The Martian: A realistic interplanetary hangover

It is a roller-coaster ride, a risky expedition and an enjoyable sensation that will keep you glued to the screen.

Tanveer Khadim October 11, 2015
The Martian is a larger-than-life interplanetary fable of survival, filled with full throttle performances and spine-tingling realism. It has been infused with intellectual and poignant arguments, asking gargantuan questions about man versus nature on Mars.

Director and producer Ridley Scott’s most striking work yet – nominated for three Academy Awards, two Golden Globe, two BAFTA Awards and best known for his extremely intense visual style creations such as the sci-fi Blade Runner (1982), Gladiator (2000) and Black Hawk Down (2001) – is evidently influenced by Cast Away (2000) and Apollo 13 (1995).

It has some of the most awe-inspiring outer-space landscapes, unforgettable experiences about life and the human spirit. It makes you truly think about whether you would risk your life for the sake of another human being. It’s a scrupulously realistic interplanetary hangover.

Photo: IMDb

Based on Andy Weir’s 2011 self-published sci-fi novel of the same name, The Martian is a fast, funny, and nerve-racking intense tale, and let’s face it, that’s all a moviegoer wants from a script. Scott and screenwriter, Drew Goddard, covered a manned spacecraft mission to Mars to collect testers and samples – but halted with confusion when an intense storm blows in.

Photo: IMDb

One of the six astronauts, Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, is badly hit by flying splinters and lost in the windstorm. After all his connections go silent, team commander Melissa Lewis, played by Jessica Chastain, sensing the risk factor for her other five astronauts; decides to abort their mission and leave Mars, presuming Watney’s dead.

Luckily, Watney survived with damaged communication devices. He’s incapable to contact NASA on Earth and had realised that any rescue mission is out of the question for next few years, he used his first-hand knowledge as a botanist for a survival plan – planting potatoes by using human waste as fertiliser in non-natural environment of Mars. He also saves a series of video logs just to retain self-esteem and optimism, while counting the solar days. He constantly tackles one seemingly undefeatable hindrance after the next and good-naturedly mumbles,
“I’m not going to die here…”

Here on Earth, NASA experts, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels, review some satellite photos and concluded that Watney has survived, on the basis of life signs. They immediately tried to establish contact with him by using an old satellite and vigorously worked to discover a quicker way of reaching Mars before Watney starves to death.

Photo: IMDb

While NASA is in a relentless mayhem like situation, stranded scientist Watney who talks endlessly to himself with a smiling face, uses all his time to find a way to live and thrive with the limited resources available. Covering some miles each day, he continues his voyage to the old landing location of Ares IV, which has particular infrastructure somewhere on the red planet.

Photo: IMDb

The movie is about energetic individuals working together to solve unfathomable complications and succeeding, along with the symbolic exploration of one’s soul – all in a composed and witty, and maybe most sincerest manner.

Matt Damon has a terrific role, not as a film’s crusader, but as a side-splitting skilful man. He delivers relaxed camaraderie throughout the lengthy scenes when he's unaccompanied. His physical attributes make Watney's competency utterly convincing. You will appreciate his hopefulness when he declares,
“I’m going to have to science the s--- out of this.”

Photo: IMDb

The other characters are appropriately casted and performed well, as per the demand of the energetic plot. Jeff Daniels, who played the role of NASA’s director, always inclines to mention the realistic and moral issues besieging Watney’s dilemma – all the must-be-debated concerns to be addressed.

Apart from the outstanding performance of Damon, the credit must be given to scriptwriter Goddard for embellishing the anecdote’s fast pace with lots of waggishness, get-up-and-go style vitality and digestible scientific attitude without being too naïve. Watney's sense of humour preserves the plot from being austere or mind numbing.

Photo: IMDb

Scott’s The Martian presents the outlook in a stunning yet mundane manner simultaneously. It finds equilibrium, permitting only the infrequent drop of over-clarification, trite and sentimental ideas, as well as slapstick.

The Martian’s architects pick up the pace while maintaining the novel’s theme and reflection for scientific findings, introspective mathematics, empirical indication, along with economic, social, and practical knowledge.

They adorn it with attention-grabbing visuals and Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography for instance the extra-terrestrial wind and lingering shots for melodramatic scenery of Mars, through deserted and captivating details.

According to a NASA scientist Josh K Willis, there is one flaw in the movie, Mars is infamous for strong dust-storms,
“Mars does have storms, but they’re just not as violent as depicted in the movie. There is wind, but there are not these giant violent storms that can knock over spaceship.”

All in all, The Martian is an awesome 141 minutes excursion that will take you deep into the vastness of cosmos and far into the gigantic topography of cognisance. It's not certainly about Mars’ scientific discoveries, instead, it is a farfetched survival tale full of hope and the influential effects loneliness can have on even the toughest and robust intellects.

It is a brilliant roller-coaster ride, slightly melancholic, a risky expedition and an enjoyable sensation that will engage your interest and keep you glued to the screen till the end. I highly recommend it.

I would rate The Martian a four out of five stars.
Tanveer Khadim An avid reader, freelance writer and a blogger, Tanveer is pursuing fashion designing. She has a passion for cooking, attended cookery courses and tweets as @TheFusionDiary (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Faisal | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend it is more beautiful film than Tom Hanks Castaway. Space related issues have been answered in a logical way.
Alam Taufeeq | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend The film has a heavily researched script and because of this it has emerges as a far more entertaining and good piece of film making.
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