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The Martian (2015)

His Review:

When a violent storm threatens the habitat of the Ares 3 crew on Mars, the crew decides to abandon the planet.  During the evacuation, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck by debris and is unable to be found in the storm.  Believing Mark to be dead, the Ares 3 crew leaves Mars bound for Earth and reports the tragedy.  However, 2 months later, NASA finds evidence that Mark is not only alive, but healthy and surviving.  Now they have to figure out how to bring Mark back home.

Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus, Blade Runner) and adapted from the best-selling book, The Martian seems to be in good hands with a director who knows a thing or two about making sci-fi space movies.  Right out of the gate, The Martian is interesting, charming and funny.  Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, Mark is missing and the crew is making the decision on whether to leave Mars or keep looking.  I love this!  Ridley Scott wastes no time with background or development, he jumps right into the main problem and adds the supporting information along the way.  This is a sure fire way to grab your audience’s attention and not let go!

Like many other Ridley Scott films, the visuals are stunning.  Sure the surface of Mars isn’t that colorful, but the crisp and clear pictures make you feel like you are on the Red Planet.  Did I mention this movie is surprisingly charming and funny throughout?  Matt Damon is great as the proud and cocky lone Martian, and I simply can not see anyone else playing this role except maybe a young Tom Hanks (think Cast Away and Apollo 13.)  You would think that a movie with a 1 man act wouldn’t have a big supporting cast, but the rest of the cast are all big name stars like Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig and Jessica Chastain.  Without this supporting cast, the movie would simply be another Cast Away and the Martian goes above and beyond being a simple survival movie.

I mentioned Cast Away just a moment ago, and some might draw comparisons to that movie, but I think that the Martian is a mixture of Cast Away and Gravity.  It has the survival and solo man aspect of Cast Away without all the fear and disillusionment and it takes the space adventure of Gravity without the huge amount of tension and stress.  Don’t get me wrong, The Martian has its fair share of stress and fear, but I never felt like I was worried for Watney because we get to see what NASA is up to quite often.  Some of you might not like that aspect, but I thought it was calming to know that Mark could actually communicate with others… eventually.  You might draw some comparisons to Interstellar as well, but I didn’t like that movie all that much so I won’t comment.

Even with a run time of 144 minutes, The Martian never over stays its welcome.  It doesn’t take very long for you to begin loving this movie which in turn makes you that more invested while watching.  I strongly believe that The Martian is 2015’s first guaranteed Best Picture nomination and I wouldn’t be surprised if this takes home the Golden Statue.  As I watched The Martian, it gave off similar vibes to when I saw Argo in 2012 and we all know what happened there.  At the end of the day, it seem that if Matt Damon is in trouble, someone will be there to attempt to save his ass… and give out Oscar nominations at the same time.  Co-starring Kate Mara, Benedict Wong, Askel Hennie, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, and Mackenzie Davis.

9/10 Stars – The Martian is stunning, crisp, charming, funny and thrilling!  First real Oscar bait of the year!

 

Her Review:

There have been a lot of really cool and exciting discoveries on Mars lately but in all honesty Matt Damon might be the best thing to happen to the second smallest planet in our solar system.  The Martian is a stunning, intense and surprisingly funny film.

I won’t bother with a breakdown of the film because my other half has that covered.  I will say the fact that its based on a book, The Martian doesn’t necessarily have an original story.  Truth is though there is no such thing as an original story.  There are definitely unique things about The Martian that get the blood pumping and sustain your interest.  Unlike Cast Away which has already been mentioned, The Martian has a strong supporting cast for Matt Damon’s stranded character.  What I find astonishing is that every performance is compelling and relevant.  Seriously, down to the smallest part everyone has a role to play that is ultimately “mission critical” if you will.  Amazingly every actor and actress deliver a memorable performance to boot. Obviously Matt Damon carries the film and he does it well.  Perhaps not quite as impressive as Hanks emotional performance in Cast Away, Damon offers his own spin on the abandoned man.  The dry and direct humor slays me and Damon does it so well.

I was riveted the entire 144 minutes of The Martian.  Even in the slower moments, of which there aren’t really many you are just glued to the screen wondering what Watney will do with the next problem presented to him.  I can only imagine if this were reality what someone might do.  Now if you aren’t as fascinated by the science the sheer beauty of the film will keep you captive.  Ridley Scott never seems to fail a making beautiful films.  So the realistic nature and awe inspiring sets of The Martian came as no surprise to me.

There are plenty of reasons to love The Martian and zero reasons to dislike or fault it.  It will provide stiff competition for the rest of the films yet to make their debut for the award season.  This is definitely a must see.

9/10 Stars – Matt Damon and Ridley Scott have made Mars the center of attention, even more so than NASA and that is impressive! Go check The Martian out you won’t regret it.

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