FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “The Martian” stars Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity, Good Will Hunting), Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, Zero Dark Thirty), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Z for Zachariah), Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber, The Newsroom [TV series]), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Legends [TV series]), Kate Mara (Fantastic Four , 127 Hours), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Black Swan), Kristen Wiig (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Bridesmaids), Michael Pena (Ant-Man, Fury), Aksel Hennie (Hercules , Headhunters), Mackenzie Davis (That Awkward Moment, What If), and Donald Glover (Community [TV series], Creed). It is directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator) and the screenplay is written by Drew Goddard (World War Z, Cloverfield). Based on the novel by Andy Weir (The Egg, Agget), this film follows a man named Mark Watney (Damon) who is left on Mars after his crew had to abort a mission due to an oncoming sandstorm. With earth thinking he is dead, Watney must find a way to survive and hopefully contact NASA so they can save him.
“The Martian” has been a film that I have been dying to see for a long time, and now that it has come out for rental, I could finally see it! I’m an avid sci-fi movie lover. Anything with space, superheroes, the future, or deep-thinking and I’m in. A year before “The Martian,” I saw a similar film in theaters called “Interstellar” (click the title to check out the review) and it blew my mind. It was a fantastic experience that brought heavy thinking on black holes and how time is used in space. The picture contained amazing performances and I had a blast. Seeing the trailer for this movie brought me back to that “Interstellar” time. I thought that a film with Matt Damon being stuck on Mars was a fresh, promising idea, and with a well-respected cast backing him up, why wouldn’t I love it? After seeing this, I would say that I really liked it, but I was rather disappointed when looking back on my high expectations. Why is that? Well, let me run through why I thought it was good first. The special effects has to be the biggest pro of this release. From the orange landscapes of Mars to the crew floating in space, this movie was beautiful. I loved the gritty, yet sleek feel that this film presented and the directing was something to behold. It was a mixture of regular, space suit, and log camera angles, all of which I could invest in. Every scene of Mars was shot greatly and I was interested in seeing the struggle of Matt Damon’s character. Another thing that I thought was good was the acting. Damon never ceases to amaze me as he played off his character well. He gave a nice blend of sarcasm and spite that both hid his fear of being stranded on the foreign planet. His costars were also great, including Jessica Chastain (who was also in “Interstellar”) and Chiwetel Ejiofer. I thought they all held up their roles well and provided a good performance to move the story along. The adventure with Mark in his survival on Mars captivated me, and I was interested in how he would provide food for himself and stay alive until someone saves him. It was more of a spontaneous, what’s-the-end-game endeavor rather than an in-depth exploration of what space has to offer, so really all that was supposed to hold me over was Mark’s survival. This could be a problem, which brings about what lowered my expectations: it was slow. I give props to Ridley Scott; I felt like I was spending a seriously long amount of time on Mars, but progress in the story inched forward at a sluggish pace. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested in Mark’s dilemma. In fact, they were the best parts of the movie. But the planning to get him home from the aspect of NASA really slowed the pacing down. I would see Mark grow potatoes for the first time, but before my mind could rejoice for the character I got plunged into some heavy dialogue about how earth will get him back. The thing is, I probably would have cared about these scenes more if I actually cared about the characters. I was rooting for Mark as he was one of the only relatable characters of this venture. Even his crew wasn’t that bad, although I felt like they could have been developed a bit more besides the character of Melissa (Chastain). This thinking probably goes towards the fact that there are a ton of famous people in this. So many, in fact, that not all of them get enough spotlight. I saw Kristen Wiig in this, her purpose not having much matter (any actress could have filled her role). Michael Peña and Sebastian Stan were in this too, both from recent Marvel films, but they were put to the side most of the time. I wouldn’t be thinking about this if their status wasn’t as big as it is in reality. I expect a bigger role for all of these big stars, but didn’t get much out of any of them. So whenever it cut from Matt Damon, I felt like I had to drive through some bumps in the road to get back to the entertainment. That’s really my only issue with this. There are many things to enjoy about this picture, but it takes some time to get to those moments. It’s a solid movie overall, and I was entertained for most of its entirety. If you like sci-fi films, I am sure that you will have fun with this. FINAL SCORE: 88%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: