Like the author of this post I'm a nerd for both Save The Cat, (the best writing book I've read this year) and this movie. After watching The Martian last week, not only is the song "Waterloo" running through my head, but I keep thinking about how well the story worked.  Studying the beats helped me understand why, but I think it's more than a appreciation for a well told story.

 

While science fiction and survival tales aren't my go-to, this one offered a sense of warmth, and hope. Watching the stranded astronaut solve problem after problem was inspiring. Just as inspiring was seeing how those on the ground, (not only within NASA, but internationally) set aside their differences and agendas, and worked together to bring him home.

 

The phrase "triumph of the human spirit" may sound a little cheesy, but The Martian puts it on full display, and doesn't apologize for its upbeat message or ending.   After recently watching another popular movie in which the main character dismisses happy endings as not real life, this story has stuck with me in a good way. "Waterloo" and all.

Source: http://www.savethecat.com/beat-sheet/the-martian-beat-sheet