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 20 – Messing Up the End

Sometimes you just can’t end it. Or when you do you end something you do it poorly. Do you recognize these behaviors as exemplified by movies?

NEVER QUITE FIND THE ENDING – It is hard to find the right way to say goodbye. Sometimes you try them all. How many times did people in the theater think The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had too many endings?

CAN’T QUITE LET GO – It’s time to leave it alone already, but you keep finding ways to make it a bigger deal than it really needs to. Maybe it’s a Peter Jackson thing, but he has decided to stretch the slim tale in The Hobbit into three books. Sounds like two books too many.

PLEASE STOP. REALLY STOP. – That couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together. Just end it! Sequels to movies that didn’t deserve them are now so ubiquitous it is hard to pick just one. Horror movies are too obvious. Let’s go with American Pie. The first one was funny. The 3 Hollywood sequels were fair at best. The “side” sequels wear abysmal. I’m sorry Eugene Levy has such big mortgage payments to need to be in all of them.

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