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Movie review: "The Martian" thrilling, realistic
This photo released by 20th Century Fox shows Matt Damon in a scene from the film, "The Martian." - photo by GILES KEYTE

Many have not acquired a taste for sci-fi and space movies due to what many teens see as an overabundance of aliens, end of the world scenarios, and unrealistic situations — but whether you love them or hate them, “The Martian” is an out-of-this-world exception.

This sci-fi adventure takes viewers to Mars where the Hermes crew — a group of five NASA astronauts — are gathering soil samples before returning to their vessel. A sudden storm approaches, forcing the crew to leave Mars and fellow crew member Mark Watney, who they believe has just been killed in the storm. Soon after that, Watney regains consciousness to discover he has been abandoned on a planet almost two years away from his home, Earth, with no way to contact NASA or his crew.

Throughout the course of 144 minutes, Watney, played by Matt Damon, faces tremendous struggles in his attempts to beat the odds and live on a desolate planet with extremely limited supplies. In the meantime, NASA and its director (Jeff Daniels) work feverishly to save Watney.

When first learning the plot of the movie, one would think that it wouldn’t be believable because, after all, how could a human survive that long with no food? What’s Watney to do, grow potatoes using his own poop as fertilization? Yes, actually yes. While that might not sound plausible, Watney describes all the science behind his survival tactics in video logs.  

The visuals were very life-like. I personally haven’t been to Mars, but I feel they really nailed how it might appear. All of the effects looked genuine and real: the storm, the explosions and the spaceship take-offs. Towards the end of the movie, Watney is shown after losing an extreme amount of weight. Even this looks realistic despite the fact Damon lost no weight, so the effects are all computer-generated.

The storyline isn’t as predictable as one might think and has the audience on the edge of its seat for much of the movie. The part of the story where NASA doesn’t have a plan in place for his rescue seems kind of drawn out; however, his rescue seems a little rushed and left me wanting more.

Overall, “The Martian” is a thrilling, realistic tale about how to survive on another planet for 3 years, and who knows? That might be information you need one day.

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