Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

Christina Mitchell, Business Manager • cbmitchell16@ehc.edu

The Martian is currently my favorite movie. While it is not entirely scientifically accurate, it is still an awesome movie about the fight for survival while still maintaining a funny tone throughout. The movie is everything that space movies should aspire to be: exciting, funny, intense, and not distracted by a romantic subplot. This movie was deep enough to provoke thought but not so deep that it dulled the laughs that were involved.

One of my favorite parts of this movie was the few moments when there were actually interactions with the full crew of the Ares 3. The crew was made up of the Commander, Lewis who was previously in the Navy and was not at all intimidated by the mission to Mars or the fact that she was the first woman to command an Ares mission. She’s the kind of character little girls should aspire to be like.

Another crew member was Vogel, a German chemist who left a wife and children home to be part of the mission. He later retired from being an astronaut to spend more time with his family.

We also had astronaut Johanssen, the tech genius of the crew. She was the one who made it possible for the crew to make the return trip to Mars.

There was also the pilot, Martinez, who was formerly Air Force and Watney’s best friend. The two of them were bantering whenever the movie showed them interacting.

Then, there is my personal favorite, Dr. Beck. Beck was the flight surgeon and had the most experience in space since he had already done multiple tours on the International Space Station.

Last but not least, we had the main character, Mark Watney. Watney was the botanist, which ended up being crucial for his survival on Mars until the crew was able to return and rescue him.

The movie centered around Watney as he wakes up after a storm to find that the rest of the crew had aborted the mission and believed him to be dead. Watney is forced to come up with a plan for survival, rationing the food that the crew had left and using ingenuity and his “botany powers” to grow potatoes to help him survive.

At this point I must put on a disclaimer, farming potatoes with Martian soil and human waste isn’t exactly believable. I mean, we all know that nothing can grow on Mars. Botany powers or not, Watney wouldn’t have reasonably been able to grow the potatoes. However, for the sake of my love for this movie we’ll keep moving on along.

A wonderful part of the movie was when NASA looked at the satellite pictures and found out he was actually alive- only to watch him for a while because they had no way to communicate. However, Watney’s ingenuity struck again when he retrieved the long since dysfunctional Pathfinder probe that allowed him to communicate with NASA, and consequently later on, the crew. Now the part that always ticks me off at this point is that NASA had been watching Watney for over two months before they told the crew he was actually alive. I mean, come on NASA, that’s just a really bad move. He is their friend, they deserved to know he was alive. They were, of course, devastated that they had left him but as soon as the option was presented to them they changed the course of Hermes and went back, ultimately saving his life.

This movie is actually way deeper than this article does it justice, and also way funnier. Between the banter between Martinez and Watney and the disco music, it was a great time. It’s great if you want to think or if you just want a laugh. I highly recommend this movie whether you’re an aspiring astronaut or just a casual movie goer.

The scientific facts don’t need to be perfect for this movie because the plot is really solid. My only thing about it is that it should’ve had more crew interaction. I really wanted to see more of the crew and how they handled everything. Focusing on Watney was a great move but the crew should’ve had a bit more screen time.

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