Film Review: The Martian (Ridley Scott, 2015) ★★★★

10 comments
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Whilst on a Mars mission, astro-botanist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is caught in a fierce space storm and is left behind believed dead. His crew make the tough decision to leave unaware that Watney is still alive, leaving him stranded on a planet with limited resources, using only his scientific wits to survive while a team at NASA figure out how to get him home.

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Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by self-published author, Andy Weir, The Martian follows one man's fight for survival when he is left behind during a Mars mission. Believing him dead, his crew and country have mourned their loss and even held his funeral. To NASAs shock, Watney is still alive despite having being impaled and practically buried by sand in a dusk storm. Much like previous sci-fi pieces such as Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón) and more importantly, Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979), this tale enforces a fear of the unknown and advances in technology, in particular space. The ultimate fear being alone, in space where no one can hear you scream.  

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As Scott's 23rd film, it seems he's finally starting to have a little fun. Unlike any humour previously seen in the sci-fi genre, The Martian maintains an ever-present comedic feel despite the seriousness of it's subject matter along side a disco-inspired soundtrack. Whilst it is a sci-fi piece, something Scott has always executed with perfection, it centers itself more as a character study of Matt Damon's character, Watney told through a blend of steady cam shots and intimate close ups. Stranded alone on a deadly planet and with little resources, Watney could easily give up the will to live but instead focuses on how he's going to survive on Mars, possibly for up to five years before NASA can reach him. Despite some intense trials and tribulations, he upholds a cocky yet charming attitude, sometimes even when he truly thinks it may be the end. Damon, in turn, delivers an excellent and believable performance as Mark though is never fully given the opportunity to convey true desperation or devastation. Whilst there are plenty of scenes to get those tear ducts going, there are no truly powerful moments to break your heart such as those seen in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar

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Having said that, it is a refreshing narrative that is not plagued with over the top sentimental value. Watney, unlike many other examples from the genre, has no family other than his parents. This sentiment instead comes from other, smaller roles of the crew such as Michael Pena and Jessica Chastain who we know have families waiting for them back on Earth. This perfect balance of humour vs. sentiment makes for an incredibly enjoyable clean sailing narrative. Whilst it could be said to have needed slightly more conflict, the finale is an intense and heart-pounding experience that more than compensates for this along side stunning cinematography which keeps audiences transfixed throughout.  

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In true Scott style, each scene is visually stunning. Having seen it in 3D, it certainly adds a depth of field and little added excitement although the story more than speaks for itself. The performances by a phenomenal cast are brilliant though slightly underwritten. The film features several big names and Oscar nominees/winners including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean and of course Chastain, yet in some scenes it feels they do not have masses to work with as so many characters take up our screen time. Overall the film is a true Scott triumph. The Martian gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars - outstanding. 

Have you seen The Martian yet? What did you think? I strongly recommend you all to go see this, especially with Oscar season in full swing now. Jack treated me to a day out seeing this followed by an amazing dinner for our two year anniversary and I could not have been happier. As always, I love reading your comments below so please do leave them below. 

Until next time film fans, 




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10 comments:

  1. I just went on Sunday and I cried my eyes out haha! Although didn't cry at Interstallar. I loved this so much more, for one my bum wasn't numb, like after interstellar and I loved how simple the story was, but how much he went through. I actually thought it would be one of those "look at meeee", sort of casts, but surprisingly they didn't get too much screentime, which was better for the story I think. I only watched it in 2D, but I bet 3D was amazing! Still can't believe he grew it out of his poo, what a brilliant scene hahaha! :)
    haveyouseenhowshespeaks.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Did you not?? I was a mess watching Interstellar! I didn't cry at this though but I did have a few moments of misty eyes and my heart was pounding the whole way through! I think it's one of those where the story and film overall is so good that 3D really doesn't matter - it's visually beautiful either way. Totally agree with you! Haha I know, that was great. Loved the humour in this xx

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  2. I LOVED this movie! So glad you got round to reviewing it as I was interested to hear your take on it. I thought the story itself was fantastic although, I agree that it does try and fit a lot in at once. Matt Damon is excellent but he is not given the same sort of scenes as Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar where he can have much more range. Overall, loved it and love Ridley Scott. Excellent review :)

    Ashley xx
    www.imamovienerd.wordpress.com

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad - I thought it was brilliant. I totally agree, Damon isn't given as much flexibility with this one but I think he's an excellent choice for the role. I love it! So glad someone else has seen it also haha x

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  3. i saw it too and liked it although i found it quite confusing. i'm not very good with science films but it was good and i liked matt damon ox

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    1. Aww ok. I spose it is sci-fi but not as complex as something like Interstellar, it's more a film about him then actual space etc. Glad you liked it though :) x

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  4. Oh I really loved this movie although I wonder why Matt Damon seems to be in a habit of getting stranded on deserted planets :) I find it funny that Jessica Chastain was in this movie with him also considering what happened in Interstellar. I loved hearing David Bowie's Starman in the soundtrack. Great review, Sophie!

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    1. This is true, he does get stranded on a regular basis it seems. Thanks Gil :)

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