So We Finally Saw The Martian

One of our ways to save money is to get DVDs from the library.  While the selection is not as large as something like Netflix, our library system does a good job of getting fairly current releases.

We loved it.  For those who don’t remember what this movie was about, an astronaut, played by Matt Damon, is left behind when his fellow astronauts have to make an emergency evacuation from Mars.  Because of an equipment failure, they believe he is dead, and grieve the loss of a compatriot.

Mark Watney, Damon’s character, wakes injured and alone on a planet that could kill him hundreds of ways.  He still has all the equipment left behind, which includes a small amount of food.  But the shelter was built to last days, not months or years, and the supplies are scant.  The rest of the movie is a beautiful suspense ride, both on Mars and Earth, as Watney struggles to survive and NASA realizes that they have unwittingly left a man behind.

Since I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t had a chance to see it, I won’t go into detail.  But I will say that if you have someone in your family who loves science, make sure they see this movie.  Time after time, Watney’s science knowledge is what saves his life.  He is a botanist, but he has wide-ranging skills in math, chemistry and physics as well, just the sort of education you would expect an astronaut to have.  Every science nerd will feel a cry of joy in their heart when they see Watney lay out his technical challenges, then say, “I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

The most stirring part of the movie is Watney’s refusal to give up.  It would be easy for someone in that position to just walk outside the shelter and end it all, but he faces each challenge as it comes.  And since his life could be described as ‘one damn thing after another’, there are a lot of challenges.  But while the movie primarily focuses on Matt Damon, the rest of the cast did a great job, too.  From his fellow astronauts’ grief and anger to the frustration and exhaustion of NASA and the tech companies working with them, the reactions were natural and the acting spot on.  I particularly liked Sean Bean’s character, who fiercely fights for the both Watney and the right of the other astronauts to be informed of the plans for rescue.

You don’t have to a science fan to enjoy this movie.  The suspense, the triumphs, and the danger are enough to pull anyone into this story of one man’s fight to come home.  The Martian gets the Poor House seal of approval.

This was originally posted on my old blog, Middle Class Poor.

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