‘The Martian’: Out of this World

The fictional Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi movie, The Martian premiered in theatres on Friday October 2nd.  Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weirs, this outer space adventure is far from boring.  Screenwriter Drew Goddard and director Ridley Scott excellently portray the main idea of the story – focusing on the “Bring Him Home” goal.  The film follows astronaut Mark Watney, played by fan-favorite Matt Damon, throughout his lonesome journey on Mars.

Mark Watney arrives to planet Mars, 50 million miles from Earth, with a crew of other astronauts aboard spacecraft Ares 3.  Only 18 sols (or days, in non-astronaut language) into their manned mission, an extreme storm hits their camp on Mars and trouble rises.  Watney is struck by debris flying at an innumerable rate, and his crew presumes him to be dead.  Mission commander Melissa Lewis makes the ultimate decision to save the rest of her crew.  After a brief search for Watney, Lewis returns to the spacecraft and initiates an emergency departure.  Surprisingly enough, Watney survives the dust storm with his only injury stemming from an antenna puncture through his spacesuit.  Watney wobbles back to camp and fixes himself up by cleaning and stapling his wound – preparing himself for life as the only man on an entire planet.

Unbeknownst to some, a crew of astronauts often holds many different skills.  Watney, for example, is a trained botanist and makes great use of his talents in order to extend his food supply.  Considering the crew of Ares 3 made an unplanned, extremely early departure, Watney has the remainder of their total food supply to fuel his survival.  Knowing that sole nourishment would not last him long enough to receive help, Watney creates a meal plan, rations his food, and creates his own garden.  He uses the vacuumed human waste from the campsite toilet, his own creation of H2O, and the potatoes that were to be saved for Thanksgiving.  This garden creation allows him to live for much longer than expected.  Watney now has potatoes, the busywork of a garden, and some tacky 70’s music left behind by Commander Lewis to fill up the time of his deserted days.

Watney documents his progress through a video journal – unsure whether he will live or if anyone will ever see his camera blogs.  It seems as if his isolation will slow him down, but he announces, “I will not die here.”  Thankfully enough, a sharp-eyed analyst from NASA notices the movement of his equipment on Mars through satellite photos.  This realization sparks a desperate need for communication.  Shortly after this discovery, authorities at NASA come to contact with Watney through an old camera and a written messaging system.  Technicians from NASA talk Watney through various steps to help him gain greater access to communication.  They guide him through his gardening and limit his food intake in order to make his survival and return to Earth more achievable.

In the meantime, the rest of the Ares 3 crew continues their 10-month journey back to Earth.  While they travel through space, Watney communicates with individuals at NASA to figure out a master plan.  This plan requires enormous amounts of money, over-time work, and quick thinking.  Many different plans are drawn up and some, unfortunately, fail.  For months, the Ares 3 crew is not informed of Watney’s well-being.

Through trial-and-error and much stress, Mark Watney’s life is back in the hands of his crew.  They are his only chance.  They learn of his livelihood and make the executive decision to turn around for him.  With limited equipment and fuel, they add nearly 900 total days of space travel in an attempt to save their friend and colleague.

This adaptation of Weirs’s novel gives life and excitement to Watney’s journey.  The nail-biting eagerness for what will happen next never ends.  Now a “Space Pirate,” Mark Watney is given the ultimate test of survival in his time on Mars.  He is required to use his knowledge to make ends meet.  His life depends on his intelligence and perseverance.

According to The Rolling Stone, “You won’t find a space epic that’s more fun to geek out at than The Martian.”  The Martian is now available at the Country Club Mall Cinemas.  Show times can be found at www.goldenstartheaters.com/country-club-mall-cinemas/ .

Photo courtesy of Newsweek.com
Photo courtesy of Newsweek.com
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