The Martian (12A)

140 million miles away from Earth five of America’s finest astronauts are forced to abandon their mission on Mars, leaving one man behind.

When a severe sand storm hits the planet it forces the team to cut their expedition short. Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is hit by debris in the midst of the chaos, and presuming that he’s dead, the team scarpers.

However he remarkably survives, much to the surprise of NASA. Watney does his sums and comes to the realisation that it will be at least 4 years before anyone can rescue him, but he’s only got 3 months’ worth of food left.

The esteemed Botanist must find a way to create a way to grow food, because without a sustainable food source he’s never going to make it. After many failed attempts he cracks it and begins to grow his first crop of potatoes. He earns the title of the best botanist on the planet by proxy.

It turns out that growing crops isn’t Watney’s only strong suit. He has an analytical mind, evaluating everything around him, assessing its potential. Soon enough he finds a way to make contact with NASA. They organise to send supplies into orbit for Watney and its all seems to be going peachy keen, until they inform him that his team don’t that he’s alive.

He loses it, and it’s in these moments that we see the real Watney, magnified by his raw emotions. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry at his tough-in-cheek humour. But he needs to keep him cool if he’s going to survive.

Inevitably things go wrong and the American is left without a glimmer of hope. Will his team go back to Earth or save their comrade and risk their lives in the process?

The 3D in this movie is nothing short of spectacular, giving you an all too real insight into life on Mars. The momentary moments of comedy from Watney help to break up what could have been a very somber movie otherwise. They a human element to any otherwise alien feeling storyline.

But The Martian is by no means flawless. It lacks a natural flow and at times, especially in the middle, feels as though it’s dragging its feet somewhat.

The romance between Beck and Johanssen comes out of nowhere, almost as though mid-way through filming they threw the idea into the mix and just sort of went with it. The result being a very confused plot.

The ending was a tad cliché for my liking. Now I’m not going to be that person who spills the beans and ruins the whole thing for you, but when you think how much effort went into the rest of the movie, the ending feels rather rushed.

By Ruth Walker
★★★★☆

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