The Martian
Acting
Directing
Script
Cinematography
Timeless
The Good
  • Mark Watney is one of the best movie heros (nerdy-science and yet whitty as hell)
  • Awesome cast in great harmony
  • Film hits the right tones and has the perfect pace
The Bad
  • Too few negatives
4.6Overall Score

Another movie week has passed and after watching The Martian – for the first time in a long period, I left the theater with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I remembered a quote from my movie podcaster who mentioned that this film in fact was everything what Interstellar wasn’t for him – for some reason that quote stuck with me and I can only confirm that. Let’s go step by step – the plot of The Martian is plain and simple:

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/)

martian-gallery3-gallery-imageWhile I had heard really good things about this film in general, I tried to watch it relatively “untouched” – I did not really know who the cast will be (except Matt Damon) and what to expect – Drama, Science Fiction, Comedy? As it turns out, it is little bit of everything. Whereas often times, this is exactly when a movie fails as it is trying to do too many things at the same time – this is part of what makes The Martian such a great piece of entertaining. It is a well-balanced Science Fiction piece – positive in nature with tons of “self-witt” (if this is not an actual word, you will probably understand it once you watch the film). After seeing Matt Damon – who did hit jackpot with his most recent feature films in the past years (The Monuments Men, Elysium, Promised Land) – as Mark Watney, I almost could not imagine any other actor being able to give the character the same level of intelligence, humor and cockyness. But not only Matt Damon is the perfect fit for his role – rarely have I seen a movie in which the cast is so perfect put together AND is in such great harmony. To name a few – Jeff Daniels carries the role of the director of NASA with the same arrogance and strong will as he did his Will McAvoy character in (the good times) of The Newsroom, Kirsten Wiig proves the entire world that she can do other things than being ridiculously funny but my favorite side character in this film was Benedict Wong’s character – as clichee as it was to make the Asian-American nerdy dude be in charge of putting together the rescue mission and have him be the messenger of bad news – he just cracked me up every time he appeared on screen.

I mentioned above that the film “felt good” – now what I mean with that; both on television and film, there is a trend of the darker, the grittier, the moodier the better (I have no facts to back this up) – maybe it also my choice of film and television. The Martian however finally creates a dramatic tale in which the focus is plain, simple and yet positive: SAVE MARK WATNEY, NO MATTER WHAT. Even whilst including elements of politics such as the collaboration of two alienating superpowers, the film does not divert into House-of-Card’ish display of dirty politics, instead it makes a plea for collaboration and helping each other to reach a common goal which has nothing to do with money and/or power. And that just felt good. And the element of humor used by all the actors making the best out of a complicated situation resonated extremely well with me at all phases of this film. And one more really refreshing element in this film – as mentioned in the /Filmcast – is that there literally are no villains in this movie. And the movie still works.

All in all, this was a perfectly balanced Science Fiction film with all the right elements – aside from Matt Damon’s heartwarming performance, I believe that a lot of credit should go to Andy Weir for what must have been a fantastic book and Drew Goddard for a great screenplay – this film works on all levels and I can highly recommend it.

Info

 

martian_ver6

  • Running time: 141 min
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller
  • Year: 2015

 

One Response

  1. stephen

    Once again great review!

    I read the book and I can confirm it’s really great. The two main things that made the book good were in my view the refreshingly positive tone and the extremely detailed focus on scientific accuracy. I was happy to see the film adopted Andy Weir’s positive and slightly quirky tone (charmingly cheesy jokes, optimistic outlook about the “goodness” of humanity etc.). They also did a pretty good job conveying the science part which I thought would mostly get the axe.

    They made a few changes from the book which actually worked well (e.g. Captain lewis saving matt damon at the end instead of one of the other astronauts).

    All in all a nice, entertaining, feel good sci-fi!

    Reply

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