Sunday, October 04, 2015

"The Martian" (2015)

I have decided that I don't like writing reviews of movies I have only seen once, because generally my first viewing of a movie involves me trying to wrap my head around the who and what it's about and how it's getting handled, and I can't generally "get" the movie until the second viewing.  If I liked it enough to watch it again, that is.  Some movies just don't merit a second viewing.


I don't have the time or money to see every movie I like in the theater twice.  (And yes, sometimes I see the same movie in the theater 2 or 3 or even 5 or 6 times, but only Special movies warrant a second in-theater viewing, and only EXTRA Special movies get more than that.)

So if I want to review a movie while it's still in theaters, but can't/don't want to see it twice in the theater... I have to review them after one viewing.  Which is what I'm doing here.

Because I thought The Martian was excellent.  Intelligent writing, superb acting, spectacular effects.  But I know I won't have time to see it in the theater again, though I want to see it on DVD.  So I'm just going to give it a cursory review now, and when I see it on DVD, I may review it more thoroughly.

Let's start with the acting.  This is Matt Damon's show, and he unabashedly owns it.  He gets to run an emotional gamut here, from stressed to angry to fearful to sad to determined to hopeless to joyful to annoyed.  He nails them all.

Everyone else ranged from fine to great, with Chiwetel Ejiofer and Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean on the great end, Jessica Chastain and Sebastian Stan and Kate Mara in the middle, and everyone else doing fine, but nothing hugely special.  I was really excited to see Aksel Hennie (and hear his voice) because I liked him a lot in Hercules (2014).

I have read a lot of reviews of the book by Andy Weir, and many of them mentioned its wry humor, so I was looking forward to seeing how a story about a guy stranded on Mars could be funny.  It did not disappoint.  Though this had its scary and tense and sad parts, much of this movie actually had kind of a feel-good vibe, and it definitely had a lot of funny lines and moments.

One part that I found absolutely hilarious, that made me laugh aloud, involved a reference to the Council of Elrond from The Fellowship of the Ring, and what made me laugh was that Sean Bean was sitting right there, and of course as Boromir, he was at the Council of Elrond, and so I absolutely busted up over that moment.  And no one else in the theater laughed there, though they all laughed a couple beats later over a related joke.  Hmm.

Anyway, I totally dug this movie and I really want to read the book now.  Is it family-friendly?  Not perzackly.  There's a fair bit of bad language, including taking God's name in vain and the F-word.  There's also a rear-naked shot that establishes just how much of a physical toll the food privations are taking on the main character.  And like I said, there are scary and intense moments.  This will clean up really easily with a program like ClearPlay, I think, so if you're in doubt, wait for the DVD, I guess.  But if you're willing to deal with those things, this is breathtaking on the big screen.  I had to see it in 3D because that was the only showtime that worked, and the 3D was really well-done -- it made you feel like you were actually there on Mars, not just seeing pictures of it.


  1. I want to watch this for two reasons: Matt Damon and Sebastian Stan. :) Otherwise, I don't think this is the kind of movie I'd really enjoy - sci-fi, for the most part, isn't my thing.

    1. Have you ever seen Apollo 13? This reminded me a ton of that, which I love a lot. It's much more science than fiction, feels very realistic.

    2. Nope, I haven't. The only sci-fi movies I've seen are Ender's Game and Star Wars. :P

    3. Those are both much more fi than sci.

      Apollo 13 isn't sci-fi at all - it's the true story of astronauts who got stranded in space in the '60s, and it's probably my favorite Tom Hanks role. It does have bad language and a tiny amount of suggestiveness, but it is an amazing movie. Definitely my favorite Gary Sinese role. Seeing The Martian has really made me want to see A13 again.

    4. Ahhh. Well, now that Dad has discovered that filtering website, language/suggestiveness isn't a problem (as long as they have it on there in the first place), so maybe I'll suggest that we watch it together one movie night. :)

      Do you know that the only two Tom Hanks' films I've seen are Saving Private Ryan and Saving Mr. Banks? The titles' similarities amuse me (and maybe I'm just too easily amused).

    5. It's a very uplifting movie! I saw it in the theater with my family soooo many years ago, and we all fell in love with it. I even played the theme song on the flute at a 4-H talent show.

      That's quite funny about which of his movies you've seen! I do quite like Hanks, and have seen lots of his movies. The ones I like enough to own (and thus like enough to want to watch over and over) are:

      Apollo 13
      Sleepless in Seattle
      That Thing You Do!
      You've Got Mail

      I've seen many more of his, and liked quite a few, but those are my favorites. I could be tempted to buy Saving Mr. Banks if I found it at the used bookstore or thrift store, though, because I have seen it twice now and really liked it.

  2. The only movie I've actually not enjoyed Matt Damon in was Elysium, but he really blew me away with this performance! The contrast of the silly, funny things, and the intense, emotional things is just so impressive. And he perfectly embodies the book's character too. I was so happy at all the humor they included, and the adapting in general. They changed a few things, but the tone and all the important things stayed the same. :) Nice review, Hamlette! I'm so happy you liked it, and I hope you'll love the book too!

    1. Sarah, everything I've read about Elysium just makes me want to avoid it, so I think I'm going to keep doing that. (I'm also avoiding a few of Matt's comedies, especially.) So everything I've seen him in, I've liked him in, even things like The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Departed, where he was playing a dreadful person. Still liked Matt, just not his characters.

      I'm really hopeful for the book now -- the library system still has lots of holds on it, so it's going to be a while before I get it, alas, but I WILL get it eventually.

  3. I've heard good things about both the film and book. I'll have to check it/ them out- especially if the movie's like Apollo 13. I love that film.

    1. Lynn M, a lot of it reminded me of Apollo 13, which I love very much. The whole "make the supplies at hand work for what you need" aspect, especially.

  4. Tagged you for The Bedtime Movie Tag.

  5. There was a reference to the Council of Elrond?? That's fantabulous. I love it when movies do stuff like that, referencing other movies that starred the actors:D

    "Not perzackly"--I like that! May I use that?;)

    1. Olivia, I know, right? I hear it's referenced there in the book too, so I'm like, "Dude, they so cast Sean Bean so they could have him in that scene."

      Borrow "Not perzackly" all you like! I think I got it from a junior fiction novelization of "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" published back in the '60s. I know that's where I got "abstotutely" from.


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