We Review: The Martian “A good sci-fi film. Recommended.” MR

The Martian

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The Martian
The Martian film poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by
  • Simon Kinberg
  • Ridley Scott
  • Aditya Sood
  • Michael Schaefer
  • Mark Huffam
Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Based on The Martian
byAndy Weir
Starring
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Dariusz Wolski
Edited by Pietro Scalia
Production
companies
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • September 11, 2015(TIFF)
  • October 2, 2015(United States)
Running time
141 minutes[1]
Country United States[2]
Language English
Budget $108 million[3]
Box office $478.4 million[4]

The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The film is based on Andy Weir‘s 2011 novelThe Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Damon stars as an astronaut who is mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on Mars, and who then fights to survive. The film also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles.

Producer Simon Kinberg began developing the film after 20th Century Foxoptioned the novel in March 2013. Drew Goddard adapted the novel into a screenplay and was initially attached to direct, but the film did not move forward. Scott replaced Goddard, and with Damon in place as the main character, production was green-lit. Filming began in November 2014 and lasted approximately 70 days. Around 20 sets were built on a sound stage in Budapest, Hungary, one of the largest in the world. Wadi Rum in Jordan was also used as a practical backdrop for filming.

The film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2015. 20th Century Fox released the film in theaters in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2015, and in the United States on October 2, 2015. The film was released in 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and 4DX.[5] The film has grossed over $478 million worldwide, becoming Scott’s highest-grossing film to date, and has received highly positive reviews.

Plot

In the year 2035,[6]the crew of Ares III, a manned mission to Mars, has established a temporary artificial habitat, called the Hab, on Mars, where they are staying for 31 Martian days, or sols, and depart back to Earth in their orbital probe. Eighteen sols into the Mars mission, however, the crew is forced to abandon the planet to escape a massive Martian storm. While evacuating, astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead as his biomonitor is damaged. With the lives of her crew at stake, mission commander Melissa Lewis is forced to leave the planet rather than risk the launch vehicle collapsing, leaving Watney behind.

Ares 3mission landing site
(Acidalia Planitia region)
Mark Watney’s route on Mars

Watney is unable to contact NASA, and presumed dead by the crew and mission control. However, Watney awakes to the sound of a low oxygen warning and makes his way back to the Hab, though injured. After performing self-surgery to remove a piece of antenna wire impaled in his stomach, Watney speculates the broken wire is what damaged his biomonitor and is the cause of the communication failure, while the coagulation of blood and the wire itself kept the suit sealed and pressurized. After calculating that he has 300 sols of food, he uses his knowledge as a botanist to make a makeshift organic potato farm using the central room of the Hab, anticipating that he will need to survive for at least three years and journey to the landing site of Ares IV (around 1480 sols), which already has some of its infrastructure on Mars. He keeps a series of video logs to maintain morale and begins to modify the habitat’s rover to make it capable of long journeys.

While reviewing satellite photos of Mars, Mars mission director Vincent Kapoor and satellite planner Mindy Park realize that Watney has survived, and immediately start planning to establish contact. Mitch Henderson, the Hermes flight director, immediately assumes the Ares III crew, who are currently traveling back to Earth aboard the spacecraft Hermes, will be informed of the survival of their crewmate. However, NASA director Teddy Sanders believes the crew must instead focus on their own mission, especially since NASA has no viable rescue plan in place at the time. Watney locates the Pathfinder probe, defunct since 1997, and uses it to regain contact with Earth. Watney and the JPL team use the Pathfinder’s camera and signs showing the hexadecimal alphabet using the ASCII code to improve efficiency of communications. Later on, using instructions from NASA, Watney modifies his rover to be able to send and receive text messages to and from NASA.

As Watney continues to grow his crop, Henderson and JPL director Bruce Ng formulate a plan to send a space probe to Mars and resupply Watney with enough food to allow him to survive until Ares IV can reach him. As the launch date approaches, an increasingly optimistic Sanders authorizes them to tell the crew, and they are informed in a video message from Henderson. After being told the launch window will run out before inspections can be completed, Sanders makes the decision to skip inspections to save time and hope for the best. This decision backfires when the probe explodes shortly after liftoff. Watney suffers his own disaster when the airlock on the habitat explosively decompresses, killing his potatoes and reducing his projected supply of food.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) offers NASA a lifeline: a classified booster that can carry a payload to Mars. Rich Purnell, a JPL astrodynamicist, discovers a method of rescuing Watney using the booster and the Hermes, postponing their return to Earth. They can send the rocket to Mars, arriving barely in time to resupply Watney, or instead use the rocket to resupply the Hermes so that the Ares III crew can return to Mars and recover Watney. Sanders insists on sending the probe to resupply Watney. Someone (presumably Henderson or Purnell) sends the Hermes crew the necessary calculations to put them on the gravitational slingshot back to Mars. Lewis and her crew vote unanimously to rescue Watney themselves. NASA successfully resupplies the Hermesand Lewis’s crew begins the return journey.

Our Thoughts:

A really entertaining sci-fi flick. I think we all wish there was a significant space program. Ideas like these are key. Life imitates art, or so they say. This one held my attention raptly, even though the science was stretched beyond reality. This was a very good sci-fi film. Recommended. 4 stars, and highly recommended. MR

Find The Martian and see the new trailer here.

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About twittersfantasyebookguide

We watch and review fantasy and Sci-Fi movies. (Both new releases and classics via - Amazon Streaming) We also tweet about fantasy genre news from across the blogosphere. Follow us @WizardWyrm on twitter. View all posts by twittersfantasyebookguide

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