Thursday, October 01, 2015

'The Martian' Is Set on Becoming a Sci-Fi Classic; Deserves Oscar Nominations

The Martian is the big screen adaptation of the science fiction novel of the same name written by Andy Weir.  It features an all-star cast headlined by Matt Damon on the lead role, and is directed by Sir Ridley Scott (whose reputable works include the sci-fi classics Alien and Blade Runner).

The movie tells the story of Mark Watney – a NASA astronaut, botanist, and mechanical engineer – who is part of the Ares 3 mission to Mars, and presumed dead and left behind by his crewmates after a strong storm forced them to evacuate.  Despite the harsh environment and having limited resources, the stranded Watney refuses to give up and embrace death, relying on his scientific know-how and technical skills to fight for survival day in, day out, while hoping for rescue.

Considering the dire circumstance of the premise, the movie is surprisingly optimistic and funny, for the central character Watney – as what was mentioned in the last paragraph – is someone that refuses to give up.  He faces every disheartening situation with admirable positivity and a sense of humor.  When things go wrong, he quips about it and then gets his head together to figure out a way around the problem.  This does not mean he never becomes depressed and lonely – he does – but he simply never stops struggling and willing himself forward as much as he can.  He’s basically how Spider-Man – a character known for his constant optimism, tenacity, intelligence, and wit – will be if Spider-Man gets stuck in Mars.  And, thus, just like Spidey, I find Mark Watney an extremely lovable and inspiring character.

Nevertheless, despite the big dose of optimism and humor, the movie never fails in keeping the weight of how dismal and scary the scenario is hanging in the air.  There’s always the sense of dread and suspense.  And whenever tension is required, the direction and narrative execution work impeccably in building and releasing it.  The climax is particularly breathtaking and heart-pumping.

The Martian is an all-around well-crafted movie.  It has gorgeous-looking visuals; a smart, well-paced, and immensely entertaining story; a balanced delivery of laughs and thrills; and a wonderfully feel-good message.  Acting (as expected from the caliber of such brilliant cast), direction (a return to form for Ridley Scott after Exodus: Gods and Kings), cinematography, writing – every single detail is terrific.  I don’t think those guys in the Academy will give this movie its due, but I believe that this movie deserves to receive several nominations.  

If this movie has any flaws, I deem them too small to be worth mentioning here.

All in all – if it isn’t obvious yet – I tremendously love The Martian.  Not only is it one of the best films of the year, but it has the makings of an eventual classic.

No comments: