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Review: The Martian

The Martian
10.02.2015
9 10

Check out Chris Bumbray's take on THE MARTIAN here!

PLOT: After being left behind on a manned mission to Mars, presumed dead astronaut Mark Watney must find a way to survive until a rescue that could only happen several hundreds of days away.

REVIEW: THE MARTIAN is great. Everything you’ve been hearing is absolutely correct. It is an intensely compelling, feel good, character-driven piece that is as captivating on Earth as it is on Mars. At the heart of it is a bravura performance from Matt Damon, who literally carries the entire first act all by his lonesome. He is just terrific. For director Ridley Scott, this return to space is a welcome one. With the only real alien life on another planet being Damon’s stranded astronaut Mark Watney, THE MARTIAN is still a tension-filled adventure that works on nearly every level. There is so much to be respected here, so let’s start with the very simple idea behind it.

On a manned mission to Mars, a team of astronauts must make an emergency exit when a massive dust storm hits. In the process, Mark Watney (Damon) is hit by part of the ship and disappears into the debris. They crew lose all contact with him, and according to his readings on board, he is officially dead. Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) is forced to make a very difficult decision, one that could cost all of their lives if they continue to search for their fallen comrade. They take off on a chart back to Earth and leave Watney for dead. But of course, he isn’t. By the time Watney awakens, in massive pain due to his injuries, the rest of the crew is long gone. Using his smarts, the astronaut must find a way to contact NASA and somehow survive until they can send help. And since this isn’t your typical sci-fi adventure, help is not easily accessible.

In the opening shots, we see the landscape of Mars and it looks about as far removed from typical science fiction imagery as you can get. As far as visuals go, THE MARTIAN is mesmerizing. Quite often the 3D utilized in other features add nothing aside from a couple of visual gags, but the technology here brings the vastness of space to life. It is especially potent when the storm hits and the debris feels as though it is encompassing you. Scott has always been able to create splendid imagery and he once again succeeds here. Even the simple shots of Watney using his skills to create a food source on Mars is incredible to watch. The director takes full advantage of his steady hand by using as many kinds of cameras as he can, which gives his latest visit to space a legitimacy, as well as beauty.

Much like GRAVITY, there is a very grounded quality to the film. However, the two tales of one person overcoming impossible odds have very little in common aside from that. Whereas GRAVITY told a simple story of an astronaut trying to survive alone in space, THE MARTIAN expands upon that and adds more elaborate complications. There are three stories that all connect this time around. We see Watney in his solitude where he must use science and his skills as a botanist to survive impossible odds. There is the crew that has left him behind, a group of dedicated men and women who have a couple of life-changing decisions they must make throughout. And then you have the fine folks on Earth, trying to figure out a way to bring Mark home without violating protocol. What is really thrilling here is watching these brilliant minds gather together to save one man’s life.

As far as performances go, you really can’t do much better than this when it comes to a top-notch cast. Damon gives a career-best as Watney. Jessica Chastain, along with Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Michael Peña and Aksel Hennie all have moments to shine. The camaraderie they share is especially powerful and in no way feels forced or insincere. The same can be said for the Earth-bound cast, which consists of Jeff Daniels as Teddy Sanders, the head of NASA, Sean Bean as Mitch Henderson, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor, Kristen Wiig as Annie Montrose and a couple of stand-out performances from Mackenzie Davis as Mindy Park and Donald Glover as Rich Purnell. Watching these incredibly intelligent characters work to figure out a life or death problem is far more exhilarating than it sounds. In fact, it’s quite thrilling. 

Based on the terrific book by Andy Weir, and adapted to the screen by Drew Goddard, there is as much humor in the story as there is smarts. Again, Damon is especially strong given that he spends most of his time on-screen talking to himself or explaining his process to a monitor. Yet, the way the information is given is absolutely entertaining. This is a terrific mix of Scott’s visual finesse and a great script. If I had any real complaint, it would be that you could have cut a couple of scenes down; there are a few moments that feel slightly repetitious. But that is a very minor gripe which can be easily overlooked.

THE MARTIAN is a wonderful adventure that is as much of an adult story about survival as it is a way to give the young ones an introduction to the vast universe high above. The cast is absolutely terrific, as is the script, and the score by Harry Greyson-Williams is haunting as well as inspiring when necessary. Ridley Scott has taken an incredible story and given it life with brilliant effects and a very human drama at its core. As a survival story, there is real inspiration here, as well as a few well-placed disco tunes, which include Donna Summer and the appropriately placed Gloria Gaynor 70s hit “I Will Survive.” THE MARTIAN is a smart and moving story that will have kids - and probably everybody else - wanting to go to the farthest ends of the universe.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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11:01AM on 10/05/2015
"As far as performances go, you really canít do much better than this when it comes to a top-notch cast. Damon gives a career-best as Watney. "

I tried to go see this with my wife but our show was sold out. I am still going to give it a try.
"As far as performances go, you really canít do much better than this when it comes to a top-notch cast. Damon gives a career-best as Watney. "

I tried to go see this with my wife but our show was sold out. I am still going to give it a try.
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3:34AM on 10/03/2015

Fuck, I Guess I'm THAT Guy Now...

I didn't enjoy The Martian. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic movie in terms of filmmaking itself and the performances by this cast were top-notch. But I just didn't feel anything, and now I feel like I might have missed something. There was no sense of any real danger, the soundtrack was meh, and everything was extremely predictable. And no, I didn't have expectations because I refrained from all trailers. I like the whole optimistic aspect of the film, but if everything is optimistic,
I didn't enjoy The Martian. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic movie in terms of filmmaking itself and the performances by this cast were top-notch. But I just didn't feel anything, and now I feel like I might have missed something. There was no sense of any real danger, the soundtrack was meh, and everything was extremely predictable. And no, I didn't have expectations because I refrained from all trailers. I like the whole optimistic aspect of the film, but if everything is optimistic, where's the real story? :/
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4:21AM on 10/03/2015
For me the excitement came from watching a guy fight for survival against the odds. Never giving up, not afraid to use every resource at his disposal and continue to wrack his brain to find ways to make it work even when it seems all hope is lost. I wouldn't say there was no danger. Somebody less capable would have been long ago dead.

We like what we like and if you didn't, you're not "That guy." Not every movie moves every viewer. You're allowed to be disappointed.
For me the excitement came from watching a guy fight for survival against the odds. Never giving up, not afraid to use every resource at his disposal and continue to wrack his brain to find ways to make it work even when it seems all hope is lost. I wouldn't say there was no danger. Somebody less capable would have been long ago dead.

We like what we like and if you didn't, you're not "That guy." Not every movie moves every viewer. You're allowed to be disappointed.
4:48AM on 10/03/2015
@Glinda You're right, I'm just one of those people this movie didn't have an effect on. I don't care for bad movies, but I know this is a very good movie in every aspect, it just did nothing for me personally, as a moviegoer. I was bored to be honest. It just seemed like there was a perfect solution to every problem within seconds of that problem arising. Not just with Mark, but with everyone else as well, from the crew to the guys down on Earth.

Thanks for the reply btw. It's not everyday
@Glinda You're right, I'm just one of those people this movie didn't have an effect on. I don't care for bad movies, but I know this is a very good movie in every aspect, it just did nothing for me personally, as a moviegoer. I was bored to be honest. It just seemed like there was a perfect solution to every problem within seconds of that problem arising. Not just with Mark, but with everyone else as well, from the crew to the guys down on Earth.

Thanks for the reply btw. It's not everyday you get a well-written friendly reply when you go against the popular consensus on the internet. ;)
5:40PM on 10/03/2015
I have a lot of respect for people who aren't afraid to post their unpopular opinion. I like to read the good and the bad, and especially when well thought out reasons for disliking a movie are given. It's different if someone just writes "this movie sucks eggs" and nothing else, or attacks and insults people for liking a movie they don't. You didn't do that. I've been there where you are so I completely get it. :)
I have a lot of respect for people who aren't afraid to post their unpopular opinion. I like to read the good and the bad, and especially when well thought out reasons for disliking a movie are given. It's different if someone just writes "this movie sucks eggs" and nothing else, or attacks and insults people for liking a movie they don't. You didn't do that. I've been there where you are so I completely get it. :)
8:06PM on 10/03/2015
I agree with Glinda, I respect that it didn't work for you and best of all, you weren't insulting or rude about it. If we all agreed on every movie it would be a pretty boring world.
I agree with Glinda, I respect that it didn't work for you and best of all, you weren't insulting or rude about it. If we all agreed on every movie it would be a pretty boring world.
+0
3:12AM on 10/03/2015

Nice review JimmyO!

Fury Road drops to second place for me for 2015. The Martian is the best movie I've seen in years. I loved it. 10/10 for me I can't think of anything I'd change.
Fury Road drops to second place for me for 2015. The Martian is the best movie I've seen in years. I loved it. 10/10 for me I can't think of anything I'd change.
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11:51AM on 10/02/2015

Going to see it Tuesday...

2D though and I wish we'd booked 3D now.

Loved the book and can't wait.
2D though and I wish we'd booked 3D now.

Loved the book and can't wait.
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11:15AM on 10/02/2015

Hands down

Best book to film adaptation I think I've ever seen. Humorous, uplifting, and just thoroughly enjoyable. Matt Damon was excellent. Definitely check this movie out.
Best book to film adaptation I think I've ever seen. Humorous, uplifting, and just thoroughly enjoyable. Matt Damon was excellent. Definitely check this movie out.
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10:51AM on 10/02/2015
Very much looking forward to watching this movie.
Very much looking forward to watching this movie.
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10:42AM on 10/02/2015
*****Mild Spoilers********





















Saw this last night and it was terrific. Just masterfully made from beginning to end and Ridley's best film in years. The film is gorgeous to look at and this film just flies by due to the expert craftsmanship with each and every scene, and also from the positive transistion the story tells from book to big screen. And I thought one of best aspects was that the film did a great job of nailing the humor from the book for
*****Mild Spoilers********





















Saw this last night and it was terrific. Just masterfully made from beginning to end and Ridley's best film in years. The film is gorgeous to look at and this film just flies by due to the expert craftsmanship with each and every scene, and also from the positive transistion the story tells from book to big screen. And I thought one of best aspects was that the film did a great job of nailing the humor from the book for Damon's character and that it never took away from the serious situation he was in.

The cast all did a great as well with Damon (who I can't picture anyone else in the role), Ejiofor, and Chastain being the standouts. But everyone had great comradery with one another and really made the difference in the key, heartfelt scenes (ie deciding if they should go back for Watney, Watney finally making contact with NASA, and especially the ending with the whole Iron Man reference just brought a huge grin to my face).

But I had a great time watching it and think it will be a big hit for everyone involved (which it should be).
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