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Logline: Left behind by his crew, an astronaut must learn how to survive on Mars.

Review: Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a strong science fiction adventure about survival.  It is pretty lighthearted when compared to Scott’s other films, which are usually much darker.  The Martian has a healthy dose of humor and features a strong performance from Matt Damon as the stranded astronaut Mark Watney.  The viewer becomes invested in every step of his survival on a desolate, hostile planet.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the film is its special effects.  The film does in fact look as if it was shot on Mars.  Recent films such as Gravity (2013), Interstellar (2014), and The Martian plunge the viewer into the far reaches of space.

The film can be seen as an allegory to humanity’s present situation on Earth.  When it seems as if all is lost and we are on the brink of environmental catastrophe, we must not lose hope.  As Mark says in the film, “You can lie down and die or you can fight.”

The rescue sequence finale is not as satisfying as one would hope.  However, The Martian is still highly entertaining scifi from a filmmaker who directed two undisputed classics from the genre, Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982).  Fans of Scott should definitely see it and for everyone else, it is also worth a watch.

Rating (out of ****): ***1/2