Sunday, October 4, 2015

'The Martian': Random Screen Review


           Ridley Scotts's The Martian has finally arrived. In it, Matt Damon plays stranded Nasa astronaut Mark Watney who basically MacGyver's the hell out of his situation. As a whole, this movie certainly entertained. It was very intriguing to watch Mark solve every survival problem that arose. However, despite all the positive reviews this movie's received (a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes no less), and at the risk of sounding like a total hater, I wasn't really that blown away by The Martian. It was certainly worth watching, but I had some lingering issues with this one...Here are my thoughts...and yes, spoilers await...
1. Mark Watney Needed More Character Development:
To begin with, this movie seemed to rely on us knowing who Matt Damon is. We really didn't get to know his character before the crew left Mars and a solid development never followed. It would have made for a better character to see Mark struggle way more with being alone on Mars. Had Mark Watney been cast as a relative unknown I think the lack of character development would have been more obvious. That said, it was hard to feel fully invested in him...which isn't a good thing considering that his life was the major stake of the movie.  

2. Everybody Won:
Don't get me wrong I'm all about characters succeeding (Game of Thrones will do that to you), but this movie worked out way too well for the main characters. Other than the failed rocket launch and that pressure room explosion, everything worked out. For example...
1. Watney just happened to survive a rod to the gut
2. Watney survives an deadly explosion (trying to make water)
3. Watney literally solved half his problems with plastic sheets (which also proves that he watched a crap load of Dexter on his way to Mars)
4. Watney successfully survives yet another explosion and patched up his helmet before suffocating by way of ducktape.
5. China totally cooperated with the United States to bring Mark home
6. Watney survives a roofless flight into space (ok that part was cool)
7. He "Iron Manned" his was to rescue by intentionally cutting into his space suit
8. Commander Lewis and crew are totally down with staying in space for a lot longer then they are supposed to
9. Commander Lewis and Crew devise a plan that involves detonating a bomb in space, and it totally works out. 
10. All the Characters survived this movie
11. Sean Bean survived this movie 
12. Sean Bean got to enjoy a Lord of The Rings reference that directly applied to him

3. Interstellar Was Still Fresh In My Mind:
This is really more of an observation than a flaw in The Martian, but Interstellar is still recent enough that I found myself comparing a lot. Here's a break down in list form...
1. It didn't help that Matt Damon plays a stranded astronaut in both movies.
2. All of Marks video logs were Interstellar-ish. 
3. This movie just had to include a cracked helmet scene...which reminded of Mathew Mcconaughey's cracked helmet scene.
4. Both movies see Matt Damon get blown up in airlock pressure room situations. 
5. Both Matt Damon and Mathew Mcconaughey's roles involve getting back to Jessica Chastain.
6. Both Movies include Dust storms...

(On a separate note...the scene at the end where Matt Damon 'Iron Manned' his way to Jessica Chastain crapped all over Tim Robbins' character from Mission to Mars, who clearly could have survived his movie).

4. Other Minor Annoying Things:
There were just a handful of other minor infractions...in no particular order...
1. I'm no scientist, but did this movie have to constantly use staplers, pens, and cups to explain complex science stuff all the time? I get that we sometimes need explanations on that level, but for christ's sake find a new way...
2. Where the hell did Mark get that razor to shave his beard. If he had it all along why let the beard grow out?
3. Donald Glover was a bit too wacky for me, But what annoyed me even more was that he didn't get nearly enough credit for basically solving the entire movie's dilemma...

           Is The Martian worth a watch? Yes it is, there's plenty there for an entertaining experience. The acting is strong, the special effects get the job done, and unexpected soundtrack doesn't hurt the movie. In my case it's exactly what I needed to hold me over until Star Wars: The Force Awakens... 

Random Screen Guy Rating: 79.999675821693820