By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
Master sci-fi director, Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus) returns with his latest project in the sci-fi genre, a film adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel, The Martian. And he’s not the only sci-fi/thriller filmmaking God here with this project, in comes writer and director, Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) to write the film’s screenplay and it’s not as irreverently hilarious like Cabin in the Woods but there’s some decent comedy thrown into this sci-fi epic.
I’ve not read the book prior to viewing this film, but after seeing The Martian, honestly I really want to now. Not sure how it holds up to the source material, but as a sci-fi movie project by Ridley Scott, it’s one of his finest projects since Alien and Blade Runner, better than Prometheus and certainly better than his biblical epic from last year, Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Unlike some of Scott’s other sci-fi films like Alien and Blade Runner, The Martian doesn’t focus heavily on blockbuster action or big Hollywood special effects. It’s more on the level of films like Gravity or Interstellar, very atmospheric, character driven, and has a dramatic tense, which to me is a positive because special effects and impressive action are nice, but a solid story and strong characters are much more important, and they’re both done very well.
During a manned mission to Mars, astronaut and botanist, Mark Watney (Matt Damon-Good Will Hunting, Bourne 1-3, True Grit) is presumed dead after a massive storm that strangely resembles the storm from Prometheus, and left behind alone on the planet. But much to everyone’s surprise, Watney has survived and he must survive alone on Mars, and what he plans to do until help arrives like what he’s going to eat or how he’s going to make it back to Earth.
With only meager supplies at his disposal, Watney must use his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to subsist and figure out a way to signal Earth that he is alive. While that’s going on, millions of miles away back on Earth, NASA and a team of scientists tirelessly work to bring “The Martian” back home while his crewmates plan a daring, if not impossible rescue mission to “Bring Him Home”.
Overall, The Martian is a movie every sci-fi geek should see, lots of exposition, implausible strategies, impressive visuals, and a very strong story and character development. Just don’t expect any aliens in this movie, which I find very odd because every time I watch a scene that takes place in a space station, I keep expecting the Alien to show up, at least when Ridley Scott’s involved.
Besides the plot and visuals, Matt Damon does an outstanding job as The Martian; he’s basically a space version of Tom Hanks’ character from the movie, Cast Away or one of the astronauts from Gravity. Besides Damon, the other cast members do a solid job as well such as Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, Mama, Interstellar) as Melissa Lewis, leader of the space crew, Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, Speed, Looper) as Teddy Sanders, head of NASA, even actors like Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Donald Glover (The To-Do List, The Lazarus Effect, Magic Mike XXL), Michael Peña (End of Watch, Turbo, Ant-Man), and Oscar favorite, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) appear in the film to name a few, talk about an explosion of talent.
So if you’re a fan of Ridley Scott’s previous sci-fi films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus, you’ll probably enjoy The Martian. But it’s not quite as Hollywood Blockbuster style as those films. Especially for a science geek, this is a movie for you guys, fans of Matt Damon, sci-fi fans, and people looking for a great 3D movie, this is something you need to see in Large Format 3D like Regal RPX or Cinemark XD.
It’d be difficult to “Bring Him Home” but you can experience his journey at your local cinema.