Monday, October 5, 2015

"The Martian": a review

If you like colossal, steely-nerved efforts by the hero to overcome what appear by everyone to be impossible odds, you'll love "The Martian."

Matt Damon, as stranded astronaut Mark Watney, struggles to survive on the icy-cold, barren surface of Mars after his fellow crew members scrambled to evacuate before a killer Martian storm wrecked their space craft, and Watney was presumed dead during the chaos after being struck and carried off into the wasteland by blowing debris.

Watney survived, miraculously.  With only his training as a botanist, and McGuiver-esque ability to solve never ending life threatening problems one after the other with duct tape and tarps, Watney mounts his heroic effort to live.  In order to keep the meager survival assets brought by the initial mission together, Watney clings to life tenuously while the entire global community back on Earth mobilized every asset conceivable to mount a rescue.

The technical merits of the film can't be topped to date: the views of the bleak Martian surface truly take the audience into the experience, and the whole effect of Watney's dire circumstances are made real by the director Ridley Scott of "Gladiator" and "Alien" fame.

The  triumphant ending stirred a roar of applause in my theater, and I found myself among the admirers, reveling in the 'feel good' movie of the year; watching "The Martian" makes you wonder if there is absolutely nothing that can't be overcome with determination, guts and duct tape.

You gotta see 'The Martian.'  What a film.

15 comments:

LL said...

WOW! It really sounds as if you loved the film. I hadn't planned to see it, but I will now.

Brighid said...

With your recommendation in mind will put it on the "to see" list.

Fredd said...

LL: you won't regret paying the $10 admission fee.

Brighid: 'to see?' Change that to 'must see'

LL said...

I am going to see it this afternoon and will render judgment following the screening.

Ed Bonderenka said...

First Good Will Hunting, next Private Ryan, then Interstellar, now The Martian.
What lengths we'll go to to save Matt Damon!

LL said...

Ridley Scott is my favorite director/producer. It took Scott to give the movie the scope and moment that it ended up with. The theater was nearly empty (I went mid-afternoon) with the exception of sliver-hair'd people that wouldn't have cheered no matter what. Very good movie.

Fredd said...

LL: my venue was jam packed, not an empty seat. I guess we midwesterners appreciate space movies more than Angelenos.

LL said...

It's usually nearly empty mid-afternoon on Monday. I don't know about the upcoming Star Wars film though. That tends to pack them in -- a portion of who wear costumes.

There are people who claim that LA is "lost in space" all of the time, which may also account for the low seating count.

Fredd said...

LL:

Those losers who wear Star Trek costumes to Star Trek movies are all hoping that Gene Roddenbury will see them, and they can audition on the spot to be Harrison Ford's replacement (he's older than dirt now) as Han Solo in the next Star Trek film.

You think I am kidding. No, sad to say, I am not.

When I lived in North Hollywood (off of Cold Water Canyon and the 101), I ran into dreamers almost everyday who worked as waiters, pumped gas, worked the cash register at 7/11, changed my oil at Jiffy Lube, on and on...every damn one of them had a script in the back pocket that they would whip out at the least provocation. Most called themselves actors, many considered themselves play-writes, up and coming directors, producers, on and on and on, and never ever thought for even a moment that their big break was never going to happen.

No way. They were going to make it in Hollywood. It was just a matter of time, you see. Every damn one of them. And you saw a sample of them dressed as Chew Bacca, Princess Leia, on and on and on.....

And nearly (but not all) of them will kick the bucket before they ever get to read a single line at a single audition. Dreamers, that whole damn town of yours is chock full of' em.

LL said...

I can DRIVE to Los Angeles/Hollywood from where I live, but it's a long ride. I live in a saner, more normal area where they send Republicans to the state assembly (where their votes don't count) and to the House of Representatives where they join the majority who says that it's powerless.

Yes, I've seen the Hollywood tribe. A shocking number of those who succeed have trust funds that pay $100K/year or more.

Kid said...

Thanks for the review Fredd. Man, it's got to be 1000 times better than that idiotic boring thing thing tim robbins did. Man, that was pathetic. Not to be negative or anything.

Z said...

My Brother in law and nephew absolutely loved it, too.....
As for my city of LA, I think dreaming is a good thing :-) I'm far too much a realist and that's limiting!

Fredd said...

LL: well, not YOUR town, but you know what I mean. If you live anywhere in Orange County, or up the 101 in the Valley, everybody outside of that area considers you an Angeleno. Even though you and I know that there is a world of difference between the two cultures.

I live 60 miles west of Chicago, but everybody I know who lives elsewhere still thinks I live in Chicago. Where people are murdered willy nilly for a pair of Air Jordan shoes.

Fredd said...

Z: I can certain over generalize a bit when I use the word 'dreamer' as a pejorative. Sure, lofty goals are admirable.

But moving from Topeka, Kansas and leaving your friends and family behind to become a movie star (Lana Turner did it, right?) is just plain sad a pathetic. It will just not happen, unless you look like Lana Turner. And even then, it's 1 in a million odds.

Fredd said...

Kid: I don't do Tim Robbins anymore. Shawshank was great, and then Tim started bashing people like me.