After an astronaut is caught up in a fierce storm during a mission to Mars, the rest of his team assume him to be dead and consequently leave the planet. From there, Mark Watney (Matt Damon), must do his best to find a way of communicating to Earth, to start the ball rolling on a daring rescue operation that quickly turned into a race against time. Another solid Ridley Scott movie that is currently streaming on Netflix.
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Drew Goddard, Andy Weir
Starring: Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Donald Glover
Having recently re-watched quite a number of Sci-Fi flicks, I thought it was only fair to give The Martian another go too. The last time I saw this movie was upon its release in 2015, so having the opportunity to give this a second shot, especially with it being introduced to Netflix, was welcomed. As with many movies of this nature, quite often the cinematography takes center stage and with the Martian, this was no different. The filmmakers managed to showcase an as realistic portrayal as they could for the planet Mars, with the landscape being authentic, believable, and truly breath-taking at times.
Some have said that this flick included too many characters and for that reason, it was difficult to become invested in anyone on an individual level, especially with the limited character development on display – and I’d tend to agree. You never really felt too much emotion throughout the film, and the filmmakers didn’t really manage to convey the harshness and potentially deadly situation too well. With that being said, to the credit of the creators, there were one or two extremely gripping scenes in the closing act, where the seriousness of the mission was better emphasised, but prior to that, there was very little of this.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, you did often feel that the filmmakers wanted to portray a more upbeat and positive vibe throughout, rather than that of dread and hopelessness, something that was demonstrated by the upbeat soundtrack choice throughout the film. On more than one occasion, disco music was played, and mentioned prominently, in a bid to lift and keep spirits high.
In terms of the already mentioned casting, it’s fair to say that the filmmakers made sure that this one was stacked with well-known names. Matt Damon did a brilliant job in the lead role, especially considering the fact he was alone for the majority of his screen time. While a rather diverse support cast included the likes of Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean and Kristen Wiig, who all portrayed NASA employees rather convincingly, and finally Jessica Chastain and Michael Pena led the crew of astronauts that were originally alongside Matt Damon’s character, Mark Watney.
One person however, who in my opinion, almost stole the show, was Donald Glover. The versatile American had somewhat limited screen time, but managed to produce an outstanding performance as Rich Purnell, a slightly awkward, scientific genius who played a large role in the story.
Overall, a steady picture, especially on a cinematography front, but one that didn’t quite take itself as seriously as it maybe should have, and one that also lacked any real form of deep, emotional attachment to its characters. I’d also question whether or not the entire one-hundred and forty-four minute runtime was necessary. It’s worth noting that The Martian is now streaming on Netflix.
“I don’t want to come off as arrogant here, but I’m the greatest botanist on this planet.”Mark Watney – The Martian