Movie Review: The Martian

4 The Martian (2015)

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast:  Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover

I’ll be honest, it has been a while since I’ve gone to the movies. It’s not that there haven’t been good movies playing, its just that I haven’t found the time to go. Thankfully though last week I finally got around to watching The Martian, and I have to say it was a very good movie.

I’ve known about The Martian for a while now, my dad and brother both read the best selling novel by Andy Wier and they had both highly recommended it. I already knew the gist of the story so I was already interested in watching the film when it came out. Knowing that it was going to be directed by Ridley Scottt was just the cherry on top.

For those that don’t know the film follows the exploits of an astronaut named XXX (played by Matt Damon) and his struggle to survive after being stranded in Mars by himself. It’s a fairly original story but it did remind me of some other films. Some could say that The Martian is just a mix of Apollo 13, Cast Away & Gravity.  At its core the movie is about survival, and the fact that space is a scary dangerous place. With that being said, the plot is still original enough to keep you interested.

The first thing I have to point out is the amazing cast involved in the film. I can’t remember the last movie that had such a long list of well-known and talented actors. I mean just look at the cast: (Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover) that is some serious acting talent right there.

As you can imagine the acting on the film was quite good. I think Jessica Chastain, and Sean Bean really stood out from the rest of the cast. They both did fantastic jobs at portraying their characters. I especially liked how emotive they were in scenes where tough decisions had to be made. Matt Damon was great as well, it can’t be easy playing a character who is alone for most of the movie, but he pulled it off.

Another great thing about the movie is the amazing scenery and visual effects. Most of the movie takes place in Mars so there are a number of really beautiful panoramic shots of the red planet. This really is the type of movie that is better to watch on the big screen just because of the great shots in it.

Finally, the last thing that I really liked about the film is the fact that it seemed very scientifically accurate and realistic. I’m no scientist but I can tell that some real experts were consulted in the making of this movie. I always appreciate when filmmakers make an effort to present things as realistically as possible and I think Ridley Scott did a wonderful job of that in The Martian.

With that being said there are still a few things that bugged me about the movie. For one, I expected Matt Damon’s character to be a big more broken up about being stranded in another planet months away from any other human being. I know the point of the story is to highlight his ingenuity, perseverance and will to survive but I would have liked him to be a bit more depressed, mad or frustrated during certain events. He was a big too upbeat for my liking, but hey maybe his character really was just that strong willed.

Another thing, I wish we knew more about all the characters in the movie. The film starts off when the astronauts are already in mars and we get to see very little interaction between them . I wish I knew more about their backstories and their relationships with one another. I think audiences tend to care more about a character when they find out more about them, but in The Martian everyone was pretty much defined by their job or role in the mission. It would have been nice to know what exactly they were leaving behind at home, or what motivated them to become the people they are.

Overall though The Martian is still an excellent movie, and I’m really just nitpicking. I wish the ending was less predictable, but you have to expect that from a movie like this. Yes the plot was pretty straight forward, but I still found it quite enjoyable. I wish they had shown more of each characters back story, but the cast still did an excellent job in portraying their roles. The Martian is a visually stunning, and entertaining film, and while it may not be perfect it is still a very very good movie, and I highly recommend it. 4/5

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