Hey everyone! I know this review seems rather un-timely, but I’ve had a lot to deal with lately, as I’m getting married in November! It’s a crazy time for me, but I still want to get some content out. I will have another article out this week to make up for my absence. Love you all, and enjoy my review!
Imagine you’ve become an astronaut. It helps me when I put a glass bowl over my head and make radio static noises with my mouth. Feel free to do this yourself.
Imagine you get the opportunity to go on a mission to mars with a team of people who you’ve come to respect and admire. Imagine that a storm forms and makes you abandon said mission after months of space travel. Imagine a flying piece of debris knocks you out, and buries you in the red sand of Mars on your way to the escape ship…Then imagine that you survive, and find out your team has abandoned you on the planet. You’re alone, with limited supplies, in an environment devoid of life, as well as a source of oxygen; the base you have on the planet is built to last a finite length of time.
With my bowl on my head, I scream and curse. I imagine I would just live off the freeze-dried food selection I have until I run out and starve to death. Unless of course, my temporary base falls apart before then, and the atmosphere of the planet ends me first. I imagine I would hate my team for doing this to me. The situation seems so dire. How could I do anything except embrace the inevitable?
The Martian is such a masterpiece (Yes, masterpiece) because it provides you with a set-up that seems so hopeless, and gives you a character that’s inspiringly hopeful.
Matt Damon plays Mark Watney: An astronaut/botanist placed in the exact situation I described above. Most people would react to the situation as I would: I would hate my team and I would be gloomy. I would give up.
Watney blames no one for his situation. He’s aware of his chances but chooses to be hopeful anyways. He never gives up. The most inspiring moments in the movie, to me, and there are many, is when Watney will tell himself that he’s going to make it. It’s a simple statement that is emotionally potent, and perfectly epitomizes his character.
Damon was the perfect choice for this role. He’s likable, is believable when he delves into all the science-talk, and looks physically capable all the things he does.
The movie also stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Askel Hennie as the Mar’s crew. Matt Damon isn’t rivaled by anyone here, but that doesn’t mean that anyone did a bad job. Quite the contrary! Chastain is always a joy to see, and plays the captain of the team, which is a role that suits her well. Michael Peña is a riot as usual. He has some scenes of back-and-forth dialogue with Damon, and they play off each other well.
Then there is Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover as some of the people on earth who are working hard to get Watney back home.
Every single one of them is excellent.
I hate lumping every one of these actors together and saying they did a good job, but this movie is so packed with talented people, that it would be a disservice to try to briefly describe them all. It would take an essay written by a person much smarter than I.
The directing is wonderfully done by Ridley Scott, who is very well-known in the science-fiction community. He directed some tiny films, like Alien and Blade Runner, that I guess have given him a tiny following.
His experience with environments in space and stories about isolation really make him the perfect choice for this movie. He makes the barren Mars landscape look gorgeous, and he makes watching Watney perform mundane and repetitious tasks surprisingly captivating.
The entire movie’s ability to captivate is very impressive. A man using science to survive in a desolate location for months shouldn’t be this entertaining and accessible. Watney plants potatoes, sets up equipment, creates a source of water, and it’s all interesting to see. Damon’s embracing of the role and the writing really do wonders. The film has a runtime of 2 hours and 14 minutes, and it flies by. When the credits started to roll, only then did I notice how badly I needed to go to the restroom. A truly great movie will distract any bladder from doing it’s job. Don’t test this theory though. If you do and the dam breaks, well, maybe the movie you were watching wasn’t as good as you thought. Don’t blame me.
This is a hard movie to review, because I don’t have many things to talk about without going into spoilers. I don’t want to review it, I want to dote on it and talk about how good it was. It has flaws, like every film does, but they’re all so insignificant compared to what it’s accomplished as a whole. It’s directed brilliantly, it’s acted wonderfully, it’s visually and intellectually engrossing.I don’t have much more to say besides go see this movie! If you enjoy films at all, you’re in for a treat.
I don’t like rating movies on a star or number scale, so I’ll be rating them on a recommendation scale.
The Martian: Highly Recommended to everyone.