The admirably accessible, deep-space offspring of GRAVITY, CAST AWAY, APOLLO 13 and 127 HOURS, THE MARTIAN is a briskly-paced and whip-smart big screen delight. It’s a gold standard testament to old school, high tech film making – a cinematic experience where masterful storytelling sensibilities collide with gorgeous visuals and effortless, popcorn munching fun! Director Ridley Scott – with, arguably, his most audience friendly film to date – has assembled a dream team of actors: Damon, in a seemingly dire situation, turns in an engagingly sure-footed performance forged of wit and wisdom; while the supporting cast (Daniels, Ejiofor, Chastain, Mara, Pena, Bean and Glover) rigorously navigates the compelling tides of NASA’s terra firma-bound bureaucratic soup. …and the ‘should they rescue him/can they rescue him’ ping-ponging is endlessly compelling. Trying to make-do on Mars, THE MARTIAN – with ample amounts of head smarts, heart and humor – is the type of film that puts the ‘science’ in ‘science fiction’. In fact, (coupled with its starry-eyed special effects) its upbeat themes on perseverance, ingenuity, communications, problem-solving and teamwork are so refreshingly sincere that I definitely plan on sharing this film with my three, game-for-any-movie-that-takes-place-in-outer-space children (ages 10, 8 and 5). Easily one of the best films of the year, this exhilaratingly scientific MacGyver-on-Mars (#MarsGyver?) charmer is out of this world!
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, Kristen Wiig, Sebastian Stan and Sean Bean
Directed by: Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN and GLADIATOR)
Running time: 2hr. 14min.
Story: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Based on the best-selling novel. (C) Fox