The Martian: Liked, Not Loved

the martian posterThere has seldom been a movie I was more interested in seeing than The Martian, Ridley Scott’s slightly too long story of an astronaut left for dead on Mars. It’s based on Andy Weir’s novel, itself an interesting story of victory over adversity.

Matt Damon is the lead, Mark Watney, the astronaut mistakenly left behind.

“I’m going to science the shit out of this thing.” – Astronaut Mark Watney

Matt Damon spends the entire movie doing just that. His character uses science fact to weave this science fiction. He is MacGyver on Mars!

Spoiler alert: The movie has a happy ending. No surprise there.

I spent the entire movie looking for tech errors. NASA and space missions are two things I know about.

Martian gravity is less than half Earth’s. Using Watney’s motion, Mars looked 1G. Zero-G was shown for interplanetary travel.

Everything about the dust seemed right. Mars is very dusty and the dust is electrically charged and sticks to everything.

The movie acknowledges, then through editing downplays, the round-trip light time to communicate with someone on Mars. It can be anywhere from 5 to 24 minutes before a question can be answered.

There are dust devils, the tornado like spouts seen in the movie and real pictures from Mars. I don’t think the wind has the intensity shown, especially in a much thinner atmosphere.

Playing the part of Mars was Wadi Rum in Jordan, a beautiful red desert valley with sandstone and granite cliffs. Wadi Rum has played other planets before.

The movie was entertaining, but too long. I became fidgety.

Matt Damon was the right Mark Watney.

I’m not sure why Kristen Wiig was in this movie. She played a NASA PR exec. It was a nothing part.

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