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Carlos Prime [Celluloid 10.01.15] scifi thriller

After a storm sweeps the scientific team’s camp and steals away Dr. Mark Watney into the great red beyond, the rest of the team is forced to leave him behind and begin their months-long journey home. Only Dr. Watney miraculously survived. Alone. On Mars.

Performing an excruciating surgery on himself and scavenging what he can to hole up for the duration, Dr. Watney has only one thing on his mind-survival.

Using his training as not only one of the greatest NASA scientists on Earth (his intellect is literally astronomical!), but as a botanist to expand his hope of not dying millions of miles from home, Dr. Watney (played by the smart-mouthing and resolute Matt Damon) hatches a plan to establish contact with Earth, escape the planet, and get himself home. What could possibly go wrong? When you’re 141 million miles from terra firma, everything.

An ensemble cast brings Andy Weir’s novel to the big screen in The Martian. Jeff Daniels,
Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Kate Mara (amongst many, many others) litter the landscape with incredible performances all around. In this latest venture from Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus), there is absolutely no shortage of star power and solid, consistent direction.

As an enormously budgeted studio film, it of course is formulaic as usual. Incredibly and predictably formulaic. But it’s a formula that works. The tension mounts early on and as more characters get involved in bringing Dr. Watney home, more critical issues arise. The film’s greatest flaw (as a tremendous amount of modern day book-to-screen adaptations suffer from) is the lack of elaboration on the constant barrage of situations thrown at the audience. It does, at times, feel like it was written for a middle school’s curriculum. When problem-solving is paramount and a character utters “as long as X doesn’t happen we’ll be fine,” X, within moments, happens every single time.

The tension is continuous and when situations go sour, the consequences jolt with an overwhelmingly powerful shock of worry and despair. Fast-paced, visually stunning, and exciting- The Martian is one of this year’s big-budget blockbusters that takes you for a ride and keeps your eyes nice and wide.

Without drawing too many comparisons to Gravity, this one gives a similar feel but with a greater sensation of hope for the lead as the world rallies behind him for a safe return.

Recommended Release: Interstellar

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Gir (6 years ago) Reply

Terrible waste of time, slightly better than Exodus-crap

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