Review: ‘The Martian’
Stranded and alone, utterly alone, on the desolate surface of the planet Mars.

Studio promotional image.

Review: ‘The Martian’

Story By: SUSAN SESSA
10/29/2015


Caught in a fierce Martian storm, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead and left behind by his crew.  Although he survives the storm, Watney is now stranded and alone, utterly alone, on the desolate surface of the planet Mars.  This epic of science fiction, based on a book by Andy Weir and directed by Ridley Scott, follows Watney, who is played by Matt Damon, as he struggles to survive in this awesomely hostile environment.

Watney, a botanist, must not only endure physical challenges, but the loneliness and isolation of being the only human on the planet, with everyone he knows and loves believing him to be dead.  As he struggles to survive, his sense of humanity and humor provide moments of levity, which saves him from despair, and the audience as well.  

Refusing to succumb to the terror of his plight, Watney states, “I’m going to science the [expletive] out of this.”  And when, against all odds, he manages to cultivate plants in the arid Martian soil, he triumphantly and incontrovertibly proclaims, “I’m the greatest botanist on the planet!” 

(Note to guys:  you’ll love Watney’s numerous inventive and essential uses for duct tape!)   

Ultimately, after he manages to get a message back to Earth, the efforts that were made to bring him home alive are a testament to the dedication and ingenuity of everyone involved in that project.

Once again, Matt Damon shows what a special actor he is, perfectly anchoring large sections of this film with only his inner monologue and facial expressions.  His star power, personality and intelligence really shine through.  Others in the “galaxy” of stars that play vital roles in this film include Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain (who I first saw in “Jolene”), Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig.

As much as I enjoyed “The Martian,” at two and a half hours it seemed to run a bit long.  But this film is a real reminder of the incredible work that the smartest among us are doing out there, and of the amazing thirst for exploration and knowledge exemplified by the space program. 

I give this movie 3 ½  Raisinettes.

Another note:  With Halloween coming, my friend recommended a great animated film called “Room On The Broom,” which is a wonderful little movie and a great gift for children.

Finally, I’m very pleased to announce that Dreamworks is currently filming my favorite book, “A Dog’s Purpose,” written by W. Bruce Cameron.  It is being directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Hachi,” “Chocolat,” “The Cider House Rules,” “What’s Been Eating Gilbert Grape”) and will star Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson and K.J. Apa, with Bradley Cooper narrating.  I can’t wait to see it!