The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon.
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The film is based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel The Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Damon stars as an astronaut who is incorrectly presumed dead and left behind on the planet Mars, and who then fights to survive. The film also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in supporting roles.
Producer Simon Kinberg began developing the film after 20th Century Fox optioned the novel in March 2013. Drew Goddard adapted the novel into a screenplay and was initially attached to direct, but the film did not move forward. Ridley Scott replaced Goddard, and with Damon in place as the main character, production was green-lit. Filming began in November 2014 and lasted approximately 70 days. Around 20 sets were built on a sound stage in Budapest, Hungary, one of the largest in the world. Wadi Rum in Jordan was also used as a practical backdrop for filming. Andy Weir, who developed a relationship with NASA after publishing the novel, involved the space program in working with Scott to accurately depict the film's science and technology.
The film premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2015. 20th Century Fox released the film in theaters in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2015 and in the United States on October 2, 2015. The film was released in 2D and 3D.
When the Ares III manned mission to Mars is hit by an intense storm, astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead. With the lives of her crew at stake, mission commander Melissa Lewis is forced to leave the planet, leaving Watney behind. Watney survives and uses his knowledge as a botanist to grow food within the mission's artificial habitat, anticipating that he will need to survive for at least three years before the next manned mission arrives. He keeps a series of video logs to maintain morale.
From reviewing satellite photos of Mars, NASA engineers Vincent Kapoor and Mindy Park realize that Watney has survived, and immediately start planning to establish contact. Watney locates the Pathfinder probe, defunct since 1997, and develops a code to communicate with earth, and later interconnecting with the rover vehicle to restore communications.
As Watney continues to grow his crops and prepare for the journey to the landing site of the next manned mission, NASA chief Teddy Sanders formulates a plan to send a probe to Mars and resupply Watney. The probe explodes during the launch, due to limited time available, during which NASA is forced to cut corners and mistakes are made. Watney suffers his own disaster when the airlock on the habitat explosively decompresses, killing his crops and reducing his projected supply of food. The China National Space Agency (CNSA) offers NASA a lifeline: they can send the probe directly to Watney and have him wait until the Ares IV mission, or follow through on astrodynamicist Rich Purnell's plan have the Ares III crew extend their mission, intercepting the probe and returning to Mars to recover Watney. Sanders and crew supervisor Mitch Henderson clash over the best plan.
Meanwhile, Lewis' crew have not been told about Watney's survival for fear that they will grow distracted from their mission to return home safely. Upon learning the truth, and with the aid of Henderson, they defy their orders and commit to Purnell's plan to retrieve Watney.
After seven months, and in anticipation of the resupply probe, Watney modifies a rover vehicle and drives all his key life support systems to the base of the Ares IV mission, the infrastructure needed for the next Ares mission having been sent in advance of its crew. Following instructions from Kapoor, he strips the Ares IV launch vehicle down to save weight, using his spacesuit to protect against the vacuum of space. As Lewis and the crew of Hermes orbit Mars, they launch the landing vehicle remotely, intending to intercept him in space. When Watney's vehicle fails to achieve the altitude needed to intercept him, they improvise an explosive device to slow Hermes down without wasting fuel, by rupturing an airlock to release the ship's atmosphere to generate thrust; allowing Watney to be rescued.
After returning to Earth, Watney begins "Day One" of his new life, taking up a position with NASA as an instructor for new candidates to the astronaut training program, emphasizing his own experiences as problem solving and creative engineering.
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