Life on Mars

By Michaela Buckley

Pack your bags folks, and get ready for one crazy space ride: The Martian is an action-packed adventure from the very start. The film begins when the main character, Mark Watney (Matt Damon), is abandoned on Mars after his crew flees to their ship The Hermes during a storm. Watney gets hit by flying debris and disappears into the storm. His commander, Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), tries to find him before they take off, but leaves assuming he is dead.

Watney wakes up in a mass of dirt and rubble with a steel shard stuck in his side. The shard, as it turns out, is the only thing keeping his suit functioning. Watney is then forced to return to the “Hab” base to basically operate on himself. As an audience member, it’s heart breaking to watch  and I find it very well done and quite believable.

As a botanist, Watney is forced to figure out a way to grow food — on a planet that grows nothing — and ration it for four years until the next mission returns to Mars. Watney creates videos to document his situation and eventually makes contact with mission control. Soon, a plan is underway to bring him home.

The Martian will leave you equal parts breathless and anxious, cheering for Watney at every step of the journey. I do enjoy that it keeps you guessing until the very end of the film. It only heightens one’s anxiety about what will happen next or, better yet, what will go wrong next.

Actually, I was quite the pessimist walking into this movie, thinking I was going to be bored to tears. However, I walked out praising the imagery, acting, and plot. The film had me at my wit’s end trying to figure out how it would finish. Fans of space, thrillers, Matt Damon, and a racing heart should give The Martian a chance — watch this cinematic rollercoaster ride and see for yourself.

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