Whenever I see that a movie is getting great reviews, I go into that very same movie hoping I’ll love it like everyone else. It’s not that I want to be a follower or anything like that, I just want to enjoy the movies I watch. So if everyone else is enjoying a movie, then why shouldn’t I want to enjoy it? I want to take part in some of that happiness too. I’m not just going to try to be different for the sake of being different; That’s not me. But anyways, when I walked into ‘The Martian’, I wanted to love it…but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
When a dangerous storm hits a crew of astronauts while on Mars, they are forced to leave the planet and leave behind fellow crew member Mark Watney (Matt Damon) after they presume him to be dead. Of course (if you know anything about this movie) that it is not the case. So now Watney must use the supplies and food he has left, plus that big brain of his, to survive and figure out how to make contact with his peers back home. At the same time, once NASA realizes that he might be still alive, them and Watney’s crew are determined to figure out a way to rescue him.
Yeah, I Like That
Earlier I hinted that I didn’t love this movie but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think the movie was good. ‘The Martian’ is a solid body of work and has some redeeming elements going for it. As a whole, the movie was enjoyable. Although it isn’t fast paced throughout the entire runtime, it does keep the ball moving at all times. The movie even starts out by getting directly into the story with no beating around the bush. As soon as the movie starts, we immediately see Watney and his crew on Mars right before the viscous storm hits. Thank goodness that was the case because when you see a movie is basically two and a half hours, it’s hard not to assume that some of that time at the beginning of the movie will be wasted with bland ways to introduce us to the characters before things really start happening. Midway through, we see one of my favorite scenes which involves Watney using some sort of instant message system to talk with NASA and some foul language being broadcast all over the world. It gave me some nice chuckles.
The third act of ‘The Martian’ is clearly the most exhilarating because, whether your interest was waning in and out at points up until then (which I’ll talk about in the next section), it brought that intrigue of how is Watney going to get rescued. I used the word “how” instead of “if” because when you watch the movie, you get the feeling that you’re going to get a happy ending but you just have no clue how you’re going to get to that point so the intrigue is still there because ultimately you don’t know what EXACTLY is going to happen. Also, what makes the third act gripping is the fact that you’ve been watching Watney try to survive on Mars for about two hours. So therefore you have no choice but to feel for him somewhat and (even though you aren’t watching a live feed of someone actually trying to escape Mars) you want to see him make it back home safely. You also witness some cool visuals of space as well. Space keeps looking cool in movies lately. Thank goodness technology is so awesome that it’s able to feel like we’re actually looking out into space while looking at the screen. I can’t wait to see how the visuals will get even better in the years to come because technology is just going to keep on improving. Maybe it’ll get to the point where movies can actually shoot in space….OK I know I’m trippin’ right now and getting off subject but I’m just saying WHAT IF.
Now on to Mr. Damon. I don’t find him to be the most interesting person to watch in movies (even though he is a good actor) but here, he was able to make some of the should be boring scenes actually seem somewhat entertaining. Some of that credit might need to go to how director Ridley Scott shot and constructed those scenes but I think Damon should still get a majority of it. Throughout the movie, he wasn’t trying to be this super hilarious character and make the audience laugh at everything he went through. He would just use subtle humor in certain situations that would be believable reactions to what he was going through. But mainly, the way he carried himself in the movie made his scenes easy to watch and not ones that make you lose focus on the movie but gain focus on the fact that your bladder is about to explode because you’re in the process of drinking a gigantic water bottle and forgot to go use the bathroom before the movie started but you don’t want to rush to the bathroom because you feel like if you go, the movie is going to quickly get interesting again while you’re gone. That was a lot, I know, but you get my point.
Yeah, I Didn’t Like That
Alright, here comes the part where I try to explain why I didn’t love ‘The Martian’ like THE 93% on Rotten Tomatoes suggest I should. I knew what the story was going to be prior to watching the movie and I know I said the movie was enjoyable but the way the story played out wasn’t what I expected or exactly wanted. Yes I know I was going to watch Damon stranded on Mars and try to figure out how to get rescued but watching him survive wasn’t the most interesting thing to me. That’s what I meant when I said earlier that Damon and Scott took some boring scenes and made them somewhat entertaining. But still, I didn’t want to see a movie where a majority of it was a tutorial on how to do all these regular things but in a harder, scientific way when you happen to get stranded in space. One thing that Watney does is he figures out how to plant while on Mars and yes it’s kind of cool seeing how he was able to pull that off but in the end, that would not be something I’m demanding be included in the movie. Yes it makes sense for why it was included (and probably needed to be included) but I’m just saying it wasn’t something I find really interesting to watch. I’m not trying to come down on just that one thing, I’m just giving an example. Like I said, a lot of the movie played out like a tutorial and after awhile it started to really effect how I looked at the movie. If the movie was shorter, however, it wouldn’t have been a big issue and I would of liked the movie a lot more. But when you’re a long movie, you really have to make use of all the time you’re taking up in some form or fashion, at least for me you do. So that’s the main reason why I didn’t love ‘The Martian’. After awhile the slightly interesting way the movie showed Watney trying to survive and NASA trying to save him up, until the third act, grew tired to me.
Now on to some tidbits of annoyances that are probably just me being nitpicky but hey, it is what it is. When I watch movies I like to understand what is going on and how it is going on but that is pretty hard to do when I’m hearing a bunch of serious nerd jargon being spoken. No disrespect to those who can speak that way or understood all that science lingo in the movie but honestly I’m just upset with myself for not being able to understand so I’m just lashing out by calling it nerd jargon. But seriously though, it was hard to understand. That’s what docked points away from another great “space” movie like ‘Interstellar’; It didn’t want to dumb itself down for it’s audience…or just for me.
What also bothered me about ‘The Martian’ was how upbeat Watney was at some points in the movie. It might not have been fun to watch a down, borderline suicidal person trapped on Mars but realistically, I can’t imagine anyone not losing their mind if their crew unknowingly left them stranded ALIVE on any planet not named Earth. Lastly, the 3D. Since I saw it in 3D, however good the 3D was will have an effect on the overall quality of the movie. Since the 3D for ‘The Martian’ was almost unnoticeable, it negatively effects how I look at the movie. I actually thought that this would be a cool movie in 3D just because the visuals of space can sometimes play well with 3D but unfortunately the only time I realized I was watching a 3D movie was at the beginning during the storm that started the movie’s plot.
‘The Martian’ is a quality “space” movie but it failed to live up to the quality level recent movies in it’s genre, such as ‘Gravity’ and ‘Interstellar’, have set.
RATING: Might Rent
P.S. Once again here is my rating scale. There are four different levels. Below is each level in order from best to worse and what each one means.
Must Own = A movie that is so good that I must add it to my Blu-ray collection when it comes out.
Would Accept as a Gift = I enjoyed the movie but don’t necessarily have to buy it (especially if I don’t have the funds to) myself but I would take it if someone bought it for me.
Might Rent = A movie that if I have the urge to watch again then I’ll just rent it from somewhere or Netflix it.
Never See Again = Very simple. I don’t want to ever see this movie again.
(Photo Credit: http://www.justjared.com/2015/06/08/matt-damon-is-stranded-on-mars-in-the-martian-trailer/; Ariel Adams – http://www.ablogtowatch.com/martian-movie-watch-matt-damon-wears-hamilton-khaki-navy-belowzero/)