If a movie about a character alone in a location difficult, if not impossible, to escape from sounds familiar, that’s because it is familiar. First there’s “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks and second there’s “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell. Since both of these films were terrific, starred talented actors and share a similar concept, movie-going patrons can have higher expectations with this film. “The Martian” stars Matt Damon and is directed by Ridley Scott and provided an ensemble of talent to share screen time in the telling of this story. In addition to the cast, there are moments humor, suspense, and drama throughout the movie creating a more developed and enjoyable tale.
Ridley Scott, as a director, has made some incredible films. He has also made some stinkers, to be fair. This film is going on the shelf as an achievement for him as a director. His ability to capture the tension in certain scenes blending special effects and camera angles on difficult shots (the storm on Mars for example) and then wide angle shots from cameras on board the Mars space station to continue telling the story was enjoyable. Ridley Scott had a vision in his head and conveyed it brilliantly onto the big screen. A director also has to get the best out of their actors and Ridley did that in spades. Even Kristen Wiig’s character was done well and hers was the only name that peaked curiosity considering her enjoyable background with comedic films.
The story takes you from feeling the relieving achievements of Mark Watney (Matt Damon) as he finds one way after another to sustain life on Mars to feeling the heartbreak and terror when things go awry. Back on earth while NASA is debating on which course of action to take, who, what and when tell certain things, the audience feels like part of the intense closed door discussions about the value of human life and political maneuvering. This film leaves nothing out and it forces everyone to consider the value of human life on this planet, another and the space in-between.
Towards the end of the film it’s safe to say you might all be exhausted from the highs and lows of this emotional roller coaster film. This fact is what makes the final act of the film so amazing. The audience is all but worn out from the success and failures of Mark Watney and NASA by the 3rd act. Then, a glimmer of hope takes over and if Mark Watney can try one more thing, by god, so can the audience. The final act of the film is filled with intense emotion as everyone on earth, in space, on Mars and sitting in the theater realizes it is officially that time, all or nothing, life or death. Does Mark Watley survive? Does his crew ever make it back to earth alive? Is anyone at NASA held responsible? Was disco music the best choice for a soundtrack on Mars? Go see the film and decide for yourself.
“The Martian” is in theaters now! I give this film all the thumbs space travel and NASA will allow. It’s an incredible film and it’s even one I could recommend to my religious family and friends without hesitation. It’s a movie for everyone and it’s so good!
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