‘The Martian’ is optimistic as it is exciting

Written by Diego Crespo, Staff Writer

Review Rating: A+

There is no single point during the run-time of The Martian” where the audience will feel Ridley Scott’s survival-space-comedy dragging its feet.

It hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. The thrills are pure and visceral, redefining a modern approach to “edge-of-your-seat” style entertainment.

Based on the book of the same name, The Martian” is a story of adventure, space exploration, and the benefits of human companionship.

Matt Damon leads the movie as Mark Watney, an astronaut stranded on Mars. His wit and ingenuity get him far on the red planet but his devotion to science, engineering, and positive outlook on life are the main reasons why The Martian” is the best Ridley Scott movie in the last decade – and arguably his most important work to date.

Watney’s outlook on his grim situation isn’t blind optimism. He knows he can survive given his knowledge in fields of science. That doesn’t mean the attempts to survive on Mars, a planet where nothing grows, will be simple.

Watney is essentially fighting against a planet the entire movie. But he never gives up and he always uses science to help him in the next step of survival, and therein lies what the movie is ultimately about. The Martian” is a love letter to the field of science.

Scott, however has suffered mixed audience and critical reception to his recent works.

“Prometheus” left some scratching their heads while others claimed it was a near-masterpiece for its flawed ambition.

The Counselor” was a misunderstood study of the effects of violence and cynical discussions on the folly of man.

While, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” was a well directed biblical epic which suffered from whitewashing, miscast actors, and a poor script.

Scott maintained a good eye through his most poorly received movies. All that was missing was a tighter script to let his works feel alive again (though one might argue The Counselor” is worth a second look).

Enter: Drew Goddard. Once Avengers” writer/director Joss Whedon’s secret weapon on his television projects, Goddard has made a name for himself in recent years.

His script polish turned “World War Zinto a movie worth watching and wrote/directed “Cabin in the Woods”, the love letter to literally every horror movie ever.

Goddard’s adapting “The Martian” into a screenplay is one of his strongest works yet. The script’s seamless approach to storytelling leaves the viewer breathless. The comedic beats don’t feel like unnecessary quips but rather help alleviate situations and maintain a healthy balance of comedy and drama.

Science is exciting and space is untapped potential for adventure, though there are dangers in regards to the boundaries of both. “The Martian” never wants you to forget any of those points.

Following in the footsteps of hopeful science fiction from “Gravity” and “Interstellar” in 2013 and 2014, respectively, “The Martian” is one of 2015’s best films. It’s a triumph of science and a testament to the human spirit.

Ridley Scott’s next feature is a sequel to “Prometheus” entitled “Alien: Paradise Lost”.

After lukewarm reception to that franchise’s previous venture, initial reception would have been predicted to be lukewarm. Now, it’s one of the most anticipated works from the acclaimed director.

That’s what “The Martian” is capable of.

*Editorial Note*

Diego Crespo is a film critic who really, really, really likes this film. Follow him on Twitter – @deggowaffles