Cert: 12A Runtime: 141 mins Director: Ridley Scott Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean and Jeff Daniels
I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this
Since Prometheus I haven’t enjoyed a Ridley Scott film very much. The Martian’s initial feedback have been positive and great praise for Ridley Scott. We have had a few strong space movies as of late that being Gravity and Interstellar. The Martian is the latest of the space disaster/survival movies. So what is The Martian about? When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.The Martian is a good return to form for Ridley Scott. It’s a great looking film,very easy on the eye. Scott does sci-fi very well and The Martian is up there. First of all the 70s music is apparently faithful to references in the novel and is surprisingly enjoyable, and the sound design throughout is great. The picture is vibrant and pin sharp with some superb cinematography – a couple of shots of the earth seen from space easily rival the spectacular images in Gravity.Matt Damon is extremely likeable in the lead role but this is as much an ensemble piece in my book as much as it’s a spotlight for Damon.
The film is littered with sparkling performances from a very talented cast. Everyone else gives a good supporting role. Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor are two prime examples of a job well done.So I guess you’re waiting for the but? Just a few minor quibbles.The run time is far too long here it could have been easily cut buy twenty minutes. But Ridley Scott only makes long movies I guess The writing is great overall and the script is highly competent. But under close scrutiny, there are a couple of flat spots and at the other extreme, a couple of moments of jeopardy that feel forced. I don’t know how reading the book compares, but on screen these moments smack of someone arbitrarily throwing in some danger to keep the plot going and the tension high. The moments in question just didn’t feel organic enough for me, so as a result, I was jerked out of the film a bit and not fully invested in the scenes that immediately followed. I’m sure other people wouldn’t be quite so critical, but I personally wasn’t as lost in the story as I wanted to be. I’d probably rate Gravity a little higher in that respect and also in regard to its emotional punch.