Film Review: IMDBinge - The Martian (2015)
Catherine's 2016 Challenge - watch all 250 of IMDb's top rated films. Today she reviews The Martian, now currently no. 231 on the list.
Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ was nominated for seven Oscars (including Best Picture) but, unfortunately, failed to win a single one, which I must say leaves me a little despairing about those little golden statuettes. For a long time I was reluctant to watch it as I felt there were a few too many ‘spacey’ films out recently - and I’m not a massive fan of Ridley Scott (the man who denied the white-washing ‘Exodus’ and yet admitted to having to ‘black up’ his actors). However, I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised by this film.
‘The Martian’ begins with a team of astronauts on Mars doing their day-to-day research when they’re told a storm is coming in and they’ll have to immediately abort their mission. Whilst running to their escape vehicle, Mark Watney (Damon) is struck down by a piece of flying debris and the crew are forced to leave him as they presume him dead. After a slightly gruesome repair job on his wounds, Damon is left alone on Mars to fend for himself. What I, and a lot of others, seem to love about this film is that despite the absolutely impossible situation, the film isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s surprisingly funny and upbeat without moving into the territory of being glib. Matt Damon shows us some of the charm that I feared was ebbing away in the midst of his success.
The casting is generally pretty impressive; I’ve come to be very fond of Jessica Chastain (who plays their commander) and Sebastian Stan with their rising stardom. That being said the entire Mars crew were excellent. The same cannot be said however of the casting of Sean Bean. Honestly, I don’t know why his performance was so jarringly out of place with what everyone else was doing, but it all seemed just a bit forced. However, he does set the scene for a pretty good joke about Lord of the Rings that you’ll have to look out for.
Apart from the lacklustre Bean, I can’t find a lot complaints to conjure up about this movie. As space movies go, it seems original but also a bit of a crowd-pleaser. I actually watched ‘Interstellar’ a while back, hoping for the mystery and intrigue I’m so used to from Christopher Nolan (my fave) but I was a little disappointed and didn’t feel like it really came together properly. I was so expecting to love ‘Interstellar’ but didn’t and was so expecting to hate ‘The Martian’ and in doing so perhaps set my expectations so low that I was bound to like it and vice versa with Nolan’s film. It’s a shame that success seems to have put this film under so much critical scrutiny as it’s a pretty enjoyable Friday night film, if a little long for the kids. Will it manage to stay in the top 250? I am doubtful of that. Is it a decent watch? Absolutely.