Yes, I am a big Matt Damon fan. He is an A lister and he can carry most any movie. However, his newest movie "The Martian" just didn't float my boat when I saw previews probably because I'm not a big Sci-Fi guy. Also, I have this weird phobia that 2 word movies starting with "The" are not good (History shows I'm very wrong on my theory.
Stumbling around rottentomatoers.com, out of a corner of my eye I critic and audience rating both over 90% for The Martian. That is a crazy high # and was the "tell" to me that I had to go.
Despite a running time well over 2 hours (141 minutes), I had to check out this film. The trailers shared a simply story of Damon, on a Mars space mission, is left behind, assumed dead, in a terrible surface storm.
Of course he surveys and the story is about the journey to establish communication; create a survivable situation (food, water, air, shelter & more); and figure out a plan to get rescued.
The measured step by step approach to solving endless problems by both Damon and the rescuers really works. There is no side stories, no drama, no relations. Just "professional" focus on the task at hand by Damon and the space community (including China).
Hard to explain why this movie worked, but it REALLY WORKED. Engaging, no flashy, emphasized advance problem solving & leadership by both sexes and of all ages. Plus no violence, sex, bad language etc…just plain old movie tension.
This movie was sort of like watching a reality TV show where you just knew things were going to crash and burn. Yet, the professional skills of the astronauts and the NASA community exhibited brilliance in their effort to return their astronaut home.
Just a clue of the likability of this film was that the entire audience stayed for the entire credits (no outtakes) just respect. This was movie watching