The Martian (PG-13)
15/10/15 23:59 Filed in: 2015
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon
This review was originally tweeted in Real-time from the back row of a movie theater and appears @BackRoweReviews. Though efforts were made to tease rather than ruin this movie’s memorable lines and moments, some spoilers may exist in the following evaluation. The original tweets appear in black, while follow-up comments appear in red. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. All ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
Not quite. Though not nearly as epic in scale or scope as Interstellar, The Martian is an enjoyable sci-fi yarn in its own right.
Communication is the hallmark of teamwork. Until you close the comm channel.
Can you imagine how much people on a long range space expedition would get on each others’ nerves?
Wicked windstorm. Beware of loose satellite dishes.
And crews that leave their own behind.
“Mark Watney is dead.” The end.
Good thing he isn’t dead or this would be a really short movie.
The press conference puts #JeffDaniels’ news anchor skills from #HBO’s #TheNewsroom to good use.
If you close your eyes, you can almost picture him at a news anchor’s desk. Daniels excels in this kind of role.
Warning: the #SelfSurgery scene is rough to watch.
Scott featured a self-abortion procedure in his Alien prequel Prometheus. Seems to be a pattern with the director.
“I’m not going to die here.” That’s the spirit.
Watney’s positivity, along with his ingenuity, is really what saves his life.
“Luckily...I’m a botanist.” Ha!
A very funny scene since we really don’t know what Watney’s position in the crew is up to this point.
Nice #Noseplugs, Watney.
The first sign of green on #Mars.
This scene reminds me of the beginning of WALL-E when the robot gives the green sprig to EVE as a present.
50 million miles from Earth. #MajorHomesickness
I couldn’t imagine the suffocating isolation of being on an interstellar voyage like this.
Organic, homegrown potatoes on #Mars. They make far tastier #FrenchFries than #MacDonalds.
At least you’d know they were real potatoes, not frozen slices of processed starch like at Mickey Ds.
“The whole world is rooting for you.” What a singular honor.
Better not accidentally kill yourself. No pressure or anything.
“I colonized Mars.” Hilarious.
Watney’s cogitations are always so well formulated. The mark of a great scientist.
Mark’s life is saved by the “handyman’s secret weapon.” #DuctTape #TheRedGreenShow
This Canadian comedy show will leave you in stitches. Back to Mars: it’s amazing how duct tape can seal a breach in a cracked helmet, effectively shutting out the Martian atmosphere. And great preparedness on Watney’s part to have tape on his person at all times. He must’ve been a Boy Scout.
#ProjectElrond. Clever inside reference with #SeanBean in the room. #Boromir #LOTR
Bean played Boromir, who was at the Council of Elrond in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).
“Mark Watney, Space Pirate.” Love his line of reasoning. #SpacePirate
Though done tongue-in-cheek, the logical assemblage of facts with humorous applications makes this a delightful scene. It’s a nice character moment that further cements our affinity for the character.
“Everywhere I go I’m first.” What a euphoric feeling that would be.
It’s a sensation familiar only to true pioneers.
That tarp over the nose of the rocket is giving me major anxiety.
I’d want a lot more than a sheet of plastic between me and space.
“You have terrible taste in music.” Much needed #ComicRelief.
Disco is to music what film noir is to movies. Both had a clearly defined beginning and end. As such, they are styles or movements, not genres.
Final analysis: an inspiring story of ingenuity and tenacity that’s at least as heart stopping as #Apollo13.
And is arguably more intense (as a whole) than last year’s Interstellar.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4. Damon turns in a stellar performance and Scott’s direction is truly out of this world.
Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, The Martian is the latest foray into deep space by director Ridley Scott (Alien, 1979 and Prometheus, 2012). Although the star of the show is Matt Damon, he’s supported by a dazzling array of fine actors, including: Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mackenzie Davis. Damon plays Mark Watney, member of a manned mission to Mars. During a violent sand storm, gale force winds tear loose a satellite dish that slams into Watney and sends him spiraling away into the blustery Martian night. The team leader (Chastain) makes the difficult decision to leave Watney and the sand blasted surface of Mars behind for the regulated environs of the orbiting space vessel. Once the team is safely aboard, the ship begins its long journey back to Earth. At a press conference, Watney is pronounced dead by a NASA executive (Daniels). The end. Not quite. As you’ve guessed, Watney is still alive. Thus begins the rest of the movie, which centers on Watney’s arduous struggle to stay alive on the Red Planet and the problematic rescue mission mounted by NASA. The story element that makes this movie so incredibly enjoyable is its educational component: watching Watney use real science (most of which went right over my head) to sustain his life, especially during the sequence where he creates a makeshift greenhouse inside the landing pod, is engrossing and exhilarating. If these scenes have a downside, however, it’s that I suffered an anxiety attack when I mentally put myself in Watney’s place and realized I wouldn’t last one day on Mars with my limited knowledge of science. Granted, Watney is a trained astronaut, but there’s no way I would know how to make all of the gizmos he improvises with duct tape and feces (not together fortunately, ew). This master course in science is definitely one of the more engaging aspects of the film, but there’s plenty more to recommend it. Like in 2010 (1984) and Space Cowboys (2000), an international effort is required in order to accomplish the mission, a plot point that should appeal to foreign audiences as well as promote global goodwill…which our world can certainly use right now. There can be no doubt that Damon’s Watney is the hero of the hour: he’s resourceful, humble and witty. While Watney is a far cry from Damon’s devious Dr. Mann in Interstellar (2014), he’s a distant echo of Damon’s titular character in Saving Private Ryan (1998): rescue teams are sent to retrieve his characters in both of those films as well as this one. Playing a lost sheep is becoming a career MO for Damon. As a bona fide sci-fi epic, Martian puts other Mars-themed movies (Mission to Mars and Red Planet, both released in 2000) to shame. Ridley Scott’s well honed craft is evident both in the film’s outer space and planetary scenes. His framing of the visually striking desert vistas on the surface of Mars (filmed on Earth, of course) are effectively counterpointed by the moody and claustrophobic environments inside the various vessels—mother ship, module and rover. Scott mastered this juxtapositional contrast between the expansiveness of space and the constricting confines of space vessels in his Alien movies. The mounting crises in this film brings to mind the similar mechanical failures and scientific quandaries that made Apollo 13 (1995) such a pulse-pounding, nail-biting masterpiece. This film matches that level of intensity but also offers a good amount of comic relief, especially during Watney’s mission logs. Whereas Prometheus and Interstellar offer a harder brand of sci-fi, Martian is more scientifically accurate and has more commercial appeal. In the end, this survival film is thrilling, inspiring and crowd-pleasing and has carved out its own little corner of the sci-fi universe.