Film Review: The Martian

by Evan Brown

Rated M. Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig. Directed by Ridley Scott.

“Bring Him Home”

I remember once when I was eight years old my mother left me in K-Mart by accident.  I can still remember the pain, the despair and the deep feeling of abandonment.  Where did she go? Was she ever coming back?  Will I have to live in K-Mart forever?

In all my life experience I can only assume this is what astronaut Mark Watney felt as he discovered he was left behind on Mars… Maybe not.

Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel The Martian, Ridley Scott is back behind the director’s helm. The Martian is the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) who whilst on a manned mission to Mars is left behind and presumed dead after a freak storm accident.  Now with little food, little oxygen and no communication Watney must rely on his ingenuity and craftiness to stay alive until rescue arrives.

As Watney and NASA try attempt after attempt to keep him alive the question “how much is one man really worth?” is raised again and again. This question reminds me of Jesus and the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Luke 15:4-6:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them.  Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”

Our God is a personal God.  He cares for you on a very personal scale and His value of you is immeasurable, so much so that He sacrificed His only son to ensure your safety.  There is no price higher than what Jesus has paid for you through His death.

Although much of The Martian is very serious, Scott does a wonderful job of balancing suspense and lighter moments through Damon’s humour and charm.  This doesn’t offset the impact of what Scott is trying to portray, but creates a more enjoyable film whilst still maintaining a sense of urgency.  It’s kind of like a more fun version of Gravity.  Ridley Scott fans will appreciate the slight homages to Alien and Prometheus with all too familiar spacesuits and Nostromo-esque spaceships.  There is an all-star lineup in this film (no Sigourney Weaver though), which is expected with all Ridley Scott films.  It was also really great to finally watch a movie where Sean Bean doesn’t die (not really a spoiler).

So the big question remains – “Will The Martian be a Ridley Scott timeless masterpiece like Blade Runner or Alien or will it be a Ridley Scott forgettable like Robin Hood or Kingdom of Heaven?” I’ll let you be the judge of that. But I’m giving The Martian four out of five stars.

The Martian releases in Australian cinemas on Thursday 1st October, and in US cinemas on Friday 2nd October.

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