Review of 'The Martian'

the_martian.jpg In a future manned mission to Mars a large storm forces the Martian explorers to evacuate but in doing so an accident results in astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) being hurt and thrown away from the leaving spacecraft. Assuming he is head the others leave him behind. With only a few months of food left and rescue at least several years away Watney is forced to improvise in order to survive. When he eventually manages to communicate with earth plans are made to rescue him. Will they be able to get to him in time?

Damon does a convincing job as a botanist struggling to survive but, as always, he is often reacting rather than acting. He only seems to ever have one facial expression: Serious. Ok, we do see infrequent smiles. Yeah, he also yells a few times too. Wow.

This is certainly an event film and I am not sure it is ever in doubt what the ending will be (come on, you can guess!). Watching this I could not help but think that the entire premise of the movie, that NASA would move heaven and earth to retrieve an astronaut in such a situation, unrealistic and very far fetched but it does make for an emotive film. The real manned Mars programme has already begun thinking that any trip to the red planet would be one way so this further makes this film seem unrealistic.

The innovative ways that Watney finds to stay alive: Planting potatoes that are fertilized with the astronaut's waste, finding an old probe to communicate with earth, etc, do make it interesting and keep the audience guessing – Something bad has happened, how will he pull it out the bag now? Evidently this mostly involves “sciencing the problem to death” (I have slightly, only slightly, paraphrased the dialogue here).

That out of the way, the effects are very good and it certainly looks very real. Truth be told, I was rooting for Watney to be finally rescued as the tension mounts up at the end.

All in all, not that bad, but not great, with reality and (lack of) acting letting the film down.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-01-31

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Year: 2015

Length: 144 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Ridley Scott: