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Sci-Fi Thriller “The Martian” Celebrates the Dignity of (Human) Life


One of the joys of movie-going is occasionally getting to experience a film with an audience for which it was tailor-made. There was, for instance, the evening I spent watching Rambo: First Blood Part IIin a small theater just outside the gates of Fort Stewart. As the lights came up, you could hear the sounds of soldiers chanting “USA! USA!” resounding in the air.

The audience at the screening of The Martian this past week, which apparently included every instructor from nearby Georgia Tech, was a bit less boisterous, but no less enthused to be there. This was evidenced as the credits began to roll and all these professorial types rose to their feet, nodded their heads vigorously, and politely intoned to one another, “Good enough. Good enough.”

No doubt this collegiate stamp of approval was given in appreciation for how well director Ridley Scott has handled his film adaptation of Andy Weir’s insanely popular bestseller, The Martian. Adhering closely to the novel, the film chronicles a near-future manned mission to Mars which ends disastrously and leaves astronaut Mark Watney abandoned and alone on the red planet’s surface. Basically, it’s a standard man-against-nature story with the catch being that the nature part of the equation this time around is an alien one.

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