The Martian: A Golden Globe-Winning Story of Survival
The thought of being stranded alone on a deserted island or in a foreign country is scary enough – now imagine being stranded on an entirely different planet all by yourself. Yeah, basically the most terrifying idea ever. But this doesn’t seem to be the mindset of astronaut Mark Watney, who ends up in this exact situation in The Martian.
The movie starts out with Mark and his team collecting samples on Mars, when a huge storm suddenly hits. The team has to quickly get to an emergency launch site, but when Mark is injured and doesn’t make it back, his team assumes he is dead and takes off without him. This is where Mark’s real adventure begins – he has to learn to survive on Mars with very few resources and no human companionship.
Basically, Mark Watney is the most ingenious human there ever was, and he’s exactly the kind of person you’d want to get stuck on a foreign planet with. He says very early on in the movie, “I’m not gonna die here”, and from that point on, he uses every bit of strength and brainpower he has to stay alive. He has to go through a bunch of trials like learning to grow his own food on Mars, a planet thought to be impossible to cultivate, and figuring out how to make water. MAKE it. I’m so jealous of this guy’s intelligence.
I can’t even imagine how lonely it would be up there. You literally have no one to talk to, no one to interact with in any way. I think I’d pull a Tom Hanks in Castaway and make myself a Wilson.
Mark does a really good job at staying positive throughout the movie though, which really shows his character. He doesn’t let anything get him down, not even for a day…which is also one of my biggest criticisms of the movie. I think that he should have gone through some sort of an emotional struggle. It seemed like it was more of a camping trip than a survival mission to him, so that aspect was a bit unrealistic. Despite this, you really do get emotionally invested in his character, because he’s fun-loving and quirky and is so incredibly determined to make it out alive.
The depiction of Mars’ terrain is super cool, and looks very otherworldly. I was curious about where these shots were filmed so I did a bit of research. They were done in a place called Wadi Rum in Jordan, which is also known as The Valley of the Moon. Clearly this place is widely known for looking like it’s from another planet! The wide establishing shots used of this place really emphasized Mark’s isolation and set the tone effectively.
One other thing I really enjoyed was being able to see the inner workings of NASA, even if they were being incredibly dramatized for the film. That’s a world that many kids always dream about seeing or experiencing one day but never actually get to, so it was great to be able to have a glimpse of what it may be like.
I have to say that the cast in this movie was fantastic. Matt Damon obviously did an incredible job as Mark Watney – so incredible, in fact, that he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy last night! Although I don’t know if I’d primarily classify The Martian as a comedy, Damon definitely deserved recognition for this film. Mark Watney’s entire “crew” in the movie was also great, especially the commander, who was played by Jessica Chastain. It was also interesting to see Kristen Wiig play a serious role as Annie Montrose, an employee at NASA. I thought she did a really good job! Donald Glover, who you may know as rapper Childish Gambino or as Troy from the show Community, also played a small role in the movie, as did Jeff Daniels, who I know primarily from Dumb and Dumber (sorry Jeff). The cast was stacked, which made this movie incredibly fun to watch and very engaging.
All in all, this was a movie filled with action, laughs, and an all-star cast and leading man. There’s a definite sense of adventure and uncertainty throughout the whole thing, which is engaging but kind of unsettling too – it creates a whole lot of tension, so prepared to be on the edge of your seat for a few of the most intense parts! I would recommend this film to anyone who ever dreamed of being an astronaut, or anyone who simply enjoys a riveting film about perseverance and what it really takes to survive.
Catch The Martian on on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from Jan. 12th to May 31st, 2016.