*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* Let's immediately talk about the gravity of the situation - which is of course 0.38 of Earth's Gravity. Ba dum tsh! In case you didn't know, The Martian is about a martian. HA! It is about an earthling who gets trapped on another planet. Which one. . . doesn't matter. All that matters that it revolves around the sexiest ugly man in the world: Matt Damon. It is here that he has to learn how to survive before it is too late.
To get right to it, there is plenty of things to enjoy about The Martian. Sure, the film is a little slow paced, and formulaic/overdone as the editors seemed to feel the need to show everything whether or not it was truly needed; but The Martian can be really intimate and personal. The entire beginning sequence of this film is enthralling in that respect. Matt Damon knows how to carry a film. He might not quite be the numero uno actor in the entire world (though really talented), but he has charisma for miles. It is this that gives The Martian enough flavor to carry through its dry parts. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention all of the stellar minor supporting characters including but not limited to Donald Glover, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, and Jessica Chastain; but none of them are brilliant enough to be considered when Award Season comes around.
This along with the visuals, show what a beautiful film the Martian is at its core. The landscape cinematography of Mars along with the burdensome feeling of isolation combine to make for some moments that everyone strives for in cinema – the fusion of something meaningful with something visually breathtaking to go along with it.
With that out of the way, I got to be honest. As a reviewer, I wanted to love this film more. I really did. I wanted to love all of its brilliant intricacies, and its clear message on the importance of the human spirit and the importance of life no matter where or what. To a certain extent, I did. There is so much to like about the film. However, I just couldn't get over something. This film really isn't about the sanctity of life as it might try and convince us. It is an endorsement plain and simple for scientific exploration in space. This is fine and dandy. That are many great things that could come of this. Furthered interaction between neighboring nations, leaps and bound in the scientific community, to the future of the human race. That being said, don't be confused, this film could care less about human life. The amount of financial energy that goes into trying to save Matt Damon's character, Mark Watney, is near incalculable. I could give you all the financial data based on sources and an entire paragraph on what that money could do to save actual lives, but needless to say it is a freakin' lot and I'll leave you to come to those conclusion by leaving preachy sources down at the bottom.
I will not say the film is flawed in any way due to this, because at least in one instance it is aware of its own propaganda in a way that is heartbreaking and enlightening. It is just frustrating to sit through something that isn't quite as deep as you hope it to be.
When it comes down to it, The Martian is not something we haven't seen before – a space rescue mission. It is only this time, we have the type of technology and special effects to do something that looks this realistic on this scale thanks in part to films like Gravity and Interstellar. The Martian truly is a wonder to look at. Matt Damon gives one of his more charismatic performances to the screen to make up for what otherwise might have been some truly boring time watching an astronaut do relatively unexciting things just to survive. The only thing is when Tom Hanks did it (à la Cast Away), it was riveting. Here it is merely watchable and pretty enjoyable. I was just looking for something that truly captivated me. While this film didn't necessarily do that for me personally, that doesn't stop it from being a really well executed film, with brilliant practical and special effects and some great acting. Not to mention this all set on top of a narrative that is put elegantly together with a compelling look at some actual, bona fide science. That being said, I wanted more, and I almost feel bad for saying that. Though just because it is not my cup of Tang, doesn't mean it's not yours. Go ogle Matt Damon all you want.
Personal Preference: 3.5/5 Critical Analysis: 4.5/5
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140422-mars-mission-manned-cost-science-space/ http://archive.wired.com/geekdad/2013/01/mars-infographic/http://www.cbsnews.com/news/unicef-child-deaths-down-but-many-still-dying-of-preventable-diseases/ http://www.globalissues.org/article/715/today-21000-children-died-around-the-worldhttp://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/23/opinion/ed-food23