The Martian

The Martian is a blockbuster movie of 2015, but I was not impressed, though the reviews have generally been favourable with most of these giving a 4 Star rating to the movie.

While the astrophysics and aerodynamics theories can be challenged by the apparently simplistic reduction of the escape of the Martian (played by Matt Damon) from Mars and his eventual capture by the returning parent ship, the movie does make good sense for an appreciating public audience which typically loves impossible heroics and expects the same from the Director, Ridley Scott.

Matt Damon, as usual, does a fantastic job as “The Martian” left behind by his astronaut colleagues. He displays grit, determination, audacity, amusement, and innovative skills in plotting his survival till help comes – which he believes will ultimately come. His belief keeps him going despite accidents, the worst one of which destroys the food he had organically grown. His selfie videos are great – he talks to himself about his experiences every day, and that keeps the movie going !

I would say that the Director has done a good job, though the dialogue sequences within NASA are too long-winded with no apparent intensity to close a pathway to secure Matt Damon from Mars. It falls on an astrophysics researcher to demonstrate to the Director of NASA on the fundamental principle that needs to be leveraged to help save Matt Damon ! Again, one would expect NASA with its vast and unparalleled experience would have solutions for all emergencies, and a procedure to determine if all passengers are on board at least ! There are always three or more levels of backups and redundancies, which does not seem to be the case here. But then, The Martian is just a funny movie.

The vast vistas of Mars are enthralling with its rugged mountains and plains (don’t know where they shot the movie). Great visual impact, and some funny music, combine together to make a movie which one can see at least once. But it is important to figure out if such an escape from Mars is even theoretically feasible. Apparently it is not, most surely in a disused old vehicle which is covered by plastic sheets – come on, this is only laughable.

Overall, I would award only a 3 Star rating to this movie despite all the reviews extolling the virtues of the movie. There are far better movies around, and while the concept of space travel to Mars is gaining ground and the discovery of frozen water is adding some charm to that planet, I think this movie lost its plot while trying to figure out a credible way to get Matt Damon back to earth.

Well, that is my view. I did like the movie for its stunning scenes on Mars.


Vijay Srinivasan

24th October 2015


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