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Times of India
While the Ares 3 crew led by Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) is out collecting samples from the Martian surface, a sudden windstorm wreaks havoc, sweeping astronaut/ botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) away. This causes his mates to leave him behind on the desolate planet and begin their journey back to Earth, assuming he must have been killed by falling debris. Turns out, Watney is injured and stranded alone on the red planet, struggling to survive with limited resources at his disposal. He strangely hopes that he may live till NASA initiates their next mission to Mars, years later.
Back on earth, NASA too reports about Watney's death and declares that the mission was aborted. Shocked to know later that he's alive, they contemplate a rescue plan but as Watney puts it, 'Space does not cooperate'. Does he make it?
The Martian is an extraordinary tale of Watney's extreme optimism, courage, determination and most importantly, ingenuity. Of course there are creative liberties but based on Andy Weir's novel, the film is a fictional tale that's fascinating and plausible. From Watney trying to grow potatoes and make water on Martian soil to fixing his blown up HAB (Habitation Module) by a plastic tarp and duct tape, or wandering around the Martian surface and establishing contact with folks back home — a brilliantly witty Matt Damon drags you along with him, to his hostile world of loneliness and uncertainty. His one-liners and crackling self talk saves the film from turning sluggish and generic in portions.
The cinematography, 3D and special effects are equally commendable. Mars' mountainous terrain in various hues of orange looks absolutely stunning.
While The Martian is not an edge-of-the-seat thriller like Gravity, it is gripping nonetheless and strikes an enjoyable balance between entertainment and science. Scott's understated drama inspires you to solve your problems instead of mulling over them.
In Watney's iconic style, it's about 'scienceing the sh** out of" your nightmares. His unflinching determination and persistence to survive is a story you don't want to miss. Go for it.
Irrfan Khan was the original choice for the role of Venkat Kapoor. Because of his prior commitment to the Bollywood movie _Piku_ (2015), he wasn't available. Chiwetel Ejiofor was then cast for the role.
Jessica Chastain visited JPL and NASA in preparation for the film, meeting actual astronauts. She also read the novel before she began filming.
A lot of the research and development on Prometheus (2012) was used on The Martian. Especially the space suits.
When designing the space suits in the movie, the costume designer looked at many of NASA's actual Mars suits and said they were "exactly like a Buzz Lightyear suit" from how bulky they were, Ridley Scott even disliked them, so the end designs of the suits were based on images of actual suits but aimed for a more practical approach.
The original cover page of the draft of The Martian was on-board of actual NASA ship Orion when it launched. On the cover was a drawing of Matt Damon's character on Mars saying, "I'm gonna science the shit out of this planet".
They decided to film in Budapest because it has one of the biggest soundstages in the world and one of the tallest. Also, the London stages were booked up
The film was shot in Wadi Rum, Jordan, which has a red coloured desert.
Jeff Daniels starred in another Martian-related movie called My Favorite Martian (1999).
NASA astronaut/ botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is left stranded on Mars when the crew of the Ares 3 mission are forced to evacuate their landing site in Acidalia Planiria on sol 18 (Martian day) of their expedition due to an intense dust storm with high winds. During the evacuation. Watney is impaled by an antenna and swept away. Also due to to zero visibility, the crew presumes that Warney is dead.
Turns out, he is injured but alive. With no way to contact Earth, Watney must rely on his scientific and technical skills to survive, growing potatoes in the crew's Martian habitat (or Hab) and burning hydrazine to make water. He starts documenting his experiences.
Back on earth, NASA discovers that Watney is alive when satellite images of the landing site show evidence of his activities. They contemplate on rescuing him, but withhold the news of his survival from the rest of the Ares 3 crew, on their way back to Earth aboard the Hermes spacecraft so as not to distract them.
Watney plans to drive 3,200 kilometres to Schiaparelli crater when a subsequent mission, Ares 4, lands there in four years. He begins modifying one of Ares 3's rovers for the journey, adding solar cells and an additional battery. He makes a long test drive to recover the unmanned Pathfinder lander and Sojourner rover and brings them back with him to the Hab, allowing him to contact Earth.
Mitch Henderson, the Ares 3 flight director, convinces NASA Administrator Teddy Sanders to allow him to inform the Ares 3 crew of Watney's survival; his crewmates are thrilled, except for Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), the commander, who is guilt-stricken at leaving him behind.
As Watney's second potato harvest approaches, a tear in the canvas at one of the Hab airlocks breaches, collapsing the Hab and cannoning Watney away from it, breaking his suit visor. Watney survives and repairs the Hab, but his plants are dead, threatening him again with starvation. NASA hastily prepares an unmanned probe to send Watney supplies, but the probe's rocket disintegrates on liftoff. A deal with the China National Space Administration provides a ready booster to try again, but with no time to build a probe with a soft-landing system, NASA is faced with the unlikely prospect of building one whose cargo will survive crashing into the Martian surface at 300 metres per second. Meanwhile, an astrodynamicist named Rich Purnell has discovered a slingshot trajectory that could get Hermes and the Ares 3 crew back to Mars on a much-extended mission to save Watney, using the Chinese rocket to send a resupply probe to Hermes as it passes Earth. Sanders vetoes the "Rich Purnell Maneuver" as involving too much risk for the other crewmembers, but Mitch secretly emails the maneuver to Hermes. All five of Watney's crewmates agree to the plan, and once they begin the maneuver, NASA is compelled to send them the supply ship to save their lives.
Watney resumes modifying the rover, since the new rescue plan requires him to drive to Ares 4's scheduled landing site and lift off from Mars in that mission's Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), which has already made an unmanned landing as part of the long preparations for that visit.
The resupply probe launches and docks with Hermes.
Watney reaches the MAV and receives instructions on the radical modifications to the MAV that are necessary to reduce its weight and intercept Hermes during its flyby. The modifications leave a large hole in the front of the MAV, which Watney covers with Hab canvas. During launch, the canvas patch tears, slowing the liftoff and leaving the MAV on a course too far from the Hermes for Watney to be rescued. Lewis develops a plan to intercept the MAV by firing Hermes' attitude thrusters, then slowing down to match the MAV's velocity by blowing a hole in the Hermes front airlock with an improvised sugar-and-liquid-oxygen oxyliquit bomb. A crewman on a tether uses a Manned Maneuvering Unit to reach Watney aboard the MAV and carry him back to Hermes.
Watney and his crew return to Earth safe.
The Martian has opened to positive reviews and Tweetizen are raving about the film already. Here's what they had to say...
Going to see #TheMartian. Love movies about space, but finding intelligent life on Earth would be real science fiction.