I saw The Martian this weekend in Manhattan. I enjoyed the movie so much that I’m documenting why:

  • Intellect as the super power: The hero’s super power is his intellect / smarts (I somewhat stole this observation from Chris Matthews when he had Andy Weir (the author) on his CNBC show. Matthews says, “I love it because the definition of macho is brains.” )
  • Individualistic, not a romantic love story:  The movie isn’t a love story. Or if it is, it’s about one man’s love of science and problem solving and his own life. It’s not the story of a man who did incredible things to return to his family. It seems like he’s a single guy who does what he does solely because he decides he’s not going to die. (Not sure. The book may be different.)
  • Problem solving with limited resources: The movie is about doing as much as you can with the resources you have. Again, it’s about problem solving and it’s very MacGuyvery in that way.
  • And limited time: Importantly, the limits on resources in this book go beyond just limits on materials but also limits on time. This limit on time is likely more important for export to the current startup environment where there is sometimes a largess of resources but not enough time-related discipline or prioritization.
  • Global unity: The Chinese becoming involved in the effort to help the hero unite the world in something that is bigger than just one man or one nation — and it’s my hope that someday we might come together and choose to spend more money globally on exploration and less on national defense.
  • The author’s original story: The author, Andy Weir, and his personal story of writing the book is another improbable, inspiring tale of a man with a passion for Science Fiction writing who was persistent and finally found an audience after, originally, self-publishing the book.
  • Music: I thought it was fun hearing disco on Mars! It’s also thought provoking: When you’re the only person on a planet and you spend every waking hour figuring out how you can survive and then you’re met with this music birthed from a mature civilization that has evolved to the point where men can do far more than just “worry about survival” … they can disco dance! I hesitate to use this oft-used word in artistic analysis but: It was a stark dichotomy that gave new meaning to the music.
  • Inspiration: I love science fiction and have been enjoying all of these recent space movies: Gravity, Interstellar, and now, The Martian. For the most part, it seemed like much of the work Watney did on while on the red planet seemed plausible. With more movies like this maybe more people will be inspired to become scientists.

I don’t go to as many movies anymore; only ones I really think I’ll enjoy. Most movies are crap. But The Martian is a strong “recommend.”