Space survival thriller from Ridley Scott, adapting Andy Weir’s best-selling novel about an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars when his crew leave him behind – presumed dead. When NASA discovers “the Martian” is still alive, the clock counts down to plan and execute a seemingly impossible rescue mission. Co-stars Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Kate Mara (127 Hours) and Michael Peña (Fury).
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BY Steve Newall Flicks Writer
Ridley Scott’s previous journeys into outer space have been bold leaps of imagination paired with visual flair. The Martian, on the other hand, is a scientifically-grounded thriller set for the most part on a planet that’s got heaps of red rocks. Having more in common with Castaway than the horrors of Alien, it’s the nerve-wracking situation that Matt Damon’s smart-arse character Mark Watney finds himself in, stranded on the surface of Mars, that does the heavy lifting, rather than wonders of the cosmos or previously unseen terrors.... More
Scott’s in economical mode here, a more fitting match for Andy Weir’s novel (largely told in the first person in journal form), than the recent bombast of Exodus: Gods and Kings or Prometheus. Weir delved deeper into Watney’s scientific reasoning, but Scott still proves adept at bringing far more detail to proceedings than your average sci-fi pic. This is just one of the many ways he’s aided by Damon, whose monologues, liberally peppered with humour and a dashing of profanity, not only help his character cope with isolation and panic, but keep us invested in his circumstances.
Gravity is the obvious comparison, but The Martian is more predicament problem-solving than thrill-ride, and seeing Mars brought to life more an intellectual than visual spectacle compared to Bullock’s orbital adventure. Thankfully, The Martian does a much more successful job at conveying the invisible environmental threat of Mars’ atmosphere than the invisible environmental threat of Earth’s ecosystem seen in the admittedly-terrible The Happening.
A superior survival thriller, and one that doesn’t need to trade on a body count of real life victims, The Martian shows that true stories of endurance aren't always better than fiction. That it does so in largely solo fashion, in a familiar-looking environment, makes it all the more impressive.Hide
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BY cinemusefilm superstar
It’s a well-worn plotline: a tirelessly glib astronaut Mark Watney is abandoned and presumed dead after a space-storm hits Mars. Behaving as if he simply missed his taxi, he starts home renovations and adds a vegetable farm fertilised by little packets of poo left behind by his departed friends: after all, it could be four years before NASA can send a rescue cab. The orange-tinged Mars landscapes look so earth-like that is sure to dim enthusiasm for future space tourism. At least we know that outer space is deep, but the film’s dialogue is unbelievably shallow. This does not need to be so, as proven by the much-praised Gravity (2013). Mark’s heartfelt message to mom and dad “dying is big and beautiful in space” just does not cut through, and when the Mars crew that left him behind decide to extend the mission for another 533 days in order to collect him, they do so with as much deliberation as they would in choosing pizza topping. Science fiction or comedy, this is neither.Hide
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