The award-winning actor plays a NASA Director in the Ridley Scott directed film “The Martian.” A film which revolves around a mission to save an astronaut (Matt Damon), who has been left behind on Mars, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character, Dr. Vincent Kapoor, is tasked with bringing him back to Earth.
Based on a best-selling novel of the same name, the story begins in Mars and follows several astronauts on the planet who are conducting an experiment. When a storm hits, the crew are forced back to Earth leaving Damon’s character Mark Watney behind. He’s presumed dead after being struck by debris. Fortunately, Watney is still alive and the rest of the movie circles around his ongoing attempts to survive long enough to be rescued. As well as being an astronaut, he’s also a botanist, which comes in handy when he figures out how to grow potatoes on Mars using fecal matter for bacteria.
“I was fascinated by the story’s look at the space community,” says Ejiofor, who previously worked with director Ridley Scott in 2008’s American Gangster. “I was moved by the effort of this community to rally around one man and commit every last bit of available equipment, energy and resources to save him.”
Glowering when needed but sympathetic to Watney’s plight (we’ve all had the feeling of being alone in the world), Ejiofor’s character is dedicated to bringing Watney back from Mars.”What’s most interesting about him is that, as he begins to more deeply connect with the man who’s marooned on Mars, he no longer sees his mission as rescuing an astronaut ¾ he’s rescuing Mark Watney.”
A survival and rescue adventure flick, it’s easy to root for Damon’s character who is perfectly cast as Watney. Despite facing death which, he says could come through several scenarios, “one of course which includes starvation,” he’s upbeat and humorous throughout as he records his daily vlogs detailing his ongoing fight for survival.
Engaging and entertaining enough, “The Martian” clocks in at 2 hr. 14 minutes long and is filled with so much scientific jargon you would need to be a layman in physics to understand some of the language. We also learn a lot about Mars in this film. An unwelcoming planet, its wide temperatures range – from -153°C to around 22°C on a summer day and the air is 95 percent carbon dioxide which makes breathing problematic. The soil lacks bacteria needed to grow food and water exists, but only as ice. Certainly fascinating stuff.
“The Martian” features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis and releases in U.S. theaters Friday.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news. Twitter @samanthaofole