Good cast check ✅ good visual effects check ✅ random old hit songs ✅.
This was based on newcomer author Andy Weir's book " The Martian ".
This movie starts with a space expedition on Mars and a man being left behind during a sand storm. Mark Watney played perfectly by Matt Damon, is the astronaut left behind but thought to be dead .But we soon find out this botanist turned MacGyver, is harder to kill than Bruce Willis.
The rest of the cast rounded out by current "it" supporting actor Michael Pena who now is in 2 of my favorite films this year , Ant-Man & The Martian. Jessica Chastain as the leader of the group , her and Matt Damon were also in the last years visual spectacle " Interstellar" they must really love outer space , also Kate Mara who must be thanking herself for being at least one suceessful movie this year . Jeff Daniels plays a real jerk who works for NASA , and frequently argues with Sean Bean's character ( who must just be happy he didn't die like he does in every movie ) and the charming Chiwetel Ejiofor about the proper way to handle this PR wise and practically , and who does damage control once it's widely known , that NASA left a man behind on Mars , who is presumed to be dead. But we see the true mettle of a man , who uses everything in his environment to build a sustainable ecosystem , and actually grows potatoes with Mars soil , and some real crap ( literally) at his disposal , who knew ? But for every triumph there's setbacks , like nearly blowing himself up trying to reverse engineer H20 with mixed results , there is also some real good dry humor, think Tom Hanks in castaway type interplay .
I can't really compare this with book since I've only read nearly 100 pages of it , but I feel confident that neither the movie or book is a waste of time. This feel good movie is a little bit long at 144 minutes , but never boring or uninteresting . The media's fixation or fascination with bringing harpooned astronaut Watney home feels oddly familiar . And China saving the day seems very fitting after NASA carelessly fumbled there first attempt . Go watch this movie it's definitely worth the price of admission . Honorable mention to Donald Glover's character for being a genius to figure how to rescue Mark Watney. The future lies .....in..... Space travel.