Of the space-related movies in the past, I’m afraid there are more bad ones than good ones. I have watched an uncountable number of poor clones of Alien (1979). Movies about exploring Mars were below average, such as Red Planet (2000) and Mission to Mars (2000). I’m thankful that in recent years we have exceptionally good space movies like Gravity (2013), Interstellar (2014) and now The Martian.
The Martian, based on a novel, tells the story of an astronaut being stranded on Mars and trying to survive, while NASA finds a way to rescue him. This movie is exceptionally scientifically accurate (except the beginning storm), more so than either Gravity (2013) or Interstellar (2014). It’s quite interesting and sometimes funny to watch Matt Damon’s character trying to survive and explaining things to audience in the pretense of recording video log, which is significantly more convincing than talking to a volleyball in Cast Away (2000). The martian landscape looks gorgeous, and the production designs are top quality, to the point that the NASA sets look better than the real thing. I’m slightly surprised to see China being a critical factor in the rescue mission, but it actually comes from the book.
There is no doubt this is a really good movie. I really liked Apollo 13 (1995), so I really like this one as well. However, from the perspective of entertainment value, as measured by me as excitement, dramatic and emotional impact, I’d say that Gravity (2013) and Interstellar (2014) were perhaps more entertaining. That being said, all three movies should not be missed.