"The Martian" by Yojimbo
Yojimbo - wrote on 03/01/16
An astronaut is assumed dead after an accident on the surface of Mars and faced with a lonely death in a hostile world, he sets about taking his fate into his own hands. Robinson Crusoe meets Apollo 13 in this "triumph of the human spirit" style drama from Ridley Scott, although his approach to the story is rather different from his usual intellectualized, "arty" norm. It has a broad streak of warm humour that counterpoints the desperation of the character's situation that really makes you root for him in his quest for survival. The film of course looks fantastic, with an obvious desire for authenticity that makes the production design pure science porn. There is a message in the story in the subtext of humanity's taking for granted the natural world that feeds and sustains us but the point is never laboured; the story is more a fable of the pioneer spirit of space travel and how any obstacle can be overcome with ingenuity and courage. The climax of the story when the rescue mission is attempted provides the necessary tension that clearly feels the influence of Gravity - although unlike that film, The Martian thankfully includes a plot. I felt its one weakness was the fact that the light hearted tone that sustains the rest of the film compromises the suspense of the finale; it's just a little too cosy in following the feel good formula, meaning that you never really sense that the characters are in any real danger. This however only prevents The Martian from being a great film, rather than a good one; it is a funny, attractive and entertaining film that makes the most of its star's eminent likeability.