The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015)
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
There is not much futuristic elements to the visuals and except the humans on Mars and their spaceship, this is pretty much similar to 2016. In fact, this is not a bad thing that science-fiction is not that disconnected to our reality.
Unfortunately, I haven’t read the book which the screenplay is based on but I think that Drew Goddard did a very good job and wrote a far superior plot than the Oscar bait The Revenant. The 140 minutes are filled with the right dose of action, fun, and mild comedy. The disco soundtrack that is used to counter balance the seriousness of the situation, alone on a planet, is a bit overwhelming but it gives a reminder of how a soundtrack can help to emphasize or not a situation.
With Ridley Scott on the directing chair, we have veteran who knows what he does and let the screenplay talk for itself. Originally, Goddard was supposed to direct but the film struggled to get the green light. When they took Scott instead it did not take long that it was all signed up with Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. I don’t have huge complains about Scott’s work here but he certainly drove his car in the middle of the road and I think that he could have added some input. He’s still the man who directed the first Alien and Blade Runner, he knows good sci-fi.
The ensemble cast is constant and the presence of many familiar faces like Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Mara, Sean Bean are all worth noticing.
The Martian is a film well done that is entertaining and that is worth your time and that will probably pleased the majority of viewers. However, let’s not think that it is a great film of a revolutionary film. Examples like Apollo 13 or Gravity comes to mind when thinking of similar titles. It is far from the technical wizardry of Gravity and The Martian is not a film that takes itself as seriously as Apollo 13.