“The Martian” review: Out of this world; an ode to survival


Socrates Kanetakis, Podcast Editor

Potatoes…the Irish natives in the 19th century counted their lives on harvesting this multi-purposeful vegetable and many years later in Mars, Matt Damon does too. Yes, it sounds crazy but Irish people actually counted on potatoes to survive. Nonetheless, The Martian, starring Matt Damon, and about a dozen of other “A” listed actors, is this year’s adorable newborn baby at the theaters; loved by all critics and fans alike for its humanity, humor and realistic portrayal of a theoretical survival on mars. The baby doesn’t do the last thing, but you get the picture.

Veteran film-director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien, Prometheus… To name a few) brings us a wondrous blend of Sci-Fi and comedy, carefully bestowed on the dramatic concept of being left alone on Mars. And as if Martian isolation was not enough for the movie’s main theme, chaos dominates in NASA’s headquarters on Earth as also in the departed spaceship which left Mark Watney (Damon) behind.

Visually, Scott has never failed viewers. Even with box-office misses such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, eyes are captured in the magnificence of The Martian’s majestic real locations as also of its stunning CGI. Although filmed mostly in Petra, Jordan, The Martian truly feels as if its filmed on Mars (hilarious tweets of people believing this.) The space sequences are crafted in a blend of practical effects as also CGI–since we have been experiencing a practical effects renaissance for the past two years– and as far as believability goes, honestly; it might as well have been a NASA documentary. The soundtrack sourcing from 70’s and 80’s pop hits could not have been more perfect since the songs’ cheesiness is embraced with love and nostalgia by the audience, just like Mark does for the same reasons.

The packed A-list cast provides A+ acting, specifically giving credit to Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels and Childish Gamb- umm, Donald Glover, who all steal the show from Matt Damon. Don’t get me wrong, Damon is stellar. He undoubtedly gives an Oscar-worthy performance compounded with humane approachability and empathy which makes him instantly identifiable with any Joe Average. The Martian certainly falls closer to comedy than it does to Sci-Fi or drama. Based on the bestselling novel by Andy Weir, of the same title, the movie’s script stays mostly true to the book asides from the dialogue which has been toned down from hard R to edgy PG-13. Regardless, its *muffled Matt Damon cuss* hilarious.

Quite frankly, there was nothing; no ridiculous plot error, no boring narrative, no joke that fell flat, nothing, that I can criticize The Martian for. It is a feel-good movie with prestige and tension. An immersive theater experience with a compelling, fresh story. There is nothing else to analyze, nothing else to praise… It is a delicacy for those who want balance between sophistication and action, drama and comedy, clean and dirty. The Martian shines like David Bowie in the sky.

Final Score: 9.3

And don’t forget folks, Matt Damon is still up there and with your help he can be saved, all the movie’s earnings will go towards funding a manned mission to Mars and seek for his safe return to earth. Do your part, earthlings. Bring. Him. Home.

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