“To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Thanks to the power of “Star Trek,” this quote is still used today as a beacon of hope for the future. We don’t know everything that’s out there among the stars, so we must explore and take chances in order to get the answers. During one of these adventurous travels, would the human race, as a whole, work its hardest to bring back a traveler that’s been left behind?

In the near future, manned missions to Mars will be as common as the Apollo missions once were. One night, the crew of Ares III [Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Aksel Hennie and Sebastian Stan] has to abort the mission due to an severe oncoming storm.

During the evacuation, Astronaut Mark Watney [Matt Damon] is presumed dead; that is, until he wakes up the next morning nearly buried in the sandy terrain of Mars. With a limited amount of supplies on the base, Mark must do his best to contact NASA in the hopes of getting home. Can Mark Watney survive until NASA can arrive, or will it be too late?

Last week, I was disappointed at how uninspired “Everest” was at barely crafting a survival story for the big screen.

Thanks to director Ridley Scott, “The Martian” satisfied that need and then some.

This is what I’m talking about; although based on a novel, the adaptation somehow manages to feel fresh and new up on the silver screen.

Backed by a star-studded cast, Matt Damon essentially carries his portions of the film by himself, and he knocks it out of the park.

Where most film survivalists will sit around and do nothing for the first act, this protagonist cuts the crap and gets right down to business, using his ingenuity as a botanist to keep himself fed and alive.

Not only is this character resourceful, but he has an amazing sense of humor.

When something goes wrong, Watney immediately deflates the situation by cracking jokes, and good ones at that. The other cast members do so as well, as humor is one of the best ways to stay positive and relieve the tension of their situation.

Though this lone astronaut has to survive on his own limited terms, he never loses hope; nobody on Earth loses hope.

The rescue attempt builds a sense of teamwork that involves not only the United States, but the entire globe.

Cassie Baron/ Equinox Staff

Cassie Baron/ Equinox Staff

“The Martian” is a truly diverse film in the vein of uniting everybody as one in the ongoing struggle to bring one of our own kind back home.

While Matt Damon is fumbling around on the red planet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis and Benedict Wong are looking up from Earth. Most of the characters complete an arc that defines their actions and makes them feel real. Same goes for Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara and Aksel Hennie who are currently in orbit and planning a mutiny against NASA to save the fallen comrade that they left behind.

With a cast this diverse and a story this harrowing, it’s easy at times to forget that this is a fictional narrative.

The breathtaking cinematography and dazzling visual effects strands the audience on Mars and there’s never one single moment where it feels fake and lifeless.

It’s difficult to say more without ruining what happens, so I’ll leave you with this one last tidbit.

If 70s disco is your jam, this might become one of your favorite soundtracks as it is beautifully interwoven with the whimsical score by Harry-Gregson Williams.

“The Martian” is an absolute delight that should be seen in theaters with a crowd as it unites all of us in spirit, watching a man making the best of a bad situation, doing his best to stay alive, even if that means cracking a few jokes along the way.

Rating: A-

Matt Bilodeau can be contacted at mbilodeau@kscequinox.com

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