Film review from Maysa Moncao of the Ridley Scott directed sci-fi film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars.
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While I was in the huge queue for The Martian around the Prince of Wales Theater in Toronto, I had time to quickly think what I was doing there, if my only recent connection to Physics is eating a cereal bar properly made for astronauts and unpleasant high school memories of Eletromagnetism theories. Soon I remembered that Ridley Scott’s last movie wasn’t so bad. At last, what absolutely convinced me to stay in a line of 700 people early in the morning was my reaction to Blade Runner. It turns out that The Martian is Scott’s best movie since Blade Runner. It is a blockbuster.
Mark Watney (Damon) is presumed dead by NASA after a severe storm prompts his colleagues to evacuate a Martian plateau. He found himself injured and alone on the vast, arid planet, where no life grows. The next mission to Mars is not scheduled to occur for another four years, leaving Watney with the dilemma to “science the shit out of it”, as he says.
Intelligently scripted (Drew Goddard) to have a climax every three minutes, The Martian does not let up on the adrenaline levels in your body. Yes, you won’t get your eyes away from the screen. Consider also some spetacular 3D imagery. But most of all, consider the charisma in Damon’s figure when he decides, time after time, he will try again.
Symbolically speaking, Watney is a colonizer. What’s the best symbol for an American? He survives because he finds a way to grow potatoes in Mars. Potatoes? Yes, that root (it is a root, meaning ability to settle down) that was first cultivated by Indians and then taken to Europe and other lands all over the world. Can you imagine any civilization without potatoes?
What I am trying to say with irony and history is that The Martian has got the popular taste, with high definition. It is effective, optimistic and full of Biblical values such as compassion and redemption. Oh, and it is also multiethnical. Colonization now implies cooperation with Chinese, Latinos, Afro-Americans, Europeans, women and men. They are all represented by the cast.
I should say, humbly and with no irony this time: very efficient indeed. It is enormously entertaining and clever.
Even though the first climax occurs after the first minutes, when I probably could not identify myself with the main character yet, it won’t be difficult to conquer me during the rest of the movie. Apart from Watney’s resistance and perseverance, he has got sense of humour. Oh no, “resistance” reminds me of Physics tests, but that is no worry. The script provides inumerous oportunities to follow all Watney’s and NASA’s great solutions to the problems Mars poses.
Mars is an icon for energy, passion, drive and determination. What could define better a blockbuster? Made for Oscar. Will another Englishman (Ridley Scott) colonize Hollywood?
See the official trailer on Youtube.
USA, 2015, 130 MIN
DIRECTOR: RIDLEY SCOTT
WITH MATT DAMON, JESSICA CHASTAIN, MICHAEL PEÑA, CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Best known for the cult sci-fi features “Blade Runner” and “Alien”, Scott also signed “Thelma & Louise”, “Gladiator” and “Prometheus”.