The Martian

Jays Rating:

Based on the immensely popular book by Andy Weir, an astronaut is stranded on Mars and miraculously survives for several years in the sci-fi thriller, The Martian. During a mission to Mars, a crew of six astronauts is caught in a sudden and deadly dust storm. The ship has to leave in a hurry. When the group tries desperately to make it back to the ship, heavy equipment becomes airborne and slams into botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) and knocks him out leaving his crewmates thinking he is dead. Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) reluctantly decides to leave the planet, not realizing Watney has survived and is being left alone on Mars. (Don’t you hate it when that happens!) With very few supplies and no real radio, Watney finds a way to contact Earth and tell him he is still alive. The head of NASA, Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) immediately begins to put together a rescue and supply mission that will take years. When Commander Lewis and her crew – Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), Rick Martinez (Michael Pena), Alex Vigel (Aksel Hennie) and Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan) – are finally told that Mark is still alive, they put together a plan to go back to Mars and get him. In the meantime on Mars, Watney uses his ingenuity to improve his radio, make water and grow food to live. (He must have watched a lot of MacGyver shows as a kid.) This film jumps right into the action and never lets up. Director Ridley Scott is a master at science fiction movies and he doesn’t disappoint the audience with this one. In fact, this is probably Ridley Scott’s best film in years. It begins as a survivor story then turns into a rescue mission. The plot is straightforward and it’s never too complicating or confusing. Matt Damon is fantastic as the only person on the planet and he keeps the story interesting with his humor and sarcastic dialogue. The movie also has an all-star cast that is fantastic even with limited screen time. One of the astronauts left behind some disco music downloads and old guys like me will really enjoy hearing some golden oldies. Not only was this film enjoyable, but in my opinion – and mine is the one that counts – this is the best film of the year so far. (That’s pretty good considering I couldn’t even see the outer space shots and the surface of Mars in 3D.) I’m giving this outstanding film an A rating.