Sir Ridley Scott has made some great movies and he’s made some bad ones. The Martian is one of the great ones. Adapted from the Andy Weir novel of the same name, The Martian stars Matt Damon and a star-studded roll call that looks too intimidating to list. In it, Mark Watney (Damon) is stuck on Mars and he’s got to use his wits, his brain, his smarts, and mind to survive enough sols for someone to come rescue him. That’s fine and all if only it didn’t take four Earth years to travel to Mars.
Let’s start with the good. The movie looks awesome. Remember how great Prometheus looked, well, this is pretty like that, but better and cooler. There`s one part in particular at the very beginning that really utilizes its 3D to present us something truly spectacular and the movie continues to use the most out of it but it kind of goes unnoticed after a while. This doesn`t mean the 3D was bad or anything it`s just that it reaches its high and isn`t able to go any higher… think plateaus. As the 3D gives the movie an extra shine, the camera work is also pretty cool. There was literally only one shot that stood out (in a bad way) where I was like `that`s totally someone running with a camera right now` but whatever it`s fine.
The script was written by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) and after having worked so closely with eccentric writers like Joss Whedon and J J Abrams, you would expect that one would be able to make a very snappy script and yeah, this is totally the case. Not only is the screenplay hilarious (as was the book), there were some really tense moments that had me at the edge of my seat. It knows when to be funny, it knows why its trying to be funny and it knows when to be serious. Honestly this is one of the coolest scripts of 2015 so far.
Matt Damon talks to himself a lot and it takes a very special actor to make this work. Take Gravity for example, Sandra Bullock was pretty awkward and she had a bad script to work off of. With The Martian, Matt Damon is on his toes, he`s likable, he`s acting the shit out of the movie which also has an awesome script. Check, check, and check. As big as the support cast is for this, there are some standout performances from Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Let`s get to the bad. Maybe some characters were underdeveloped? I’m really reaching here. Even though the movie is lengthy it’s able to do the best it can with characters like the one played by Donald Glover who seems to come out of nowhere and disappear but it’s fine because the movie is juggling hard enough so that the pacing doesn’t feel clunky. Though, the credits do feel a bit awkward as it seems like the movie still hasn’t ended yet… but no, it’s done, it’s only to show you the cast members… but it totally does feel awkward.
Now, I hate it when people say that this is so-and-so’s return to form but this is totally a return to form for Sir Ridley Scott. In 1979 he made a space movie and he comes back in 2015 after a bunch of stinkers with another one that’s just as good as Alien. This is a movie that’s going to appeal to people who love space, adventure, the triumph of the human spirit and pretty much everything you can think of that has a good message behind it. So what are you waiting for? Go watch The Martian, you’re gonna have a great time!