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The Martian – Review

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 2 October 2015 [USA]
 
Director: Ridley Scott
 
Writer: Drew Goddard [Screenplay] - Andy Weir [Book]
 
Cast: Matt Damon - Jessica Chastain - Kristen Wiig
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


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Posted October 5, 2015 by

 
Full Article
 
 

The Martian Review:

The Ares 3 mission on the Martian surface is forced to abandon their work when a severe sandstorm hits their camp. On route to their vehicle botanist Mark Watney is hit by flying debris and separated from the group. Out of sight and life signs down, the crew is forced to leave him behind.

Earth-side, NASA’s directing staff deal with the media fallout and possible cancellation of future Ares missions. Their squabbling gets sidelined when satellite images show movement at the “abandoned” Ares 3 site. Mark Watney is still alive.

Over 50 million kilometres from home and stranded in a habitat to sustain live for only one month Watney must somehow survive until the next Ares mission can reach him. It will take years.

The bulk of the drama weighs on Matt Damon’s shoulders and he shines as plucky and capable uber-nerd Mark Watney. Damon makes the man easily accessible. You’ll laugh and hurt and feel for him. While his physical performance stands tall, his message to his parents should he not survive is his most touching moment.

Damon is supported immensely by a stellar supporting cast. Jessica Chastain is the cold and decisive commander of the Ares 3 mission with a hatred for banter and a love for disco music. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the emotionally invested Earth-side engineer, troubleshooting all of Watney’s tasks. Jeff Daniels stands out in particular as the hard-faced NASA director Teddy Sanders. He cuts deadlines and wrangles sensitive information and convinces totally as a tough-decision making CEO.

The movie’s enduring sense of humour makes its long run time easier to bear, helped along immensely by the jive soundtrack (“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Subtle). Also, thanks to the light atmosphere, when situations turn ugly they are all the more shocking.

Almost no mention is given to Watney’s family, with the focus kept solely on Watney’s current predicament. There’s a great feeling of balance and brevity on display. The scenes on Earth are no less captivating than those on Mars, with MacGyvering replaced with intense debate and negotiation. The extended time between scenes involving the Ares crew better reflects how NASA has left them out of the loop.

Jordan’s practical backdrop as Mars looks suitably vast and alien with CGI enlarging the already arresting crimson scenery. Kudos to the prop department too (God bless duct tape). The movie could be called a huge NASA advertisement but you can surely advertise worse things (I’m looking at you Jurassic World).

What makes The Martian so entertaining for almost two and a half hours is the writing on Watney. How easy it could have been to fill him with depression and despair. Instead we have a resourceful and adventurous human hero to enjoy. As for Sir Ridley Scott himself, his return to space (after the marmite Prometheus) has been a triumphant one.

On a totally unrelated note, who wants to see NASA build Mars’ first water park?

 

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Written by:

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Michael Keyes
Silences Band
@mkjk1990
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2 Comments


  1.  
    Helen Ronald

    Havnt seen this yet but really intend to- especially after reading this review!





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