast secrets is probably in the top three of just about every person. With Mars always being talked about as the most habitable planet our minds run wild with the possibilities of new discoveries. As a matter of fact, a very timely bit of information was released by NASA this past Monday. It was announced that the evidence of liquid water has been found Mars. With water comes the chance of life, and with this factual discovery also comes the revelation that maybe Andy Weir’s novel-turned-movie isn’t THAT unbelievable after all. A true manned mission to the fourth planet in our solar system cannot be too far away, relatively speaking of course.
Ridley Scott orchestrates an enjoyable balance between science fiction and science fact in a way that is sure to capture the imaginations of the masses. Some of this much deserved credit should also go to Drew Goddard as he was tasked to convert the novel, which was heavy in the scientific aspect in portions, to something that everyone could relate to without feeling like they were magically teleported into a college lecture of some sort. With talent like Kristen Wiig, Michael Peña and Jeff Daniels one might think The Martian is a comedy. It definitely is not, although there are many opportunities to enjoy a few chuckles. The light change of pace gives viewers a chance breathe and let go of some of the stress that comes from other parts of the movie. Other actors worth mentioning from this impressive roster of talent are Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan and Donald Glover.
Whether a fan of Matt Damon or not, I would be very surprised to hear reports of negativity towards his portrayal of Mark Watney. Damon does a masterful job of displaying a varied range of many emotions that being in this particular situation would evoke. His character is definitely one that will have audiences buying to and becoming emotionally invested in. With The Martian being released on October 2nd, this should start the box offices off running at full speed in what could end up being a very strong month for the movie industry. The interest in The Martian should span many different demographics and interests. I can absolutely say that this one is very much worth the price of admission.

The Martian is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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