Scott Says THE MARTIAN Will Blow You Away!

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FILM REVIEW: THE MARTIAN

BY SCOTT PETERSON

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Welcome back Ridley Scott.  We have all been patiently waiting for the acclaimed director of such classics like Blade Runner, Alien, Black Hawk Down, and Gladiator to get his groove back. After dredging through such pedestrian and uneven fodder like Robin Hood, Prometheus and last years dreadful Exodus: Gods and Kings, Scott has finally hit one out of the ball park with The Martian. Twentieth Century Fox can start backing up the Brinks truck immediately because this one is going to bring the public out in droves.

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Based on the best selling book by Andy Weir, The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut marooned on Mars during a manned space mission after being impaled and the rest of his crew presumes him dead.  With the next planned mission over four years away,Watney must figure out a way to use what limited resources he has left in his HAB (a spiffed up space house), which so happens,looks nicer than my house. As you’ve seen in the film’s trailer, the good news is that Watney has enough food and water to last him about a year. The bad news is he has to make it an additional three years on a planet in which there is no way to grow food or produce water once he runs out. Thankfully, Watney just happens to be a world class botanist and immediately starts to “science the shit” out of his new home. Time and time again Watney has to resort to his MacGyver bag of tricks to stay alive.

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Back on Earth, the world obviously thinks Watney is dead. After satellite pictures reveal Watney is in fact alive, NASA president  Teddy Sanders ( Jeff Daniels) goes public with Watney’s revival and The Martian immediately splits into two movies. One part featuring Watney’s everyday struggle to stay alive and the other shifting to the NASA scientists and engineers racing against time to figure out a way to get Watney home. Meanwhile, the crew that rightfully abandoned Watney are on their way home. They aren’t informed that Watney is alive because Sanders fears it will destroy the crew’s morale. Once they get wind, they have a very difficult decision to make. It’s like watching a combination of Gravity, Apollo 13, and Castaway all rolled into one.

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Just like Tom Hanks’s performance was key to holding Castaway together, every single scene in The Martian is dependent upon Matt Damon and he absolutely nails it. He is undeterred in his quest to stay alive, hilarious while trying to make contact with NASA  and recording his video diary, and he’s absolutely heartbreaking when it looks like all is lost. Damon deserves an Academy Award nomination for his work here. Aside from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian is by far the most fun I’ve had in a movie theater this year. It is an extremely funny jolt of adrenaline that will have you cheering in the end. It’s that one rare film where it’s not just about the end, but also the riveting journey to get to the end. To quote another great science fiction movie, “Get your ass to Mars”

 

FINAL WORD: StarStarStarStar