Mark Watney’s (Matt Damon) fellow astronauts, Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), Rick Martinez (Michael Pena), Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), and Alex Vogel (Aksel Hennie), leave him behind on Mars thinking that he is dead after facing a fierce storm. Because of a minimal amount of supplies, Watney must used his smarts and his spirit to find a way to survive. Meanwhile, on Earth, members of NASA along with a team of international scientists must work hard to bring him home while his fellow astronauts must come up with their own plan for a rescue mission.
One thing I liked about this film is that it didn’t take itself too seriously. This film tries to be many things, a sci-fi film, a drama, and has quite a surprising amount of comedic moments to lighten things up. What I liked about that was they never felt out of place in the context of whatever was happening at the time. I also thought it did all of these very well without overdoing any of them as well. This is all thanks to the great story here with a lot of realistic and accurate (as far as I know) depictions of science and science-y stuff. In essence, it focuses on a man’s fight for survival and to return home to his family and also the exploits in where the people on Earth must go through in order to try to bring him back. The film presented this in a very straightforward way with Watney cobbling things together to prolong his survival and the various factions of people below working together to build all of these things in order to help him. The film goes about this in a very captivating way with Matt Damon’s performance as Mark Watney and the great script and dialogue. Watney’s positive attitude about getting out of his predicament was quite infectious as despite everything that was happening to him, he still kept trying. What makes his performance even better was that I don’t think it would have been the same if here were played by someone else. From his successes to his failures, there was always some comedy to be had because of it. Because of it, you would sometimes forget that he was still on Mars. The film did not miss a beat when it focused on the people on Earth. The story remained captivating then because of the great sharp dialogue and all of the supporting performances by Chastain and also by Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kappoor. I thought the music in the background kept viewers in the mood but never overpowered the scene. The film had some good pacing as everything flowed nicely and the editing left nothing that felt unnecessary and you forget that the film is just over two hours long as the time just flies by. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned the visuals yet because they were beautiful as they really captured the barren landscape that is Mars and the space stuff isn’t Gravity or Interstellar quality but it was pretty good too. Sure the story got silly a few times but I didn’t mind. The film also had a running gag (that I will not spoil) that I also enjoyed. Overall. I did not think I could find a film that I would like more than Ex Machina but I am happy to have been proven wrong in this instance.