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The Martian

October 1, 2015 by Alison Bailes divider image

Recent findings of water on Mars may be thrilling for NASA scientists but have come too late for astronaut Mark Watley (Matt Damon) who finds himself stranded on a dusty planet with a serious hydration problem in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi survival thriller “The Martian”. Working from Andy Weir’s hugely popular, self-published “geeky” novel, Scott adds […]


Recent findings of water on Mars may be thrilling for NASA scientists but have come too late for astronaut Mark Watley (Matt Damon) who finds himself stranded on a dusty planet with a serious hydration problem in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi survival thriller “The Martian”. Working from Andy Weir’s hugely popular, self-published “geeky” novel, Scott adds to a growing pantheon of survivalist cinema. Replace Watney’s space suit with rags (“Cast Away”) or jaunty boating sweaters (“All is Lost”) or er… a space suit (“Gravity”) and we have the bones of a well-tested formula onto which a gripping, white-knuckle human story can be crafted.

That’s not to say that “The Martian” is reductive or redundant. It manages to exist well within genre parameters, while also blasting through them with ingenuity and some well-placed comedy. A lot of the humor comes from the character of Watney, an unflappable mechanical engineer/botanist who’s on Mars to collect rock samples. Luckily he’s trained in the two areas that will save his life: fixing things and growing plants. Continue reading


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