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.
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Doesn't win any points for its trite and obnoxious marketing. But, when it isn't being fluffy or recruiting for NASA, "The Martian" is endearingly optimistic, multinational and multicultural science fiction. As a blockbuster, it's pure formula -- but the filmmakers are about as resourceful and intelligent as their central character, and we seldom notice.
If Prometheus was night, this is day—a celebration of human inquisitiveness and solidarity; rather than warning against the perils of seeking forbidden knowledge. Films like this not only make for great entertainment, but are increasingly vital for impressionable minds. I can easily see a kid pursuing a career in science upon seeing this, just as many scientists today credit Gene Roddenberry as their gateway drug.
"The Martian" is an engineered-to-please summer blockbuster that just so happens to be releasing in the fall. It's as though Ridley Scott realized Noomi Rapace's claustrophobic, anxiety-ridden sequence in the medical pod was "Prometheus'" most successful moment, and decided to explore that brand of space peril in a more optimistic and utopian tale. The result is like a Roland Emmerich movie minus the schmaltz.
A curiously antiseptic Little-Botanist-Who-Could tale that, like the superior Interstellar before it, doubles as a NASA recruitment video, The Martian boasts eye-searing planetscapes that can't make up for its blank lack of interiority or its frustrating failure to bring science to life except as a cartoon of gung-ho can-do moxie. And the running 'disco sucks' joke is, or should be, plenty embarrassing.
Celebrating loneliness, solitary life (and humanity) in a fun and calm way (on the contrary to Gravity). It's simple because the film itself wants to show a simple point of view about one very important thing : SURVIVE your life.
Wtf is wrong with these last few space films? "Gravity", "Interstellar" and now "The Martian": why does everyone always survive... seriously? On a visual and technical level, this is outstanding and I expected nothing less from the man that gave us "Alien", "Blade Runner" and "Prometheus": Scott knows a thing or two about sci-fi films set in space. Storywise and in terms of characters it was boring and unambitious.