Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a 2015 film regarding the exploration and manned visits to the planet Mars. After a severe dust storm, the crew is forced to evacuate and leave behind one of their crew mates (who they believed had perished), Mark Watney (Matt Damon). After the dust settles Mark realizes his situation, he is now stuck on Mars – by himself – until someone can return for him… in a couple years.
For the second week in a row I was forced to see the opening movie on a Saturday morning/early afternoon… I certainly hope this isn’t a new trend because it will get quite annoying. I don’t like watching movies in 3D, with Avatar being the exception because it seems James Cameron needs to take 10 years to make each movie and the visuals in the first Avatar were simply stunning. My options for seeing The Martian were much like my options for seeing Everest last weekend. On Friday there were plenty of 3D showings but only three showings in good ‘ol 2D… None of which I could make (1:15PM, 4:30PM and 11:00PM), so I was forced to see the film at 1:15 On Saturday. I suppose I could suck it up and see it in 3D but I just can’t bring myself to spend more money for a worse experience. Like most 3D movies there didn’t appear to be a real need to see The Martian in 3D, an IMAX or comparably large screen would be perfectly suitable for the amazing visuals.
Do I like space movies? That needs to be the first question you ask yourself before thinking of seeing The Martian, it is 100% entirely a space movie, every bit of the story revolved around being in space or being on mars and the challenges those things present. I happen to love space movies, Apollo 13 is one of my favorite movies and I loved Interstellar. Aside from Submarine/Naval movies, space movies are my favorite genre (topic?). It might come as no surprise then to hear that I really loved The Martian, it had all the right stuff: Awesome visuals, amazing sound mixing, a solid plot, coherent story and even some humor.
I’m delighted to finally see another movie that I actually liked Matt Damon in. It had been a while (the Bourne movies perhaps?) since I had actually enjoyed one of his movies (I’m not counting Interstellar) it’s not that I don’t think he’s a good actor – I know he is – it’s just that Matt Damon usually interjects his blatant liberal agenda into all of his movies (Elysium was the biggest piece of garbage I’ve ever seen), I never understood why actors feel the need to punish their audience who paid to see them by assaulting their intelligence and/or personal beliefs. I’m happy to report that there is none of this thinly-guised super liberalism in The Martian, it was free from pretty much all politics (government funding problems excluded) and current events, something that really allowed me to enjoy the film.
Like I said, the The Martian had great visuals and sound mixing. When compared to Interstellar I thought Interstellar had better sound mixing but The Martian had better visuals. With Damon’s character <spoiler> being stuck on Mars for over two years </spoiler> there were plenty of opportunities for Ridley Scott to show us the wonderful Martian landscape he created. I can’t remember if Scott is one of those directors that shies away from CGI or not, but if he is not one of those directors I have to say the CGI was fantastic. The Hermes spacecraft used to shuttle the crew from Earth to Mars (and back) was marvelous, as was the rover. Top marks for the visuals and audio.
Even though The Martian was over 2 hours and 20 minutes long, it never felt drawn out. The plot went bang, bang without any real slowdowns. They achieved this constant flow by switching between Matt Damon’s scenes on Mars and the scenes of NASA back on Earth. The Hermes’ crew (Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara and two other dudes) weren’t in the movie for quite a long time but for the last hour they were heavily involved as well.
The Martian screened like it was a true story, obviously it is not but most of this seemed believable. There was no light-speed travel or cryogenic sleeps tanks like other space exploration movies (I.E. Prometheus – directed by the same guy) and Mars is a planet we’ve been actively exploring with probes and rovers. I’m not sure when The Martian is supposed to take place, based on the spaceship and the fact that it was the third (fourth?) manned mission to mars and each one takes 5 years to unfold I’d assume it was a couple decades from now. Aside from those two things however, everything was current with 2015 – the cars, the tablets, the cellphones, etc… Perhaps they made note of it at the beginning of the movie and I just missed it…
There is a lot to talk about with The Martian it was jam packed with all sorts of stuff people who like space movies will like. If you’re one of those people then you need to go see it. I’d certainly recommend seeing it on the big screen for the full effect as well! Something to be mindful of, this is rated PG-13 but Matt Damon does say “the F-Word” twice (I didn’t think they were allowed to say it twice), and is partial nude in one scene… May not be appropriate for your kids.
9.5/10 – Nearly Perfect
The Martian did an outstanding job in my opinion of combining the realistic nature of living on Mars with the fact that no one has actually lived there so no one’s really completely sure. What I liked about the movie was how they were so accurate to even the tiniest details of what it would take to live on Mars and to fly to/from the planet.
There were some parts I didn’t understand like how he was going to live for years on a planet with no protein. As we know, there is no oxygen on Mars, therefore nothing can sustain life. However in the film he was able to grow potatoes. I can’t completely understand how they set up their residence on Mars. They had to vacuum seal it and put oxygen into the sort of tent that they were living in. I guess they must of had massive oxygen tanks that they brought with them on their flight there (we don’t actual see how they landed on Mars in the first place). Now I’ll buy that yes you can grow vegetables on Mars using the dirt that’s already on the planet combined with the fecal matter that gets stored from everyone taking shits. But how could someone live off of only potatoes. There’s no protein on Mars considering that there are no lifeforms. How he made water is another thing. Obviously, I’m not a chemist, but Mark Watney was (well, botanist, but that involves a lot of chemistry). I guess there was enough sealed food left in the fridge from when the rest of the crew left.
I think the movie was a little late though in pointing out how thin he would become from basically starving for a year. And you notice how his skin was getting really abraded from the lack of oxygen and moisture on the planet. This was a man eating essential a tuna fish can full of food per day for an entire year. Anyways, I actually really like the film and I enjoyed how realistic for the most part they made it seem.
9/10 – Excellent