Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean
A group of scientists visiting Mars have to leave quickly due to an approaching storm, and mistakenly leave behind a team member whom they thought to be dead, Mark Watney (Damon). Watney begins to adapt to life on Mars, while on Earth NASA slowly discovers that he’s alive and develop a plan to bring him back.
For starters, this film was far funnier than I had thought it was going to be. Part of the enjoyability of the film comes from Mark Watney’s amazing outlook on his dire prospects as well as his determination and resolve, aided by his ironic sense of humour. While being stuck on Mars alone, faced with with the high probability of dying from starvation, I don’t think it would be totally unrealistic to imagine that certain people would embrace the situation with humour while still working hard to find a way out. I think this film portrayed well the natural instinct for survival that human beings have, and so it is not hard to get on board with the plot.
I also liked the number of famous actors that kept appearing- before I saw it I only knew Matt Damon was in it, but now and then someone else would pop up and it would be “ooh it’s that guy from that thing!”. There was also a subtle self-referential joke featuring Sean Bean’s character about Lord of the Rings, which got a chuckle from the nerds in the audience (myself included). Additionally, the shots of space are really cool- not only do we get Mars but also space shuttles orbiting the Earth, and the general vastness of the universe vs. tiny humans moments. I’m not sure how accurate all the sciencey bits are, but I came away having learnt a thing or two about space and, more importantly, how to grow potatoes.
I would say that this is a suitable film for all ages because it’s not too heavy, and the plot is logical and easy to follow. It’s quite long but it goes quickly as there’s never a lull in the action. Overall, easy viewing with an exciting plot.