Mar 12

The Martian – Review by Martin Chittenden – DCN Movies Film Expert

The Martian

Review by Martin Chittenden


Director Ridley Scott is no stranger to space and other world films. He’s brought us Blade Runner, Alien and other films of worlds not seen or experienced much.  I am a huge fan of Ridley Scott.  His production of Hannibal made the horror of the story into a beautiful picture.  Ridley takes us on journeys that are both visceral and terrifying, yet filmed and acted so good, that the world he shows us seems normal when it is anything but.

The story is here from 20th Century Fox, courtesy of IMDB.com.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return.

As I watched the movie I felt that there was something missing.  I knew that it was up for best picture so I was hoping to find what it was that made it best picture material.  The performances are fantastic, the visuals were as well.  The plot was solid and the story unfolded in such a way that it wasn’t boring.  The only thing that bothered me was that during the whole time, Watney never succumbed to the intense isolation that he was in.  If you think about it, you are stranded on Mars, to go outside you had to wear a suit, you had to stay inside a habitat.  I would think that for the extended period of time, some form of claustrophobia would set in.  The isolation and scope would send me into stir craziness quickly.

They explain at the end when he discusses how to survive by solving 1 problem at a time explains the whole movie.  I admit that is a great way to go through life but to go through a movie and have Matt Damon be cocky and like he’s waiting for a bus to come back feels empty to me.  I know astronauts are trained but they are still human.  The Martian plotline kind of feels like a “How America is the best at everything” propaganda film from the 1950’s.  So the film is fun to watch but fails in actual human feeling department.  For this to work we would have to assume that Mark Watney is a sociopath and just doesn’t care.  I’m sure that most human beings being stranded on Mars for that long would probably have a breakdown or two.  Another thing lacking is that Watney has no love interest, which would play to his want to get home but not the need to.  I’m sure if he was involved with someone back home his need would become greater. Add in that the only music he has to listen to is Disco that would send just about anyone over the edge after a few months.

The Martian is an interesting and possible future set film with good story and action, but I fear the reality of it would be much worse.  I may be wrong but the entire movie of just Watney talking to himself and joking with no fear shown or depression just doesn’t do it for me.  The explanation is at the end of just solve one problem at a time.  This could have been done at the beginning when Watney realizes how alone he was and then tells his log that he just needs to solve one problem at a time then move on to the next one.  It would have taken 30 seconds to put it in the right place and then we, the audience can go on the journey with him and learn from it.

To sum up, it is a fun movie but falls short in the feel department.

Martin Chittenden; Massive movie buff and guru


Questions? Concerns? Parking Validation? Random Insults?

Email me at: martinc@movies.discovercountynetwork.com