MacGyvering it on Mars
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon - Elysium) is presumed dead after a fierce storm saw him becoming detatched from the other crew who were forced to leave him behind. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded, all alone on the hostile planet. With only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to not just survive but to live and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring Mark home, while his crewmates on their long voyage home plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world becomes hooked on Watney's hopeful safe return.
As someone who grew up watching the A-Team and MacGyver there is some thing about "The Martian" which really works for me. That comes from the way Mark Watney finds a way to survive when he ends up stranded on Mars, from using the crews dehydrated sachets of poo to grow potatoes in to how he creates fire without a typical incendiary device. And I am sure there will be many others who enjoy "The Martian" for the same reason as Mark uses his imagination and what is at hand to get through another day even if it gets a little too fanciful when it comes to the actual rescue mission.
But it isn't just the entertainment factor of the survival creativity which makes "The Martian" as there is a nice undercurrent of humour running through it. We not only get to listen to Mark as he deals with things in a matter of fact way but also some humorous remarks when it comes to other's taste in music. It adds some amusing scenes yet also a real sense of wit which helps this to be a movie for the masses.
And to be honest whilst Matt Damon is clearly the star of "The Martian" he has a brilliant cast around him with the likes of Kristen Wiig, and Donald Glover delivering characters who have entertaining characteristics, which make you smile when ever any of them are in a scene.
What this all boils down to is that "The Martian" is yet another modern crowd pleaser which has story, drama, effects, humour and likeable characters. Is it a great movie? Right now yes but in 5 years I fear that other movies will have made it average.