Movie Review

Movie Review: The Martian

Loved it! Go see this movie if you have even a scintilla of interest in space or geeky subjects ranging from botany to physics. Even if you don’t like those things, this movie has a lot to offer.

Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm on Mars forces the crew of six to abort and return to earth after only a few days on the surface. He’s left behind by the other five, because they have no choice, and they’re certain he’s dead due to loss of all signal from Watney’s suit, but Watney survives and is stranded alone. Rescue is four years away, and the mission was originally supposed to last only 31 days. He ‘MacGyver’s’ solution after solution to ultimately rise above his insurmountable difficulties. I really enjoyed the book for taking the time to elucidate the solutions, which might not appeal to a lot of readers, but that was right up my alley. The movie explains enough to satisfy me, and not so much that it will put Stefnie off. I couldn’t wait and went to a matinee, and will go again when Stef is ready to see it.

Matt Damon kills it… The perfect casting for this role, he is intelligent and irreverent at once, with a gallows humor that keeps the serious nature of his situation from becoming morose and unwatchable. The book handles things the same way, and I found the movie to be mostly true to the book–until the end, but I like this end better anyway, even though I had to suspend my understanding of asymmetric thrust. I worried going in about the way director Ridley Scott would handle the Watney solo portions of the film, but my fears turned out to be unfounded. Damon’s video logs are fun and informative and a balance is drawn with the action back on Earth. Well done all around.

This is a refreshing new take on the Robinson Crusoe story. This one is high-tech, and modern. It’s predictable, but the journey is totally engaging. The acting is good overall, with a special shout out for Donald Glover (not related to Danny) who plays Rich Purnell, JPL astrodynamicist and ultimate savior of the entire mission. I particularly enjoyed the way he played the role.

I saw this in 3D but don’t think there is any particular reason to spend the money. It lacks the stunning visual cortex of “Gravity” but the scenery in Martian is still pretty amazing. And this movie rises above Gravity in the drama category because the sappy melodrama in Gravity is replaced with a relaxed, “can do” attitude that is infectious and instructive, IMHO.

Go see it, I recommend it… 9 out of 10, because nothing is perfect.

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