Sci-fi thriller ‘The Martian’ thrills audiences

Max Asselmeier and Will Roberts

The Martian is a science fiction movie, directed by Ridley Scott, that features Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It depicts the story of the Ares III space mission team who, following a devastating storm that sweeps through Mars, are forced to evacuate the planet. During this commotion, one of the astronauts, Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), is hit by debris, leaving him stranded and  alone on Mars.

As the movie follows Mark Watney’s experience on Mars, viewers see him struggle with survival on the desolate planet; the rest of the Ares III team are shown as well, along with how they cope without Watney. They also get to see how the issue is dealt with back on Earth, primarily at NASA, where the choice must be made to either abandon Watney, or attempt to save him. Characters must overcome challenges, as Mark Watney is confronted with several predicaments such as a lack of food, presenting the threat of starvation, and the difficulty of communicating with NASA.

The Martian does a terrific job of juxtaposing both Watney’s and NASA’s problems relating to his isolation. Watney’s scientific knowledge and ability to overcome constantly appearing threats are put to the test on Mars, and NASA is greatly pressed for time as they rush to solve this dilemma while putting colossal amounts of thought into every decision they make.

Another great aspect of the film is the numerous comedic moments littered throughout the movie, providing comic relief for the intense storyline; Matt Damon does a phenomenal job of playing astronaut Mark Watney, bringing humor to what would otherwise be a dark setting.  

In addition, Jessica Chastain plays the commander of the Ares III team, perfectly capturing the frustration and concern of her character as she leads her team through challenging obstacles. Forced to make decisions that have the potential to save or end the lives of her fellow astronauts, she conveys the stern tone that such a role would demand.

The Martian premiered in the United States of America on Friday, October 2, 2015, and as of October 18, the movie had generated $143.8 million in America alone, and $319.2 million worldwide. The movie also received very positive reviews: IMDb gave it an 8.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes gave a 93% to The Martian, and Metacritic gave it an 81%. The film was also enjoyed by the students here at Glenbard West.

“It’s a very heartfelt movie with great acting by Matt Damon and plenty of comedy relief,” says Michael Burns, junior.

“It was one of the greatest sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a while,” said junior Luke Dell.

Not only has the movie gotten very good reviews, it has been deemed by many to be scientifically accurate throughout most of the story as well. The film itself is actually an adaptation of author Andy Weir’s science fiction novel of the same name. The book is widely considered just as amazing, if not better, than the movie.

When asked if Weir’s novel should be recommended to the students at Glenbard West, librarian Mrs. Cerabona said, “Absolutely! It’s fascinating and a lot of fun to see the wheels turning in Mark’s head and the ideas taking shape. If I ever got stranded in a harsh environment, I’d want him along with me. He’s great!”