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The Very Best Moments in 'The Martian' (Including the One Ridley Scott Wanted to Cut)

By Rebecca Pahle | Miscellaneous | October 6, 2015 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Miscellaneous | October 6, 2015 |

By now you’ve heard that Ridley Scott’s The Martian, while not the best movie of the year (because Mad Max: Fury Road exists), is pretty damn good. Like, really good. It’s a bleeding heart love letter to nerdery, and by God, I love it.

But what is The Martian’s most shining moment? Is it:

Spoilers ahead.

*”Fuck you, Mars.”

“In your face, Neil Armstrong.”

*”I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.”


*The way all the songs Scott used matched up with whatever was going on in the movie at that time. Mark Watney figures out a way to use plutonium to keep the inside of his rover warm: Cue “Hot Stuff.” Watney renovating the MAV in preparation for his return journey set to ABBA’s Waterloo (“Finally facing my Waterloo”), with a panning shot of the sort of vehicle he failed to get on earlier in the movie matched with the line “The history book on the shelf/Is always repeating itself.” The final montage set to “People all over the world/Join hands/Start a love train.” “I Will Survive.”

*A montage of a rocket launch and space rescue preparations set to David Bowie’s “Starman.” I made it 30 years without that scene existing, and I’m not sure how.

*The moment right before the rescue starts when Watney’s sarcastic facade breaks down and you can see the complete and utter terror on his face.

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*The gorgeous shot of Watney and Commander Lewis surrounded by a swirling cloud of orange tether during the rescue scene.

*Did anyone else get a little emotional when Watney found Pathfinder? No?

*I know I’m not the only one who got teary when the leaders of China’s space agency decided to do NASA a solid and donate their one-of-a-kind booster rocket to the cause of rescuing Watney, because screw politics, scientists have to help each other out.

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*Donald Glover doing a spit take into a mesh trash can.

*”Let’s go, Iron Man!” *cut to Sebastian Stan”

The answer to that is “of course not.” The best part of The Martian is the Council of Elrond scene and Sean Bean’s completely unimpressed-sounding explanation of why it’s called that: “Because it’s a secret meeting.” No shit, ya losers. He’s kind of an expert. I am 95% convinced that Ridley Scott cast Sean Bean specifically so he could deliver that line.

…or I was, until I found out from an interview with screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods, Daredevil) that Scott actually wanted to cut all the Lord of the Rings references from that scene:

Ridley kept wanting to cut the Lord of the Rings stuff because he didn’t think it was going to play, and then I started to agree with him, even though I really liked it. And then at a certain point we were all going to cut it, and then Steve Asbell walks in with “Absolutely not.”

Now, it gets the biggest laughs in the movie.

Praise Martian Jesus for 20th Century Fox executive Steve Asbell. And thanks to Goddard for confirming what we already suspected: Ridley Scott, Charlize-Theron-running-along-the-path-of-a-falling-spaceship aside, has no sense of humor at all.