The Martian Reviewed(We Have Spent Way Too Much Money Saving Matt Damon In Movies!)

Posted: October 4, 2015 by Duo in Reviews
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Hello all ya’ll reader folks on the internet, how’s it going? The name’s Duo and I’m the new writer here at Generation Nerd. I’ll give a proper introduction of myself later, but for now I have a movie to review for ya’ll. Andi has assigned me to review the new Ridley Scott/ Matt Damon film: The Martian. First of all let me state that this will not be a Ebert-like review or any of that, I’m going to review this purely on level of entertainment and maybe touch on a few technical points. Now I’ll state this now before we get into the review, there will be some spoilers below but I will try to limit them as much as possible.

The film opens with the usual space exploration/sci-fi stuff: A crew of astronauts on Mars taking samples of the local soils and rocks, a few jokes thrown around between the crew collecting the samples and the poor guy assigned to checking the return ship. The Martin surface in the film does look like one would imagine the Red Planet, but being a fan of space films I couldn’t help but feel like they borrowed the setting from The Last Days On Mars, a much less known film that I will review later. Typically in this kind of scene you are introduced to the characters in the team; however, in this case it only really lets you see the dynamic between Mark, Damon’s character, Martinez, the pilot and hapless fellow checking the return ship, and really no one else. The film runs through this scene fairly quickly, bringing up the cliché disaster that leads the main character being abandoned. In this case it happens to be a Martian wind storm that Nasa Command has somehow badly misjudged the strength on. This combined with the mind-numbingly stupid decision not to make a stable platform for the return ship to sit on leads to the crew trying to get to the craft and leave the planet before being stranded due to an overturned space craft. What happens next? Glad you asked, during the escape a conveniently loose antenna assembly comes loose and nails Mark, leading to him being abandoned on Mars while everyone else escapes to go home. The next thing you see is the head of NASA Terry Sanders, played by Jeff Daniels in a role that fits him very well, announcing the death of Mark Watney to the world followed briefly by his funeral.

While all of the world mourns the tragic passing of Mark, said astronaut is shown waking up on the Martian surface, partially buried and probably about the go insane at his suit’s absolutely infuriating alarm saying his Oxygen levels are getting low. Once he finally gets the cobwebs shaken clear, he digs his way out of the sand and starts trying to get back the HAB, NASA’s little station, in order to remove the piece of antenna that stabbed into him during the collision and punctured his suit. Ironically it’s also the antenna that sealed the breach and saved his life. After a quick scene where he is able to remove the object from within himself and staple the wound together, we get to see the man voice his thoughts of impending death to a webcam in a bid to let those who come later know what happened to him. I honestly liked this little but because it hits home as a real reaction, even if he seems a little too comfortable with the situation for it to be seen as completely realistic. After a night packing up his former team’s personal effects and neatly placing them in storage, he decides “Screw it, I’m going to live!” and begins planning on how to stay alive as long as possible. This leads to several rational actions such as: counting food supply to ration it, making a list of things he needs to do in order to maximize chances of survival, and planning a trip the site of the next mission (A mission planned for four years later, mind you). This also leads to the ridiculous, yet strangely possible, idea to turn part of the HAB into a potato field using Martian soil and his crew’s biological waste, along with some potatoes they had stored for Thanksgiving. This action leads to a montage showing his building of the potato enclosure, as well as a comical explosion when he tries to make a moisturizing system for the area.

The film cuts back to Earth about now where Mars mission Director Vincent Kapoor is asking Terry to let him send a satellite over the old HAB site to survey it for a future mission back to it due to the original mission being cut short and leaving excess supplies at the site. After a back and forth about why it should and shouldn’t happen, Terry allows Vincent to use the satellite and accidentally revealing that Mark is alive. This starts the third act of the film as NASA begins planning a rescue mission. I won’t spoil any more past this point because I felt it is where the film begins to really get good, and Ridley Scott begins throwing his trademark plot turns and emotion swings the rest of the way.

All in all the film was a very entertaining experience for me. Sure there were moments where it felt like the story faltered, and yes a lot of the science in it made the film feel like an apology for Scott’s previous film Prometheus, but overall the film was very well done. The cast was stellar in my opinion and full of star power. You have Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Eddy Ko, and numerous other talented actors. There were moments of comedy, suspense, futility, fear, desolation, just about any emotion or feeling a human being can get. I also enjoyed a few hidden nods to other franchises, real and imagined. At one point there is a reference to Lord of the Rings, which I feel was done for Sean Bean, in the form of a secret meeting between NASA leaders named Project Elrond. There was a reference to Game of Thrones that I may have imagined or thought too hard about, once again involving Bean’s character, where he decides to go behind Terry’s back and lead a mutiny in order to launch a rescue mission, which is implied to have cost him his job. I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to other fans of the genre. It is well paced and succeeds in taking you on roller coaster of emotions. Now with all that said I do have one small issue with the film, during the film Damon does a good job of conveying a man doing all he can to survive a hopeless situation and his frustration with the situation, his commander’s terrible taste in music, and his bosses on earth; However, he seems too balanced, his psyche never really shows signs of collapse from despair or loneliness, he never seems to let the planet’s desolate landscape and remoteness get to him which does take a lot away from the experience. Other than that little gripe I don’t really have any real issue with the film and still recommend it to others. Also one last tidbit, between Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar, and now The Martian we have spent way too much money trying to rescue Matt Damon!

I hope ya’ll enjoyed this review and that it was helpful. I look forward to talking to all ya’ll wonderful folks again. Until next time, have a good one.

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