"I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this..."
The Martian is a surprisingly very enjoyable yet thrilling experience as we follow astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in his attempts at survival. Films like these tend to be more dark & depressing, but not this one. This film instead explores on the science behind the survival - the situation, the options, the outcome, the consequences. And what made it enjoyable is mostly due to the humour & light-heartedness all around, yet is also partially due to Matt Damon's charisma that we enjoy seeing him in HAB, and get to root for his rescue to be a success.
The time we spent with Mark Watney in the HAB is probably the most surprisingly entertaining moment. He's just so cool & full of spirit, yet remains light-hearted and humorous as can be seen when he's entering his log, or when he's attempting communication with NASA. It's just fun to be there with him and see him do his thing - botany and all. It's easy to have scenes of a person stranded alone to be dull & depressing, but Mark Watney here makes it seem like an enjoyable experience. Of course, there's bound to be trouble here and there, but not to the extent of it being a grim & depressing situation. There are major setbacks, yes, but we get to really root for the character to think and solve the problems.
The scenes on Earth also feel very real, while keeping it quite light-hearted as well. There's a lot of discussion and issues that feel very true to what is in the real world nowadays. There's some very modern complications & events that plays out. Similarly, there's a lot of fun banter & chemistry between the crew of the Hermes. And the array of distinctly interesting characters makes for fun scenes & conversations between them.
But the film is not the perfect film by a long shot. The plot in general is very straightforward (though its hard to expect otherwise), although the little details of them attempting this survival & rescue is interesting on its own, incorporating a lot of math & science. And there aren't any action sequences per se, although we are seeing intense, physical, thrilling scenes along the way. Despite it being just a bit too long for my taste, the pacing is generally great. Ridley Scott knew what he was doing - when to jump, when to montage. And overall, it makes for a very pleasant & enjoyable experience in the theater. Not the perfect film, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend anyone to see this.