Mini-Review: The Martian

The Martian

PG-13, 141 Minutes, 2015

The Martian

About: Astronaut must survive on Mars after being left for dead by accident. NASA must figure out how to bring him back.

Starring: Matt Damon as Mark Watney. Do you know how rare it is to find a protagonist named Mark in the movies? Okay, this site does, but who remembers any of these supporting roles? The Martian also stars like 8 other actors you’ll recognize and like a lot.

Directed: Ridley Scott making up for Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Monsters.

Best Thing About It: Matt Damon. He is the perfect lead – charisma, humor, everyman. You want him to survive. He is the next generation Tom Hanks, but a little sexier. You want him to be your husband/boyfriend/best friend.

Worst Thing About It: So the book is better. Andy Weir’s novel has so much more depth. More things happen to Watney and to NASA. The science is explained instead of just shown loosely in a montage. And Weir is a first time novelist! Go read the book.

Notable Thing About It: The movie is better. Because it does what movies can do and books can’t – the visuals of Mars are incredible. Seeing Watney’s struggles and successes is very different than reading about them. Go see the movie.

Overall: This is a crowd pleaser. If you can live with a few curse words and one stunt-double’s butt, this is a movie you can take your kids, your parents, your friends. Like Apollo 13, it casts NASA in a heroic light even as it faces a failure. This is a beautifully made, well acted, often funny, exciting, Hollywood movie. It doesn’t break much new cinematic ground, but sometimes it is nice just to be entertained.

3D note: While the swirling dust at the beginning looked cool and the Mars landscapes were richer, like most live-action films, seeing it in 3D isn’t vital.

Rating: 3 ½ RAMAKs (out of 4)

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#BlogElul via the Movies 13 – Inconceivable!

“Inconceivable!”

Of all my favorite lines in The Princess Bride, perhaps my favorite movie of all time, this might be favorite. A lot of it is Wallace Shawn’s delivery. Yet I love Vizzini’s ability to dismiss what he sees before him not as his fault or error, but as beyond the realm of possibility.

Ultimately, one of his comrades, Inigo Montoya, turns to him and says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Excuses come easily. We blame others. We blame God. We blame our upbringing. We blame the cosmic forces of existence. We even blame ourselves, but usually in bitter, unhelpful ways.

We also make excuses for others. We justify their behaviors, no matter how heinous or ridiculous, out of misplaced love and support. Take this film full of excuses…

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