Ridley Scott is a filmmaker who’s turnover is so rapid that there’s bound to be slump period. That’s a statement that could be applied to the last five or so years of his career, where returns have continued to diminish. It’s also what makes The Martian such an utterly pleasurable surprise, that mixes intellect, action, and humour in such a remarkable manner. It’s ultimately concerned with the science behind what’s happening, but unlike Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, that’s not contained in complicated lectures that are all thought and no action. No, what makes The Martian so thrilling is that the characters actually do their jobs (shocker, damn). They talk, and then they put it into action. Instead of explaining and explaining with speech after speech, they pick up their pens or whatever else is around them and actually show the most non-astronaut audience what they mean. What they do is not easy, or quick. While you know everything will turn out ok in the end, the film never abandons its genuinely upbeat and playful tempo, the two-and-a-half-hour runtime shows in equal measure the hardship and hopelessness of the situation. Not everything is over in 5 minutes, it indeed takes years. The end result feels earnt.