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The Martian

The Martian is a hard science fiction movie directed by Ridley Scott and based on Andy Weir's novel of the same name. The film is rated PG-13. Click here for a detailed examination of the film's rating.

Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity, Contagion, Interstellar and more) stars as astronaut Mark Watney who is presumed dead during a sand storm and left behind on Mars. That’s not a spoiler, it happens in the opening seconds of the movie. This film is about Watney’s struggle to survive and the efforts to rescue him.

Andy Weir wrote The Martian as a series of blogposts on his website. Science grounded readers of the blog offered comments and suggestions. When blog readers wanted to download the entire project for reading, Weir put the posts into one file and uploaded it to Amazon. In a few months, The Martian topped the Amazon science fiction bestseller list. Four days later a Hollywood agent called asking about movie rights.

Yes, I’m a little envious of his quick success, but Weir did work hard both on the plot and to make his novel as scientifically accurate as possible. The film producers made the excellent decision to bring that level of accuracy to the movie version. They called NASA early on and spoke with their film and television liaison Bert Ulrich. Weir and the production team toured NASA facilities, asked hundreds of questions and got the answers, diagrams and pictures they needed.

The Martian is a Robinson Crusoe story set on Mars. We know there are going to be loneliness, setbacks, and struggles, but the science background makes the suspension of disbelief easy. I was engaged with this film from the opening moments. This story could happen to an early Martian explorer, but I hope their rescue comes easier and smoother than Watney's does in this movie.

Recommendation: Buy the ticket and see it in the theater.