The Martian: Movie of the Light Year


I had heard glowing reviews of a new movie starring Matt Damon about a man who is left alone on Mars to fend for himself, but  couldn’t fathom of how a movie with a plot that seemed so restricting had been so amazing. How involved could I become about a tale set light years away? Now, I’m not usually wrong about the unsure feelings that I get before watching movies, but boy, was I wrong about this one.

The Martian takes viewers on an emotional rollercoaster that took us the distance (I’m talking Mars and back, quite literally). Matt Damon takes on a character unlike anything he’s ever played before as a witty, desperate NASA astronaut whose loneliness when he’s abandoned on Mars after being declared dead by crewmates hits home. We instantly connect with him and find ourselves sitting on the edge of our seats rooting for Damon’s lovable character.

Surprisingly enough, I found myself laughing just as much as I did biting my nails in worry. Damon’s character keeps a video log of his spin on the activities that take place daily and always seem to find a silver lining to keep him going. His determination and good-naturedness keep dire situations from becoming too hard to watch. For instance, Damon finds that he must do what has never been done before and grow foods on Mars when he begins running low on food supplies. In order to do this, he has to use nutrients from, you guessed it, human feces. Without Damon’s humor, I would have been disgusted by his attempts to harvest food. However, scenes like this and others were made tolerable and even absorbed viewers more with its addition of the lengths that the NASA loner must go in order to survive.

I had been afraid the humor and discussion between Damon and others (himself, mostly) would be too advanced for me and others to understand and would detract from viewer interest in the plot. This was not the case, as the video logs put his ingenious inventions into understandable terms. I had pictured it would be similar to Interstellar, with more scientific diction and special effects than I would’ve liked. Call me old-fashioned, but characters and plot are what interest me, not excessive effects. Although both had potential for implausible plots, The Martian found a perfect balance between special effects and drama, with a solution to bring Damon home that was rational enough for viewers to believe in it.
The Martian takes humanity on a journey through compassion towards others, morality, and determination. It makes us see something in ourselves that it took a martian for us to see, and that is how one man can bring hope to the whole world, whether it’s through the big screen or another planet.