Movie Review: The Martian
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) calls himself a “space pirate” whilst on the Martian craters as maritime laws apply in space. We think you can call yourself whatever you want even if it didn’t make any sense if you were to survive on another planet alone.
ARES III, a mission to learn more about Mars is led by Commissioner Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), alongside astronauts Rick Martinez (Michael Peña), Beth Johanssen (Kate Mara), Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), Alex Vogel (Aksel Hennie) and Mark Watney. Everything’s well until a storm hits their location without warning, and Watney is left behind after failing to make it to the evacuation ship. Presumably dead, Watney then has to figure out how to contact NASA to stage a rescue while waging a battle against the tough Martian terrain with little supplies, all on his own.
Before watching the film, we were expecting this flick to be one purely to emblazon the success and power of NASA; so powerful they could get a man who’s stuck on another planet back home without a hitch. We were wrong. The Martian is a human story about human struggles; being alone and doing every humanly thing possible to survive even though help is a whopping 140 million miles away.
It’s notably intriguing to see Matt Damon play the protagonist role. Rewind to Interstellar; Damon played Dr Mann, a selfish, egotistical madman who was willing to take the lives of others to save his own. We completely forgot his sins whilst watching The Martian. Mark Watney is a charming, humorous and lovable astronaut/botanist.
Watney gives up on himself at first and waits to die, but decides against it, starting his quest to survive in the unforgiving Martian lands. Watney’s intellect, wit and sheer willpower is incredibly portrayed by Matt Damon, whose performance was genuine and true. We didn’t ask too many questions about how he pushed 400kg worth of weight off his back or grew crops on unfertile soil. We simply found ourselves rooting for Watney to head home in one piece.
Is Matt Damon the star of the show? Most definitely. Having said that, the rest of the cast executes their parts well and the whole movie was engaging throughout. What was close to 2.5 hrs in the cinema felt like it was just over an hour.
However, we found ourselves a tad disappointed at the emotional cues in place throughout the whole movie. It starts off fantastically with a heart-pulsating scene with Watney struggling with medical supplies, trying to keep himself together. It was so thrilling, it was almost silly. Yet through the rest of the film it feels as though we were obliged to feel a certain emotion; before every mishap there was someone or something that clearly suggests an accident was to happen soon.
The Martian, as a title, may be true to Watney’s unearthly will to survive, but unfortunately, there’s no E.T. to help Watney phone home.
Here’s the rub: this Ridley Scott flick is enjoyable to watch, and inspiring enough as it proves that you can do the unthinkable if you set your mind to it. Alas, it’s just not worth lowering your oxygen levels for.
Release Date: October 1
Runtime: 141 minutes
Rating: PG13 – Some coarse language and disturbing scenes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-fi
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Michael Peña, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, Sam Spruell