“The Martian” captures America

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The Martian could easily be renamed as America Spending Lots of Money Trying to Save Matt Damon…Again. This botanist is determined to colonize Mars with his potatoes, from using his own feces to fertilize plants, to digging up stored radiation. Alone in the barren wasteland, he is reduced to one instinct: Survival.

A classic tale of survival in a foreign land, it shows Mark Watney (Matt Damon) being the first man to do… everything on Mars. He’s climbing, kicking rocks and growing crops– Watney is definitely an all-purpose man. The film spans two hours and fourteen minutes. It keeps people engaged by introducing new problems steadily, along with Watney’s sarcastic humor. In the meantime, NASA faces an uncomfortable question, “How far are we willing to go, to save one person?”

When NASA repeatedly fails, it’s up to his loyal crew to save him. They face a mission increase of over 200 days to save their stranded friend. In the climax of the moment, emotional video calls are made, mutiny against NASA completed, and they are off.

The costumes are authentic, able to sustain the icy Moab that is Mars. Base camp, mission control, and the mission shuttle are all fashioned with the latest NASA tech. The musical score was far from John Williams perfection. Light years from memorable, it weakened the emotional impact of Watney’s struggle significantly. As if the hostile seclusion isn’t enough to unhinge a man, Watney only has access to one type of music: Disco. He panics with Disco.

Not long after the film blasts off, the audience is treated to a graphic scene. One of the antennas punctures Watney. The only solution? Removing it himself. The overdramatic, intensified groans and wheezing goes to show that the brutality of Mars is far from merciful. The plot fell victim to foreseeable problems. NASA tallies up his food, and reports he can survive on his meager potatoes. Moments later Watney is devastated, confirming the audiences’ haunches. The Martian includes the rush of the Earthlings to devise a rescue plan. Their stress is juxtaposed with Watney’s isolation as he survives on puny potatoes.

Watney attempts to be a YouTube vlogger, documenting his ordeal with logs. His rations dwindle as his body reduces to a bony frame. Every fiber of his being donated to survival. He makes a dramatic trek across Mars, stopping every several hours to recharge his solar panels.

From painful Interstellar parallels to being shot into space inside a convertible, this film is sure to entertain. The botanist attempts to become a chemist, succeeding in creating water. Only before blowing himself up first. Melodramatic and filled with struggle on all sides, drawing viewers in. The colorful language takes emotional baggage off of the audience. It is overall an enjoyable film to view with friends, or family.