A riveting science-fiction adventure with Matt Damon delivering an uplifting performance that completely absorbs your attention.
After a sudden storm forces a group of astronauts on Mars to abort their mission, one man is left behind after being presumed dead and when he awakens, alone on the planet, he must figure out how to contact NASA and survive on minimal supplies as he realizes help, if there is any, is years away.
The man that created science-fiction classics like “Blade Runner” and “Alien” has done it once again as Ridley Scott creates cinema magic with “The Martian”. Hollywood has taken us to the red planet before but never with the dramatic impact showcased in this one. Often the cast and crew of a film may look great on paper, however fail to impress in the final onscreen result. But in this one the combination of Ridley Scott and Matt Damon delivered cinema greatness that you cannot simply express through written dialogue and storyboards.
The story-line was extremely captivating and mentally enthralling from start-to-finish, as Scott uses every minute of the run-time to weave a visually stunning and emotionally gripping story. The film starts out quickly and pulls your attention early as Damon’s character finds himself stranded on Mars. What I really enjoyed about this story was the way we got to know the main character of Mark Watney played by Matt Damon. Rather than building the backdrop for who this character was by using rushed scenes early on or simple exposition, the man Watney is was nicely revealed through his actions over the course of the entire film. It was entertaining and added for much more intrigue as you get to know this man more with each passing scene and harrowing situation he is forced into.
Damon was able to create a likable character that as a viewer you cannot help but root for. His unyielding determination was admirable as he manages through situations that would cause most to crumble. The overall tone was dramatic and suspenseful yet throughout, Damon’s witty delivery brings repeated laughs to break the mood. His optimism was comical and the way he embraced the problems he faced was something that raises your spirits and pulls you into this film. With Damon creating such a charismatic character, the incredibly tense story only plays partner to his flawless performance.
The rest of the cast was flat out amazing as well. Jeff Daniels and Jessica Chastain were both extremely strong side-characters and Chiwetel Ejiofor was fantastic. He continues to bring his excellence to every role he takes on and in this one he was a true co-star to Damon. Ejiofor was able to bring a great deal of energy and charm to his portrayal of NASA’s Mars mission director. The emotion he gives as the crew tries to figure out how to get back to their stranded astronaut added a great deal of dramatic weight to the scenes not on Mars, which made the pace hold up very well for such a long film.
Ridley Scott did a miraculous job of bringing the red planet to life in this film. There were amazing wide-angle shots that truly added rich elements to the desolate terrain making it feel like a truly living thing with dangerous capabilities. It also added an ominous feeling of isolation as you put yourself into the main characters shoes. The landscapes were beautiful and menacing at the same time and the cinematography was awesome all around.
The overall story-line was also extremely creative. I have not read the book of the same title by Andy Weir, but if the movie was this good, it is clearly a must-read. I am no scientist, and how ever realistic the science is, that was used in this film is up to others to debate. From what I have read Weir went to great lengths to make the science in his book as accurate as possible and whether or not it was, I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is I have seen many films that take place on mars, or out in space in general and this film felt as realistic in execution as some of the classics. There was not a lot of fantasy used in this film such as a classic like “Interstellar”, nor were the visuals as awe-inspiring as they were in “Gravity”, however this one was clearly much more riveting than both because of the complete package it gives the viewer.
This film was a perfect blend of great acting and writing, very well detailed set-piece and costume designs, added with just enough special-effects to pull the viewer into the movie without anything ever feeling over-used or forced. This was a long movie, closing in on two and a half hours, but never does the pace waver and every minute of this film keeps you completely lured into what is going on. Also, the third-act climax was amazingly suspenseful and literally has you on the edge of your seat with goosebumps created by the dramatic intensity.
Being I have never read the book, the finale was unknown to me and this resulted in great unpredictability. The ending of this film was suspenseful and completely fulfilling. The display of brilliant story-telling in this script was refreshing, as was the great character acting by Damon. There were many memorable moments that will resonate, ones that are purely visual as well as others that are deeply woven into Watney’s undying perseverance.
The 3D was also great and added a deep texturing to the layers allowing you to immerse yourself in the setting. It was very well used during the wide sweeping scene intro shots, and effectively pulled you into the chaos of the storms, all while creating a realistic feelings of space. Scott created a visually stunning film and captures all the feelings and emotions the script called for it was just refreshing to sit and enjoy a great film.
In the end “The Martian” is a must-see and in my opinion is the best film of the year so far. This script gives you so much you will leave the film drained of your energy from the emotional adventure it takes you on. If you have not done so, see this film on the big screen like it should be enjoyed, and sit back to watch Scott create science-fiction magic once again.
– Starring –
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, Michael Peña, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Mackenzie Davis, Aksel Hennie
– Directed By –
Time: 141 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For some strong language, injury images and brief nudity)