When I write capsule reviews, I do so with the price of the ticket in mind because it's not the cheapest of dates anymore. Heck, my best friend bought the ticket today and I still spent $17.50 on a hot dog, medium popcorn and a medium soda.
Anyway, I won't say much other than Matt Damon was wonderful as stranded astronaut/botanist Mark Watney, trying to figure out how to stay alive with dwindling supplies until he can somehow contact NASA and be rescued. Drew Goddard (Buffy, World War Z, and Daredevil) supplied a great script and Ridley Scott rebounds from a couple of mediocre films to give us a dynamic, heart pumping film, housed in an environment he knows, all too well. You know, the place where "no one can hear you scream."
And I never thought these words “I am going to have to science the heck out of this,” would have psyched up an entire theater full of people.
In an interview from his home in Northern California, Mr. Weir, a former software engineer, said he wrote his book with one overarching thought in mind: It should be as scientifically accurate as possible. How much energy would a rover need to cover the enormous distances that Watney must drive? How many potatoes would he have to grow to provide the calories he will need? As he did the math, he found that the answers he got created new problems for his astronaut to surmount. All in an environment that, in terms of survival, constitutes a very tough neighborhood. The soil, he determined, would need hundreds of liters of water to be sufficiently moist to grow crops. Water that Watney, with training in botany and mechanical engineering, would have to come up with somehow. (He ends up passing leftover hydrazine, the rocket fuel, over a catalyst, and, well, it’s complicated.)
Mr. Weir, 43, said that his feel for the sensibility of astronauts and exploration came from “a life of being a space dork” who read everything he could get his hands on about such topics. The fact that this dedication has paid off in such a big way, with a major motion picture on the way, Mr. Weir said, is “really awesome.”