Holy crap, did I just see a Ridley Scott movie that actually blew my socks all the way across the theater? Get ready folks because Geek Culture just got moved up another level driving home who rules the bloody entertainment world right now. Unless you’ve been living in an ice cave on Europa, the Martian is the Mark Walberg version of Castaway without the stupid soccer ball and really bad beard. It’s one of those movies where the script, director, tone and cast come together for form the most perfect union of movie making so far this year. This is a movie that pretty much has every single critic and movie goer saying “Fuck yeah; we want more shit like that.” This puppy doesn’t have a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for nothing.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The first people on Mars are on their way to study, well something, when a Martian sandstorm hits and they’re force to get back to their mothership. On the way Botanist Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, gets hit by flying debris and is thought dead because the impact damaged his equipment. Waking up later on he finds himself alone on Earth sister planet with the temporary habitat for shelter and only his science knowledge and wits to get him through it. When Earth and the crew of the ship finds out he’s still alive a rescue attempt is undertaking in every non-cliché way possible.
Let me stress this. They went out their way to avoid all the obvious clichés. Diverse crew? Check. Boss who has actual real life motivations for his decisions (in other words he wasn’t a typical “dick” boss)? Check. Some interesting science learning? Check. How he survives and the actual rescues tries to ground itself in as much science as possible even if they had to bend a few rules for the purposes of drama and the three act structure.
The good? Well, pretty much everything. No actors chewed any scenery, no dialogue felt forced or labored, every plot point and action built upon the other and left us with one shining diamond of a movie that needs to be added to the list of very Top 100 list every recorded. The Martian scenes felt real, the danger was organic to the story and the soundtrack was fun on a Guardian’s of the Galaxy soundtrack level of fun. If this movie doesn’t get nominated for a shit ton of whatever awards are out there then the conspiracy theories are true about the game being fixed.
Standout performance. One most certainly goes to Matt Damon who had you rooting for every success and feeling for every set-back he suffered. You feel his isolation, determination and fear. Michael Pena whose having one hell of a year on the big screen and Jeff Daniels who portrayal of Head of NASA Teddy Sanders was a perfect mix of intense as well as understated and human beings. A special shout out to Chiwetel Ejiofor who has come a long way from playing the perfect villain in Joss Whedon’s Serenity.
Make no mistake, this is a movie that celebrate science, celebrates human exploration and celebrates humanities ability to overcome any and all obstacles. It’s smart where it needs to be, funny in places you simply don’t expect, dramatic without being heavy handed about it and so believable you’ll be trolling NASA about when they’re going to really get around to going to Mars even if you had no interest in it before. If you don’t come to the end cheering like a sports fan or leave the theater with the same satisfaction of having a perfect meal then you’re simply dead inside. The Martian is how movies should be done and hats on to Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox for bringing a feel good original movie in a climate where remakes and special effect rule the world. It’s not enough to rate this movie a 10 out or 10, instead let’s rate it a damn good time at the movies or on blu ray or on digital download.