Helps you work, rest and play?
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 10 October 2015, 12:50pm
Running time: 141m
Country: United States
Classification: M (Survival themes and coarse language)
Release date: 01/10/15
Cost: $10 (Optus Rewards)
Rating: 5.54/10 (ME 2.5/5, DP 3/5)
Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is part of a mission exploring Mars when a storm hits. Mark becomes separated from the others and they come to the realisation that he must've died. They leave the planet's surface to return to Earth unaware that Mark has survived, but he has to use all of his botanical know-how to stay alive long enough to be rescued.
The Martian is the latest science fiction blockbuster from Ridley Scott, the director responsible for science fiction classics such as Alien and Blade Runner. Sadly The Martian doesn’t live up to his usual standard and, while enjoyable enough, falls short of cinematic brilliance. There is a large cast of performers in supporting roles (Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetal Ejifor among many others), but the focus is on Matt Damon and his character’s struggle for survival so far from home. Sadly, his sense of isolation and any grief he might experience is overlooked as ‘Mark’ throws himself straight into the business of keeping himself alive. Even though he’s on another planet and potentially 4 years away from rescue, it was hard to believe for a moment that he wasn’t going to survive. Apart from a few pieces of dialogue there’s never really a feeling that his situation is hopeless.
At times The Martian feels like MacGyver meets Lost in Space as the ingenious ‘sciences the sh*t’ out of his situation with the help of a crucifix, some gaffer tape, poo and a potato. Yep, really. He’s super clever (and a bit cocky too) but don’t get too bogged down in the science of the film. It all works (apparently) but unfortunately it doesn’t save this film from being too long, too slow and lacking any real emotion. The use of music is either annoying (Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff? Really?) but it it the sweeping orchestral soundscape that is particularly intrusive when natural sounds or silence would’ve been much more suitable. The performances are ok but nothing spectacular. Ultimately his wait for rescue was similar to our wait for the film to end. We knew it would come sooner or later but it was delayed far longer than it should’ve been. It will appeal to sci-fi buffs, but if you’re after something that has a more convincing feel of loss and isolation you might try Castaway or (the 2014 Robert Redford stinker) All is Lost. Good, but not good enough. (ME)
88th Academy Awards
2016 BAFTA Awards
5th AACTA International Awards
73rd Golden Globe Awards