‘The Martian’ review: Matt Damon marvels

“Get busy living, or get busy dying” is a famous quote from the movie The Shawshank Redemption, but could really be used as the tagline for The Martian.

Advertisement

There are basically no spoilers in this review, other than the film’s basic premise.

Left for dead, an astronaut wakes up, alone and injured, on Mars. He gets by with a copious amount of goofy humor, along with his MacGyver-y can-do spirit. The movie is a competent hit, a story that needed to be seen and not merely read.

He is Mark Watney, a biologist who is part of a mission to Mars. Armed with a solid script that Drew Goddard adapted from Andy Weir’s novel and a flawless lead in Matt Damon, Scott pulls out one of his better films in recent years, managing to strike a tone that’s humorous in spite of its bleakness. Damon gives a career-best as Watney. “It feels very grounded and there’s an everyman feeling in Matt Damon’s character, just because he’s so relatable”. Obviously, no human has ever set foot on Mars, but you wouldn’t believe that’s the case after watching this movie. And meanwhile, we also visit Watney’s crewmembers aboard their Ares vessel, with its winding corridors and cramped crew quarters.

Like Apollo 13 and Gravity before it, The Martian is more outer space adventure than sci-fi.

What’s interesting, this time around, is the interplay between the mounting sense of danger and the increasing beauty.

That doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of “The Martian“, a gorgeous film that could inspire a whole new crop of astronauts.

The visuals are absolutely gorgeous, with the Red Planet always looking and feeling like a vast landscape.

I think the movies themselves have become so sophisticated, so good, that it’s really carried this audience with it, it just has a much larger reach than before and I think that that’s testament to a few of the great work that’s been done in that genre”, he said. The fact that this film is as nail-biting as it is owes as much to the clever use of muffled sounds, creaks and thuds as anything else.

Check out the clip below to see the escape route that Glover’s character wants to put in to action, a major turning point in the story, and don’t miss The Martian opening nationwide this weekend (Oct. 2nd).

So one thing is clear at least – he’s gonna need to science the shit out of this. There’s no melodrama here-only a hard situation and a problem to solve. The film errs on the side of more Earth and Hermes and less science.

Advertisement

I’m sure the science is iffy here and there. Or is something going to go wrong and will Mars be his final resting place? Jessica Chastain stands out as the crew leader racked with guilt over inadvertently stranding Watney, but Jeff Daniels and Chiwetel Ejiofor barely make an impression in the underwritten roles of the NASA chief and the Director of Mars Missions. Also, Watney’s fellow astronauts, played by Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara and others, are the right mixture of sober professionals and jokey daredevils.

In the film Damon’s character Mark Watney is presumed dead on his mission to Mars