Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: The Martian (2015)

                             
             
                 'The Martian' Is Out-Of-This-World Amazing

         As the film has a rather optimistic tone to it, I still feel it might have an underlying sorrow to it. Mainly because people just love leaving Matt Damon in space for some reason.

        Story:
    The Martian is about an astronaut named Mark Watney (Matt Damon) whose fellow crew members, while on an exploration in Mars, are forced to abandon him while a storm hits, forcing Watney to be presumed dead as he vanishes from their sight. But it turns out Watney is still alive and it is up to him to try and survive while his crew and NASA try to bring him home.

       Ups:
     I'll start off with Matt Damon's performance. I would say Matt Damon delivers some of his best work to date as he portrays a simple man who tries to pull through and survive not by his physical strength or just his smarts, but mainly the optimism in his heart. Damon embodies the kind of everyman we see ourselves as or want to see ourselves as. The rest of the cast is also great as well. One actress who stood out was Kristen Wiig who served as great comic relief as Annie, the NASA media director. Chiwetel Ejiofor is also a standout as NASA engineer Vincent Kapoor and he gets some funny quips as well. Jessica Chastain is also very good here as Watley's commanding officer Lewis and plays someone that is perhaps more earthly than her previously straight-laced characters in both Zero Dark Thirty and Interstellar. The whole cast is great and despite it being Damon's show, it still works as an ensemble piece.

     Next, I'll discuss the screenplay by Drew Goddard. One thing I loved about his script is how, in comparison to the other recent space movies to come out in recent years, he made this one much more light-hearted and optimistic yet it still acknowledges the fact that the characters will run into some kind of danger and acknowledges the film's scientific elements without them being too hammered onto the audience in my opinion. What I mean is that we see how Watney tries to survive and how the other characters try to bring him home, but not too much detail. I also appreciated how the female and minority characters aren't resorted to tokenism or presented as cliches with dialogue pointing out their race or gender. They are portrayed as simple everymen and women trying to get the job done. There is no hero or villain yet despite the characters not all appearing wholesome, they all still have good in them. The script also has interesting meta-references to works like Lord of the Rings to help keep audiences engaged.

     I also thought the cinematography was absolutely beautiful. I loved the scenes in the outside of Mars with an orange color scheme as well as the scenes back on Earth where press conferences are held that have a bleaker, light blue color scheme. Those ones build an interesting contrast of how life looks on Mars compared to the Earth we live in. There are also bits where Watney is inside his rover and is surrounded by blue light which captures his subtle melancholy. The editing is also very good as despite the film's 2 hour and 20 minute screen time, moves at a slightly slow but steady pace.

     Downs:
    NIL.

     Consensus:
    Overall, The Martian is a meticulously crafted piece of sci-fi that is packed with as much heart as its main character. The characters are all engaging, the cinematography is stunning, the editing moves at an easy pace, and the screenplay is out of this world. Simply astronomical!

    Would I Recommend It?:
    Absolutely. As soon as you are finished reading this, go to your nearest theater and go see it!

Grade: A+