Film Review: “The Martian” (2015)

martian-matt-01-800“The Martian”, a melding of “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” (1964)…..

and “Gravity” (2013).

Stellar special effects, partly filmed in the Red Desert of Jordan. Better effects than the ’64 film and better acting than “Gravity.

An astronaut (Matt Damien) is thought dead from an accident and left on Mars when his team exits to avoid a deadly storm. But he’s very much alive and spends the rest of the film creatively fighting to survive until a rescue can be effected.

Based on Andy Weir’s best-selling novel, directed by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, 1982), The Martian is a tour de force for Matt Damon, who definitely rises to the occasion aided by an excellent cast. He has a multiplicity of cool gadgets he MacGyvers, including high tech versions of “Wilson the volleyball” in “Castaway” (2000).

The Martian is a top-notch survival thriller, well acted and superbly photographed. A real potboiler that keeps you one the edge of your seat. 3-D really does a great job of bringing the film to full life without intentionally throwing junk at the viewer. Matt Damon is excellent, and halfway through the film, he brings up a very interesting facet of the maritime laws that might be expanded to inter-planetary exploration.

(Truncated) “If you’re not in any country’s territory, maritime law applies. So Mars is “international waters. After I board the rover, I will take control of a craft in international waters without permission. That makes me a pirate! A space pirate!”

A few words about the new 3-D process. In the past, I have disparaged 3-D on several levels. It was originally developed to give the audience a sense that things were being thrown at them just for shock effect, the glasses were uncomfortable, much of the process was nausea-genic and most great films really didn’t need the effect.

Not anymore. The new 3-D process isn’t for shock value. It lends more subtle perspective and attitude to the film. The viewer sees the action as it might actually be happening in real life. I have not heard any complaints of queasiness. I very much like the experience.
I give it an easy four of five really cool helmets I’d like to have one of.



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