The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)

What's it about? On a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is left for dead after an accident. Now he must find a way to survive alone on the planet until NASA (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Jessica Chastain and others) can figure out a way to rescue him.

Is it any good? HOLY SHIT!! SOUND THE KLAXON!! Ridley Scott has only gone and made a good film, after many, many years of sub-standard fare. What's the difference this time? He's paid attention to the story, that's what, trusting in Drew Goddard's screenplay which has streamlined Andy Weir's catchy, but patchy, novel into a ripping yarn. In particular, the rather irritating, smart-alec Watney of the book has been softened into a much more likeable character, helped by Damon's appealing turn. Still smart, but not as alec-y, he's now someone I wouldn't begrudge being rescued, whereas I'd have left the Watney from the book to his fate. See how much he jokes then. Anyway, even if his storytelling was suspect, Scott's eye for a good shot was never in doubt and here we get some stunning Martian landscapes (actually the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan) and some always-fun zero gravity scenes to marvel at. In the end, it's not quite up to Apollo 13 or Gravity standards, and plays suspiciously like Cast Away in Space, but hard not to like a film that celebrates science and disco music and spuds as much as this does.

Anything else I should know?

What does the Fonz think? It would be unethical for the Fonz to review this film as he actually guests stars in it. Therefore I called in my good friend Marvin the Martian as guest reviewer

What does Marvin the Martian think? This makes me very angry, very angry indeed.

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