The Martian Movie Review

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Martian (2015)

The Martian Movie Review

I read some of the reviews and decided to review this title myself. That's because I'd like you not to miss this lovely movie.

It got some very bad criticism (Reviews&Ratings first page hosts at least 4 reviewers rating this title '1', lowest possible value on IMDb), most of which deals with Physics laws bended to screenwriter's desire.

Well I just want to reassure you that even though I am among the nerdiest guys on the Internet, I didn't get annoyed from what I saw. Not once. And if you weren't annoyed by Tom Hanks and his boys killing almost an entire German Division before giving up in 'Save Private Ryan' you won't be annoyed too.

It's a movie, not a documentary. And it's a great movie, a classic by all means.

An Odyssey for our time

In most disaster films, there's always a convenient human (or animal, or monster) villain for the audience to direct their hate and fear towards. Think of 'Sunshine', where a science-based movie devolved into a slasher flick in the third act. It's as if Hollywood couldn't conceive of any other way to generate drama.

With 'The Martian', Ridley Scott has shown that it can be done, and done very well indeed. It's just men and women against the elements, modern heroes using technology to solve problems. It would have been so easy to depict the NASA director as the stereotypical villain, but thankfully they didn't. Everyone pulls together, everyone does the right thing.

Watney doesn't lose his dignity at any point. No curling up into a ball and crying, no going crazy. Just a calm acceptance of the facts, and an unwavering resilience.

After the appalling mystical nonsense of 'Prometheus' and 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', it's a welcome relief to see that the only use religious artifacts have in this film is to be used as kindling ("They burned a cross in this movie!").

It's another welcome relief to see a movie with intelligent people in it that are actually normal, and not awkward/nerdy/sociopathic/psychotic, as Hollywood always portrays them. There aren't any insulting attempts to 'humanise' them either - no cutesy stuff like painting a face on a basketball (or robot) to have an imaginary friend - smart people don't need that nonsense.

For technophiles, there's a spate of references: 'byte sniffing' a file, reverse engineering, hex editing, chemistry, a steely-eyed missile man, and many more.

I'm so happy to finally see a movie celebrating human intelligence, science and technology.

This film is without a doubt Scott's finest work. I just hope he can bring the same elements to the Alien sequel.

Bloopers: Breathing creates an excess of oxygen? We use about 25% of the oxygen we inhale in each breath, so how would breathing increase the oxygen in the hab? Were the technical advisors on leave that day? Why couldn't Watney jury-rig a simple text/voice transmitter using Pathfinder? I know he's a botanist, but surely astronauts get basic training in electronics. I guess soldering isn't as interesting as jumping around sticking sticks in sand.

The capture of Watney is needlessly Hollywoodized. A bunch of scientists had a few months to think of a solution, and the best they could come up with was to manually grab Watney as he flies by? How about using material from the spaceship to construct a giant net, or even simpler, putting one on board the resupply rocket?

genuinely amazed

I am genuinely amazed at the number of bad reviews there are on here for The Martian. Now I never read the book, but I absolutely LOVED the film. So much so, I watched it twice within a week. It has been such a long time since I have been left with that wonderful sense of satisfaction after investing two hours in a really good movie, and this did it 100%

I am usually left highly disappointed after watching this genre of film, so I wasn't expecting much. Something like Gravity I thought, great special affects, dramatic scenes, and an average storyline, but The Martian was a whole different calibre of film and was perfectly constructed from start to finish.

I was instantly thrown in to a scene where astronaut Mark Watney and his crew are setting about their mission on Mars. But the sh*t hits the fan about ten minutes in where a storm causes Watney to be thrown from the crew and left for dead. There was no long lingering introduction to the film and its characters, just instant drama and character development. This forcibly got me caring for the entire crew, and got me emotionally invested until the end.

Matt Damon has always been good at what he does, but I felt he hadn't really shown off his true raw talent since Good Will Hunting back in 1997. Well he did in this. He was captivating in every single scene, and managed to do what Tom Hanks achieved in Cast Away and single handedly gripped the viewers' attention completely (with the help of a beautifully crafted script). Another reviewer got it bang on when they described it as Apollo 13 meets Castaway. The exact comparison I too had made and a combination, which works superbly.

The makers of this film put so much effort in to making it scientifically accurate which made it all the more pleasurable to watch. There was nothing far-fetched or stupid like in a lot of films of the same genre, and the combination of this, with a solid plot made for a truly interesting, exciting and enjoyable film.

There was drama, great effects, humour, heartwarming moments, a great soundtrack and a flawless screenplay. If you only see one movie this year, make it this one. An absolute must see.
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