'The Martian' - A Cleverly Disguised Sci-Fi

Updated on September 20, 2018
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

In the 2016 The Hollywood Reporter Oscar roundtable, several directors (Tarantino, Iñarritu, Boyle) discussed the different ways they deal with the stress and complications of a film set. When the turn came to Ridley Scott, he proclaimed with an overwhelming, almost arrogant, certainty that making movies didn't create any kind of tension for him.

“I’m strategist. This is physically pretty straightforward. You watch the problem coming out on the horizon and you knock its head off before it gets near you.” The moderator insisted, “What was your toughest challenge on The Martian?”

“None. It was pretty straightforward."

It's easy to understand how Scott, after reading the screenplay adaptation by the great Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost, The Cabin in the Woods) of the successful Andy Weir novel, quickly decided to take the creative reins of the project. The Martian, through its protagonist Mark Watney (Matt Damon), is a fantastic tale about planning. Mark, like Scott, is a strategist who is confronted with one of the greatest adversities any human can face, decides to not lose his composure, plan his course of action, do the work, and attack the obstacles that arise one by one.

Imagine a biopic-docudrama, like Ron Howard's Apollo 13, but with a greater dose of humor. Now understand that this is a science fiction film based on Mars. That’s The Martian, a story so well told that you can easily forget that we are still more than a decade away from even having the possibility of making the first manned trip to the red planet.

The success of The Martian is due to a mixture of factors. First, and most important, is that the topic of colonizing Mars is undoubtedly (unless aliens invade us in the next ten years) the next step that will change our scientific paradigm, so our imagination is already predisposed to that future "fact."

Then there's the technical rigor with which the project was attacked. With constant collaboration from NASA, every decision and plot-twist in the story were consulted and designed in the most realistic way possible.

What's Your Rating For The Martian?

See results

And then, of course, there is the narrative technique. Ridley Scott fills the film with shots that emulate recordings of various CCTV or portable devices. Whether in the visual logs recorded by Mark, the helmet-mounted GoPros, or the Rover and "Hab" security cameras, we unconsciously record and interpret the images of the odyssey of our self-proclaimed Mars colonist/space pirate Mark Watney as a documentary. Combine that with a cast full of brief but interesting characters embodied with a memorable cast (Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, and Kristen Wiig among others) and a great score by Harry Gregson-Williams, and the result is predictably great.

The Martian doesn't have the grandiosity or metaphysical suspense of other films like Gravity or Interstellar, and that's precisely its strength. This is a thoroughly credible biopic, whose love letter to science is not limited to a romantic vision but a detailed epic survival guide.

The Martian is one of those few stories whose the antagonist is not embodied in any person or creature, but in personal defeat in the face of adversity. The conflict is having the motivation and the strength to utilize knowledge. And to that, everyone can relate.

Movie Details

Title: The Martian

Release Year: 2015

Director(s): Ridley Scott

Writer(s): Drew Goddard, Andy Weir (sci fi novelist)

Actors: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Micael Pena a.o.

4 stars for The Martian (2015)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      20 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I do not read movie reviews. But I read what you write. Interesting movie it seems.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)