I kid with that title. But in all honesty, people are going to compare this to those films anyway, so … why not have some fun with it.
Anyway, Ridley Scott finally returns to space after the visual landscape of Prometheus and thanks to the creative mind behind this film, it also is finally a good / decent Ridley Scott film since Black Hawk Down (in my childhood memory of that film).
Visually, again, Ridley has this locked down. The stunning landscapes of Mars is believable and vast and magnificent. The space shuttle sequences are filmed to what you would expect and does give some spiffy ‘science-y’ zero-gravity scenes as well. The scenes on earth though are, naturally, pretty dull and boring as they are full of offices and rooms full of people.
Speaking of ‘people’, Matt actually does a pretty good job in being a convincing astronaut who is stranded on Mars yet keeps his wit together and convincingly performs under high stress in keeping himself alive.
Actually, most of the ‘science’ feels about right and authentic which is always a plus when you have science everywhere and how much things relies on it(looking at you Interstellar/Gravity…you did not do ‘science’ right). I mean seriously, there are a lot of jargon thrown around but in a sense that its actually understandable but narratively contextualize that they would dumb it down a bit for those in the room, as in the marketing team or whatever or even the audience.
I would say Jeff and Chiwetel played the most outstanding roles in terms of the ground team. Both wanted the best for everybody but the way they did things were different. One could say Sean did more of the saving but he didn’t really have much to work with and was just angry most of the time. Kristin was replaceable and her humour antics was rather unwarranted and made things awkward rather than amusing. Donald played up his Community antics and was a major nerd and had acceptable screen-time for someone of his calibre (beats out Danny in Cap2).
Now for the people in space. Rooney did well as the young techy eye-candy who could hold her own. Michael Pena does it again with his comedy chops and his lines are spread out well enough to really have an impact when his stuff is actually funny as the tension does need some comedy to cut through it. Aksel is forgettable. Sebastian seems to have some hidden character motives that are never explored but are shot as if they are going to be.
And lastly, Jessica. Again she is here to look nice. She seems to try more this time around in terms of being someone you want to root for but she really falls in terms of being the commander of the mission. It just doesn’t work as she doesn’t seem to have much presence when delivering her lines and gosh, she has the most awkward scene which involved ABBA.
So there you go for the cast and visuals.
Overall, this movie is fun and decent and will make a lot of money (for sure in terms of international markets). The tension and suspense is there and it makes you care about Matt which is a crucial thing.
Now, people will ask how it compares to the book. I have not read it but Tim has read it and he says the book was pretty much adapted straight through. He finds the movie visuals a lending hand to what occurs in the book and the examples he’s given me really sells that. As in, visually you can have things happen in the background yet have monologue happening but whereas for a book you either have a description of the scene or just have a monologue, the impact is not the same.
So end of the day, The Martian was a decent novel adaptation of a movie. Fun. Laughs here and there, tension here and there. What else do you want?
I watched this in a full theatre and these dudes/girls beside us just straight up laugh at almost everything in the film and was a distraction and pulled from immersion. With that said, I can still call this movie decent, so when you watch it without people who are either high,drunk or just way-too positive, you’ll probably be more immersed than I was.