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‘The Martian’ is out of this world

Ridley Scott's latest makes a successful landing on the list of this year's top films.

Ridley+Scott%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CThe+Martian%2C%E2%80%9D+based+off+a+novel+by+Andy+Weir%2C++follows+an+astronaut+stranded+on+Mars.+
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‘The Martian’ is out of this world

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” based off a novel by Andy Weir,  follows an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” based off a novel by Andy Weir, follows an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” based off a novel by Andy Weir, follows an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios

Photo courtesy of Fox Studios

Ridley Scott’s “The Martian,” based off a novel by Andy Weir, follows an astronaut stranded on Mars.

Branden Raulston, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

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Every young child’s dream of exploring another planet quickly turns into a nightmare of unfathomable despair as a man is left behind alone on the harsh landscape of Mars. Houston, we have a problem.

In a testament to human ingenuity, “The Martian,” based on the novel by Andy Weir, pulls a quick one as it baits audiences with a grim drama yet delivers an inspiring and humorous tale of the rescue mission to top all rescue missions.

Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, and a team of astronauts studying the Martian environment are blindsided by a vicious storm that forces the team to leave Watney behind as all indications point to his death. Come the next day, a dazed Watney pulls himself from the sand wounded but still breathing.

This is where one would assume the doom and gloom begins. Minus a grizzly self-surgery performed by Watney, the story takes an unexpected turn as the audience is introduced to a charming personality with humorous perspective and unwavering determination.

While offsetting at first, this is a refreshing take on the traditional rescue drama filled with strife and agony. While similar stories use pity to make the audience beg for the protagonist’s salvation, “The Martian” just presents a damn awesome dude that nobody wants to see die.

As far as scenery is concerned, it could not have been more convincing. Computer generated movies have come leaps and bounds, but “The Martian” takes seamless integration to an entirely new level. One will have to remind themselves that the movie wasn’t actually shot on Mars as Watney wades through crimson sand and traverses unforgiving, desolate landscapes.

The movie is lacking in character backstory, but is not in need of it. Damon, a seasoned showman, begins unraveling Watney’s agreeable personality right from the get-go, and considering the narrative centers around a man with a planet to himself, there isn’t much need for anything else.

The film’s only pitfall is in its pace. The entire story spans over a few years and produces a narrative with little intensity. The audience is left with severe gaps in the timeline. While this is understandable, a “Rocky-style compilation of Watney building a life for himself on Mars would have been appreciated.

Granted there are some exciting scenes, the story does not have a clear build to the climax. Unfortunately this dunks a relaxed audience into the grand finale with little priming. The pace is a downfall but is not a deal-breaker. This is owed completely to the composed demeanor that Watney portrays throughout, giving the tempo a sufficient justification.

The story itself—man is stranded, people help man—is nothing innovative, but as previously mentioned, “The Martian” gives a worn-out narrative a refreshing make-over. There is some complexity and suspense to the story as the characters back on Earth at NASA add drama and conflict to the narrative.

The Martian” is not a movie to miss. The combination of story and setting alone should intrigue even the most skeptical moviegoers, but the phenomenal CGI and Damon’s compelling performance make this one of the best films of 2015.

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