Martian Movie Review

Guys I’ve got a great movie to tell you about!!

First, I want to say that I finished reading the book The Martian by Andrew Weir this week and loved it.  I normally don’t like a lot of modern novels but this book resisted the modern cliche of having the lead character be all brooding and conflicted.  It had the audaciousness to have a lead current-day character that is actually likable!!!  I seriously feel like that is so rare in modern books (even YA we get a lot of Bellas and dystopian brooding characters snooze…).

In both the movie and the book I loved the character of Mark Watney and found even the smallest victories compelling.  Plus, the overall story of his rescue is so exciting!

martianIf you don’t know The Martian is about an astronaut named Mark (Matt Damon) who is left in a storm by his crew on Mars.   Each day then presents Mark with a series of problems, which he uses his know-how as a botanist and scientist to solve.

martian8I never thought I would be so excited for a character growing potatoes but I’m telling you in both the book and movie it is so thrilling when he harvests crops on Mars just based on his ingenuity and smarts.

He’s also such a likable character.  In the movie and book much of his personality is presented through daily logs that he does.  In these entries he is serious but also extremely funny.  It feels like a well-rounded real person.  Matt Damon is just nerdy enough and cool enough to pass off both sides of Mark’s personality.  It really worked!

martian5It is perhaps easy to compare The Martian to Interstellar because both have Matt Damon as a marooned astronaut but they are totally different films.  One is a philosophical treatise on the meaning of life and the connection of individuals and the other is an engrossing action movie about a man trying to get rescued and survive.

It is perhaps closer to Gravity but that is really more of a thriller with Sandra Bullock’s character being much less of an expert and more a helpless pedestrian in space who has to figure out a way home. The tone in films is very different. I loved all 3 films so it is good company any way!

martian7The surrounding players around Damon really helped as well.  To me there wasn’t a single misfire in the cast. Director Ridley Scott did a great job and that is saying something considering some recent misfires like Exodus: Gods and Kings.   Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, and more play the crew that leaves Mark for dead.  For not being in that many scenes they are fleshed out characters that have to make difficult decisions about their lives verses one man left behind. Throughout the movie there is a looming question- ‘how valuable is one human being?’.

Jeff Daniels is great as the head of NASA. He has to deal with the bureaucratic side of things and could have been a one note bad man executive character but he’s not.  He’s practical but wants to do what is right as well.  Chiwetel Ejiofor is the mission director who becomes an advocate for Mark and in a way helps narrate the story back at home.  Kristen Wiig is the PR rep for NASA and she does a good job being practical like needing a good photo of Mark on Mars to sell the public on him while still intensely caring for him too.

Sean Bean is a director who refuses to see the practical, bureaucratic side of things and Donald Glover is a young astronomer who has a breakthrough that helps the rescue.  They all make such good use of their minimal screen time.

martian2I was totally engrossed in this picture.  It is the kind of film you want to finish and cheer.  And this works because Mark is such a good person.  You want to believe in the value of one person and that such effort would be made to rescue the one. A side of me kind of wishes it was a true story especially when the Chinese get involved.  Wouldn’t it be great if we were all rooting for the same humans?

With Gravity there is a sense of relief when she is free from danger but it’s the kind of relief that you get at the end of a thriller.  The bad guy (outer space) is defeated and the character can breath.  The Martian is a triumph of human being over insane odds so it has more a tone of a Rocky movie or a sports movie with the underdog finishing victorious!

martian3It’s a cliche but I literally was on the edge of my seat.  I was leaning as close to the screen as I could get I was so anxious for everything to work out.  I couldn’t have been more absorbed in the film.  And just as in the book each victory for Mark makes you smile.  It’s so satisfying!!

As far as content it is on a whole pretty tame.  There are 4 F words and a few other profanities.  You do see Matt Damon’s butt in a scene and he does surgery on himself that is bloody.  That’s it.  I have to say I would feel comfortable taking mature kids and teens to The Martian.  It actually could inspire kids to see so many creative uses for science and math used by a variety of different personalities.

I loved The Martian in both book and movie form.  I recommend reading the book first and then seeing the movie if you can.  I did not see it in 3D or on Imax but I am sure it is cool in those formats.

Definitely my favorite live action film of the year.  Go see it!

Overall Grade- A+ Content Grade – B-

Here’s my youtube review.

23 thoughts on “Martian Movie Review

  1. Great review! Personally, I feel this film is a bit closer to Apollo 13 than either Gravity or Interstellar, particularly as it also features Mission Control back on Earth playing a major role.

    While the film does address the question of “how valuable is one human being”, I think it’s better explored in the book – the book’s monologue about the human instinct to help each other is in the trailer but not the final film.

    I recommend you have a look at this article about the positivity and inspiration inherent in The Martian: I was reflecting recently on the fact that the books I was reading/listening to (The Perks of Being A Wallflower and The Grapes of Wrath) were depressing me – it’s good to have something like The Martian that perks you up.

    1. All good points. Apollo 13 is a good comparison especially the mission control parts.

      They do go into the value of the one more in the book thats true and perhaps I filled in what I’d read so recently in a little bit.

      I will definitely read that article. I was just reading one the other day about how “people like stories about nice people”. Revolutionary concept but true! 🙂

  2. I wanna see this film and also feel like it’s comparable to ‘Interstellar’ since both star Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain. But, I wasn’t a fan of ‘Interstellar’, so I’m hoping to enjoy this one.

    Oh, it’s rated PG-13, not R.

    Do you see any Oscar noms for this film?

    1. Honestly Chastain and Damon and it being in space are only similarities to Interstellar. It’s totally different in tone, story and everything else.

      Interesting. I didnt think you could have 4 f words and be pg13. I guess I dont care about the ratings or have any respect for MPAA so didnt check that. They must have just changed that language rule to allow 4. So silly. My analysis on the content is still the same.

      I think it totally could get oscar noms but always hard to say until you’ve seen all the movies. I really loved it

      1. Yeah I think it is fine for teens and it does teach them to value science and math but everyone has their own standards. I have a friend who thought it was a too much language with more than just f word (I really sm surprised it got a pg13 but that’s the MPAA for you). Depends on what bothers you.

        But regardless it’s a very good movie!

      2. That is certainly a good rule of thumb. Will be interesting to hear what you think if you see it. 🙂

  3. The Martian’s feel-good sunny optimism should strike chord with Oscar voters. I do think it has a chance at getting some nominations. We shall see.

  4. I quite enjoyed this film as well! It kept me entertained and interested and made me wonder how the heck they were gonna fill 2 hrs 20 mins of screentime!

    I feel it was like a mix of Gravity and Apollo 13: Gravity, for the survival aspect of the main character and Apollo 13, for the aspect of everyone on Earth trying to figure out how to save him.

    If I have to list my problems with the film, they’re two, but nothing major. One, I feel Matt Damon’s character would not have remained psychologically stable spending a year and a half on Mars by himself. I’m almost positive that he would have started going mad little by little. And two, casting Chiwetel Ejiofur as a character named Kapoor was just really odd! Yes, I know it’s possible, but as a brown guy, I don’t think I’ve ever met a Kapoor who was black, lol. Again, nothing major, just minor points.

    Oh, one last thing: that kiss/implied romance between Kate Mara and Sebastian Stan literally came out of nowhere! But I’m not complaining. Hey, if Kate Mara wanted to give me a kiss out of nowhere, I deff won’t complain 😛 !

    1. So glad you loved it! It’s so entertaining! Mix of gravity and Apollo 13 is a good way to describe it. I love movies that make you want to cheer and this totally did that!

Leave a Reply