The Martian – film review

"The Martian" theatrical poster.
“The Martian” theatrical poster.
Although it is science fiction, The Martian takes place in a future so near to us it could almost be confused for the present. The crew of the Ares III mission to Mars are caught unawares by a fierce storm that threatens to destroy their vessel, the Hermes.

Crew member Mark Watney (Matt Damon), trying to make his way back to the ship, is struck by a satellite dish and presumed dead. The mission is cut short as the astronauts return home, mourning the loss of their crewmate and friend, Watney.

However, rumors of Watney’s death have been somewhat exaggerated. A freak accident sealed his suit, keeping him alive just long enough to make his way back to the abandoned crew habitat. As he sees it, his next challenge is figuring out how to keep himself alive and sane until the next manned mission arrives, some four years down the line. One of his biggest trials is not running out of food on a planet where nothing grows.

Fortunately, Watney is a steely-eyed missile man. He finds some whole potatoes he can cut up for seed, some feces he can use for manure, and (after blowing himself up at least once) successfully makes water by burning hydrogen. It also doesn’t hurt that Watney is a botanist, nor that he has attitude to spare. “Mars will come to fear my botany powers,” he declares in his video journal.

Back on Earth, NASA engineers Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) detect movement in the satellite photos coming from Mars, and realize Watney must still be alive. Between Watney’s efforts on Mars and NASA’s efforts on Earth, they figure out a way to communicate (I won’t spoil this bit, but it’s pretty clever) and start trying to come up with a viable rescue plan before time runs out for Watney.

While The Martian is a great, engaging story with a fair amount of humor, it rates a PG-13 for a reason. There are scenes of intense peril and suspense, some bleeding and trauma, a gushing abdominal wound that has to be stapled together, lots of profanity, a bit of sexual innuendo and a brief scene of nudity (from the back). I wouldn’t recommend it to children twelve and under, or anyone who gets squeamish at the sight of blood.

Release Date: October 02, 2015 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Language: English

MySF Rating: Four point five stars
Family Friendliness: 50%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (Watney takes a Vicodin with a meal)
Language: 4 (multiple uses of the F word, other profanities)
Nudity: 2 (Watney occasionally goes shirtless; one brief scene of nonsexual post-shower nudity)
Sexuality: 2 (kissing, mild sexual innuendo)
Violence: 4 (explosions, some bleeding, wounds, bruises, intense scene featuring the stapling of a serious abdominal wound)

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