Launching into theaters this fall, “The Martian” aims and succeeds at being high quality, escapist blockbuster entertainment that we expect during autumn, especially these last few years (“Gravity,” Interstellar, and even “Gone Girl” come to mind). Though there are always good movies playing in theaters (some are harder to find than others), audiences will have a reason to run back to the multiplexes with Ridley Scott’s latest space epic “The Martian” which excels in both style and substance.
Mars and NASA has garnered a lot of attention this week since it was announced that water was discovered on the planet. (Nice PR move, NASA.) Even the moon turned red this week as the blood moon captured the attention of society. People are looking at the sky and they have a movie like “The Martian” that allows audiences to be enlightened and entertained.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 4
First, the ensemble cast is adequate to get the job done. Matt Damon shines and carries the movie as Mark Watney who is trapped on Mars due to a destructive storm. Determined to survive, he uses science and a positive attitude to plan for the few years he will be alone. He explains via narration how he pulls this off and it is impressive. The cinematography which captures gorgeous shots of Mars is tremendous and devours every space of the screen. Make sure to see this on the biggest screen possible and one with great sound. However, Kristin Wiig was miscast as NASA’s awkward and sometimes too serious PR spokesperson. If this is my biggest gripe, “The Martian” is in great shape.
Entertainment Value – 5
“The Martian” is extremely entertaining. Almost too much so. I appreciated the optimistic tone amongst the dire circumstance. In our chaotic and depressing world, it can be challenging to watch a movie that doesn’t embrace a positive attitude. This is the strength of “The Martian” that I think audiences and critics will probably take for granted. Yes, we have cool special effects, witty banter, and fascinating science which is all fine and dandy. However, “The Martian” at its core uses the optimism to truly engage with the audience. This is something not to overlook, but appreciate and even celebrate.
Re-watchability – 4
Yes. I think audiences will want to re-watch this movie over and over again. I believe it will be a movie referenced and many people will keep it in their collections. This will be the must see movie of the season. I liked “The Martian” a lot until people kept describing this as an Oscar contender. Damon didn’t wow me like what I’m hearing. He is essentially Will Smith in “I Am Legend”…an above average performance in a very commercial and accessible picture. I don’t think it has that high level of watch-ability. Other than the technical craft, it really isn’t at the Oscar level the fanboys on Twitter think it is.
With a cheery tone, whip-smart science, and astounding special effects, "The Martian" is top notch for smart science nerds without being too brainy for general audiences.