The Martian Review
After reading Andy Weir’s “The Martian” only a few weeks prior to the film’s release I was excited for Ridley Scott’s (Blade Runner and Alien) adaptation of an original idea that I hoped to revitalise Hollywood’s recent attempts at remaking old movie franchises.
I was not disappointed as I left the cinema feeling satisfied with a film that as far as I’m concerned did justice to the book, even with the alterations made for its film adaptation, but this is to be expected with any any book to film project.
Matt Damon’s performance of the isolated protagonist Mark Watney managed to encapsulate the characters struggle to survive but while adding life and comedy to the otherwise bleak outlook of a plot. With his character having to survive nearly four years on a planet that is barren and hostile to almost all life, and it is in this aspect that the films thrives. As the far fetched idea that borders on the sci-fi is kept grounded in reality with the very accurate use of science that helps the main character endure his time of the red planet. Although it does not get too complicated so as to lose the audience’s attention with complicated mathematical equations yet still manages to make humour of the strict procedures that NASA demands Watney to complete.
One would also have to recognise the aesthetics of the move, with an oddly majestic depiction of Mars, a planet synonymous with lifelessness and hostility still amazes the mind with its windswept mountains and rust red deserts. It accomplished a feeling of the specific lack of atmosphere outside of Watney’s space suit with moments of tension which punctuate the film in such a way that reels back in the realisation that the protagonist is only a thin piece of glass or plastic away from death.
Do not let that last point effect your perception of the film as a dark and gloomy depiction, it is the characters that bring a light hearted notion to the film that makes it enjoyable for any audience member. It is in this balance of tension and relief that the film excels at maintaining the films level of satisfaction that a lot of B list films attempt to capture in order to propel themselves to the upper echelons of Hollywood’s “must-see’s”.
This is solidified by the performances from the supporting cast that is in place to give hope to the story, with excellent performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) and Jessica Chastain (Interstellar) it very much gives the impression that these are real people who attempt, in defiance of all odds, to save a single human life.
For the films acts as an allegorical device that pushes forward the idea of sacrifice and stewardship of the precious anomaly that is life. It is in humanity’s struggle and attempts to overcome the hurdles presented in the film that lies its majesty, something that has not been achieved in many films.
Overall I would recommend this film to anyone who has any respect for decent storytelling and wants to see an original and clever adaptation of what could be considered a diamond in the rough film that attempts to compete with other blockbusters such as Marvel’s recent domination of the cinematic world, and does so in beautiful and thoughtful fashion.
By Jack Locock