But Watney has survived and then seeks to find a way to survive a whole lot longer using the precious few tools he has at his disposal, as well as his skills as a botanist to make his habitat a place that can not only sustain life, but grow it!
Back on Earth, various teams are culled together to put together the best plan they can at retrieving the “Martian” once they find out he is still alive – que appearances from countless character actors – all there to distract you upon first viewing.
And that is an issue with The Martian. It is a very cluttered first viewing – only the strongest of actors manage to give you any sense of what is going on, (Jeff Daniels, Benedict Wong, Sean Sean)… while others are it seems rather more wasted on the fact that they are popular right now (Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain).
The good news is that the film is kept fairly light-hearted throughout. Sure there is plenty of drama, and there are some tense moments, but you always feel very comfortable in the hands of director Ridley Scott and his huge friendly ensemble cast.
Damon at centre stage does a terrific performance – although we have been here far too many times in recent years. So The Martian becomes impressive, entertaining and comfortable viewing without ever really breaking into something terrific or outstanding.
You won’t be sad you saw it, but you might not remember it all that well either.
It’s nice to See Ridley Scott sticking to outerspace for the time being though – Surely something truly magical is just round the corner