DVD review: The Martian


One of our community reporters and resident reviewer has decided to write a review for The Martian after its recent release on DVD. Warning the review contains spoilers.

I saw this last summer at Odeon Plaza – the reviews had been good, but I was disappointed because the movie seemed to me a series of Science Fiction clichés thrown together (probably to appeal to ‘Jason Bourne’ fans) including: the Robinson Crusoe situation where Matt (Damon) is marooned alone on Mars, his companions having left him behind inadvertently … Then there’s the DIY survival improvisation to grow extra veg (tatties) and construction of a radio link with Earth, the electronics of the expedition base having crashed. The movie starts well with panoramic views of the Red Planet’s deserts and mountains with atmospheric music, unfortunately this is the composer’s only contribution, for the rest of the movie patches in a series of pop songs … some of which are totally inappropriate, for instance David Bowie’s ‘ Starman’ is played as we watch Matt (now with a long beard) contemplating being trapped in the tin box of the base with no hope of rescue –  ‘Major Tom’ would have been perfect for this scene.  Anyway, ‘Starman’ is about an Alien Messiah but unfortunately we don’t see any Martians at all.  No thought has been put into the choice of tracks, and using classic pop in a movie is now a lazy way of making  a music score (originally used to great effect by Martin Scorsese).

NASA finally gets its act together with the help of another cliché – an astrophysics nerd genius aged 17 gatecrashes a crisis meeting and explains how to use the gravitational pull of nearby planets to slingshot a rescue craft to Mars and back. He actually (laughably) explains this using props – “imagine General Powell’s head is Mars and Commander Spacey’s head is Earth the rescue craft – this paper cup I’m holding can BOUNCE off Jupiter’s immense pull (President Trump’s head over there) having used the Moon as a fuel-saving gravity magnet.

Matt Damon gives an appealing performance as a ‘Can-Do’ cheerful American guy untroubled by panic attacks or even slight gnawing anxiety which would be expected in this situation (although after six months he does get quite depressed). In the end of course he is rescued by all–American space expertise and  man and woman courage and teamwork. If you have never seen a Science Fiction movie before ‘The MARTIAN’ would not be a good first choice.

Article submitted by G. Hendry

You can find other reviews by local people here.

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