The Martian: Rocket Science as Comedy
Fall movie season is officially here, which means that even after a summer of particularly good popcorn fare, Hollywood starts craving some respect and puts out all its prestige films. Generally, around this weekend there is one high-quality film released by a major studio and helmed by a heavyweight director. I’m pleased to report that The Martian is this year’s movie. Directed by Ridley Scott and running two and a half never-boring hours, it is a pleasurable and sometimes awe-inspiring ride. It contains some moments of genuine amazement, many that are laugh-out loud funny, and fits neatly into the tradition of recent space-set blockbusters by big-name directors like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. The film plays like a comedic fantasy version of Apollo 13 with its good-natured characters, not a one of them evil or out for sabotage, striving to bring home a lone marooned space explorer on cinema’s favorite alternative planet.