The Martian

Film, Action and adventure
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(25user reviews)
The Martian

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Matt Damon is on good form as an astronaut stranded on Mars in Ridley Scott's fun space drama

Showing a signature flair missing since 'Gladiator' (2000), Ridley Scott returns to mainstream mastery with 'The Martian', a space misadventure turned survivor’s tale. Similarities to 'Apollo 13' and the more recent 'Gravity' will be obvious to anyone who’s ever rocketed into zero-g thrills, but that’s not to say that Scott - who does well by Andy Weir’s science-heavy 2011 novel (smartly streamlined by screenwriter Drew Goddard) - doesn't bring his own spin. A scary storm on Mars swarms the Ares 3 crew in a blizzard of frozen dust reminiscent of the inhospitable planet from 'Alien' (1979). After an emergency evacuation strands Matt Damon's presumed-dead astronaut Mark Watney on his own, his initial wandering of the vacant 'hab' outpost plays like any number of Scott's moody sci-fi classics, from 'Blade Runner' to 'Prometheus'.

But differently, 'The Martian' has spunk in store: 'I’m not going to die,' Watney says in his video diary, and we actually hear a heavy-metal power chord as this chatterbox of a botanist gets to work manufacturing water from hydrogen, creating a greenhouse-enclosed potato farm (fertilised by the disappeared crew’s waste packets) and putting his noodle to contacting Mission Control. Bringing optimism, nerdiness and a touch of crazy to his character's solo ordeal - at one point, scraggly Watney calls himself a 'space pirate' - Damon is the key to the movie’s exuberance. This is his 'Cast Away' and it’s hard to imagine another star commanding the role with such boyish, brainy confidence.

The rest of the film, though, about Watney’s rescue, suffers slightly in comparison. Sometimes it plays rivetingly, via Jeff Daniels's Nasa administrator eyeballing the bottom line and weighing the costs of a public-relations disaster; sometimes, it plays in a discordant, 'Armageddon'-ish comic register, as when klutzy astrophysicist Donald Glover slips on his spilled coffee. (Meanwhile Kristen Wiig's role is brief enough to be a skit on 'Saturday Night Live'.) But mainly, 'The Martian' strikes an invigorating note of let's-work-the-problem cool and saluting a little insubordination as Jessica Chastain’s guilt-ridden orbiting commander decides to go rogue in an explosive finale. A movie about intellect triumphing over fear (and an all-disco playlist that Watney must contend with), it gets the mind racing.

Details

Release details

Release date:
Wednesday September 30 2015
Duration:
0 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Ridley Scott
Screenwriter:
Drew Goddard
Cast:
Kate Mara
Jessica Chastain
Kristen Wiig
Matt Damon
Jeff Daniels

Users say (25)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:11
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|25
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1 of 1 found helpful

It was ok, but it wasn't gripping enough. It's hard to dislike Matt Damon in any film but I didn't believe in the story because he didn't physically change even though he was supposed to be on increasing food rations. He could at least have the decency to starve himself half to death for our entertainment! You never really felt he was in real jeopardy until the end.


A bit late to the party on this one (aren’t I always!) l but this is such a fantastic way to portray SCIENCE! What a fantastic film! The book was fantastic so I’d put the film for ages because it is just never the same but I should never have doubted Ridley Scott and his skills!

Watney (the main protagonist) seems a lot less isolated in the film compared to the text because of the more frequent touches back to Earth or to the crew but honestly, this made it less agonising whilst watching! There was still the perfect butt-clenching, tense moments but it was not as constant as it was in the text and this helped to move the story along a lot quicker in the film. It did not seem to drag which so often can happen with sci-of movies (in my opinion- I am not so hot on science so often this can seem boring to me).

You really go on a full journey (well, yeah..) with Watney and is a great film if you are keen on science, space or just survival and character development!


Thanks to Matt Damon ad Ridley Scott for brightening a pretty dreary Sunday afternoon. Grey skies and the whole family wanting something to do, called for some serious DVD action. It was our 15 year old son that made this our film choice , and I am rather glad he did.


I preferred it to Gravity , but feel Apollo 13 had the edge on to for suspense. What both films lacked though was a sense of fun and Matt Damon delivered that in spades. Loved the disco music soundtrack too.


On the couch this afternoon we had three generations - and we all enjoyed this film.

Don't see it as a classic, but don't hesitate to recommend it if you have an afternoon or evening that needs rescuing. 

Tastemaker

To be fair, I watched this on a flight so perhaps am not able to rate it very fairly. I also fell asleep and had to rewind to watch the middle part again. But I just didn't find it that exciting a movie. I also found it very "Hollywood" and not overly real/believable. A good idea for a film and entertaining enough, but not that well executed in my opinion.

Tastemaker

Yes, OK I’m a little late for the party but I just watched this on DVD and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised. I’m not really a fan of these lost-in-space type movies because space generally scares me (it’s so bloody big!), but Matt Damon made this film ever so watchable. Not just because he is extremely good looking but because he made his character Mark Watney go from highly irritating to very endearing in a short amount of time. I went from not caring to willing him to survive, and half an hour into the film I found myself no longer dipping my hand into my family-sized bag of Dorito’s, but instead my cheesy hands were suspended in mid-air as I gazed intently at the screen willing Damon’s potato’s to grow. The supporting cast were OK, but special shout-outs to Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor who conveyed enough raw emotion that I didn’t mind all the technical/science/spacey jargon that was spilling out of their mouths. All in all, it’s a tense, endearing film where you’re willing the main character to survive and make it home safely- think Cast Away in space. Yes, it’s very science fiction heavy, but that’s not a problem when there’s a disco sound-track to dance all your sci-fi cares away...

Tastemaker

I'm not a big sci fi fan & on paper this film did not appeal but based on critics praise I gave this a go. It was a pleasant surprise & I really enjoyed it. This is primarily due to Matt Damon's like ability & his characters humour. It was great to see him "science the shit" out of his problems & save the day. The starting sequence & finale were both exciting & this is an above average film.

Tastemaker

Another great one from Ridley Scott. Barely even remembered to eat my popcorn as it was so intense right from the beginning. /Spoiler alert/ – a weird little fact was though that no one actually died in the film? I guess Ridley’s getting a little old. I personally think Matt Damon should stop getting into weird situations in outer space...

Tastemaker

The movie buff within you could have been forgiven for thinking that the time of well crafted, interesting and empathetic movies from Ridley Scott was long gone but let me be perfectly clear - it is now time to pop your corn, pick your mix and get ready to have your faith in Mr. Scott reconfirmed because the man who gave us 'Gladiator', 'Thelma & Louise' and 'Alien' has returned to the top of his game here. By turns funny, moving, tense & beautiful, 'The Martian' is an utter triumph and I loved it enough to forgive Ridley for 'The Counselor', 'Exodus' and 'Robin Hood'. 


With a storyline focusing on Matt Damon's affable & determined Mark Watney surviving alone on the red planet, you expect - and are rewarded with - rollicking adventure blended with mildly head scratching science. What you might not expect but get in spades are genuine laugh out loud moments and a fantastic set of performances from the talented & immensely watchable cast. Damon is every bit as amiable and appealing as you imagine he might be in real life; you want him to survive, you will him to beat the odds at every turn, you root for his successes, you feel for his struggles and you can't help but love his mean shoulder shrugs to the disco beats of Donna Summer. Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain & Chiwetel Ejiofor all turn in quietly composed & honest performances while the perennially under-used Michael Pena & a wry, LOTR joke toting Sean Bean provide some light relief. 


Visually gorgeous to watch, the special effects were that rare blend of fantastical yet believable, the score was sweeping & memorable and the pace was snappy & sharp without losing focus on the characters or the plot. I honestly can't remember the last film I watched that was so thoroughly and simply enjoyable...it's a fundamental part of movie going to actually enjoy the film you're watching but so many directors in recent years seem to have forgotten that fact as they disappear inside their own over long, rambling celluloid indulgence. 'The Martian' will remind you why you still come to the cinema and how magical it is to get swept up and away into a world far removed from your own for a few hours. 


Oh, and if you come out of the screening without a yearning to run off and join NASA, you're a stronger view than I...

Staff Writer

Not one of Matt Damon or Ridley Scott's best... it was a solid film if unspectacular. There never really seemed to be too much depth in Matt Damon's character and at no point did I find myself empathising with his lonely plight on Mars. *Spoiler Alert* There was rarely a moment where I didn't believe he wasn't going to be rescued. 


There was also a lack believability in other characters - There was a desperate and half hearted attempt at a romantic storyline from Kate Mara's character and Sean Bean seemed to be completely incapable of playing the minor role of 'man who looks after crew'.


My only other comment would be that it was quite heavy on the science... I like photosynthesis and plant production as much as the next guy but I don't feel as though I need it explaining in detail on the big screen.

Tastemaker

There’d been so much hype around this film that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’d deliberately avoided most trailers and reviews and went to the screening with an open mind. As a self-confessed science geek, the premise appealed from the get-go: astronaut gets stranded on Mars; millions of miles from Earth; his fellow travellers have left him behind, presumed dead; can he possibly survive and, somehow, perhaps even get back home? 


Matt Damon portrays Mark Watney with a manner of (perhaps overly) calm composure and tenacity. His self-assured resolution to ‘science the shit’ out of his predicament belies the initial hopelessness of the situation and you sit there wondering just how frightening an experience like that would actually be (extremely, one would assume!). Watney does seems to take it all largely in his stride, which kind of defuses some of the tension and you almost forget just how dire his position actually is. It also wasn’t easy to get a true sense of the passing of time. I understand events in the book version were edited to fit into the film’s timeframe and this may have contributed to the timeline feeling shorter than actually experienced. A Director’s Cut, with additional/longer scenes, could correct this in the future perhaps? 


Although much scientific research was done for the book, there were of course the inevitable few instances of dodgy science, the worst probably being the intensity of the dust storm that triggers events to begin with. But at the end of the day it’s not a science class and it all fits in with the narrative and doesn’t really detract from the enjoyment.


The Martian landscape was beautifully realised and the red planet looked as desolate a wasteland as you’d expect, all reddish brown hues and endless panoramas of rocky mountains. A good cast and Matt Damon’s solid and likeable overall performance keeps you rooting for him. All in all, this science geek was left fairly satisfied.

Tastemaker

If you're reading this review in the hope of assessing whether to spend your evening holed up in a crowded cinema watching the latest release or instead, finally getting round to checking out that new Ridley Scott space film thingy, then much like me- you are a little late to the party on this one.  And in some respects, this film is a late to the party addition to the most recent big two space films (Interstellar, Gravity).  


Managing much of the same impressive special effects, dramatic encounters & drawing conceptual comparisons, albeit tenuously (mission into the unknown, gets stuck in space/another dimension, has to fight for survival into order to return home), The Martian really had to up the anti in order to match the reaction of it's blockbuster predecessors. Without giving too much away, the story is interesting and more of a humanistic take on the typical space odyssey. Punctured with humorous narration from Matt Damon throughout, the plot does grip you and you find yourself willing him to succeed.  


My favourite scene, possibly not intended for it's comedy but to me a fairly humorous point, is when Matt Damon's character compares himself to Iron Man towards the end.  Keep an eye out for it- and instead of Iron Man, picture Wall-E & Eva.


Not a sci-fi fan I found a lot of the NASA/ techi explanations are bit of a yawn. However Matt Damon is just excellent in the lead , he plays the role with intelligence, a sense of humour, and he actually made me believe all the nonsense. Four stars for the film - Five for Matt. 


Shut the mouth up! Matt Damon why can't you eat with the mouth closed? I'm sure no one else got bothered but unfortunately for me I focused on it and was only fearing his next meal... Ok I might be OCD but beware!

Tastemaker

This was a good film, with an interesting plot. Surprisingly witty I have to say. However, not much went wrong, and that was a shame. Would have been more compelling if The Martian's time on Mars was actually more challenging and tense. 

Tastemaker

I took a group of girl friends to a movie and the decision on what to watch fell on my shoulders. After looking into trailers of current showing films, The Martian was my chosen movie. Though I'm not a huge sucker of Space or Astronaut movies, this was particularly interesting and original. The scenery was amazing (though we watched it in 2D) and the movie plot really made you think and get a new perspective on yourself and humanity.

I highly recommend this film, and Matt Damon is doing a great job.

Tastemaker

Another brilliant sci-fi film. Ridley Scott's direction is on amazing form, and Matt Damon, not my most favourite of actors, I'll admit, is well cast and plays his role beautifully. There are nods to stereotypical characters - the bumbling geeky science-genius - reminiscent of the geeks in Independence Day. The scenery is spot on and the impressive storm at the beginning of the film made me think of Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. Its a story of survival, ingenuity and served to remind me that I wouldnt have lasted two minutes. Strong story line, really engaging character - and accurate, we see Damon's character wasting away, baring the cuts and bruises from long term malnutrition, and we applaud his attempts to survive and grow his own crops and ration himself until he can escape. Resilient and impressive, it's a great film, and well worth going to see.

Tastemaker

The best Ridley Scott film for a while, brilliantly shot, directed and written it is humorous, engaging and performs that rare trick of making you feel the isolation and caring in the lead character that make the audience feel connected to him bringing you and even the hardest of people close to tears. Yes there are a few plot flaws but i wont mention them as one doesn't want to detract from the film. It is a stunning film visually with each character, even of only on screen for a short time having been properly fleshed out - a rare achievement. Well worth seeing and one that only the cinema can do visual justice to.

Tastemaker

I really enjoyed this movie. and I'm not a big fan of space related films. Firstly, I was fan-girling a little for the few seconds of screen time Sebastian Stan gets, but other than that I loved the dialogue Matt Damon had with himself. I felt like some of the characters back on earth were a little villainous but their true colours never showed. Some parts were a little too slow for me, and others too quick. Overall, I don't think the story would be believable at all if it wasn't for Matt Damon's character's strength as a human. I know I would have given up, unlike him. 

Tastemaker

Really enjoyable and intense film . Even the fact that you know Hollywood would not dare kill Matt Damon, it didn't take away from the gripping hands over eyes ending.


Wouldn't be surprised if Matt gets an Oscar nom for this role. The supporting cast and characters were also excellent!


The scripts was very very funny and clever, the production was fantastic, really great camera shots- clever how they told the story between Mars and Earth.


It didn't need to be in 3D though and the film is quite long but very enjoyable!


This is one of those movies that will be remembered for years and years.

In the same line as epic movies like Armageddon, Apollo 13 or more recently Gravity this is definitely a must see and if you are going see it go all in, 3D, IMAX and any extras you can find because it will be worthy!

Tastemaker

Happy birthday to me!

As one of my myriad birthday treats we popped along to Streatham Odeon this morning to see The Martian 3D. In short I loved it! I'm no scientist or mathmetician so who knows if the technical stuff adds up (see what I did there!) but who cares! Watching a film about a guy stranded on Mars requires a degree of setting reality aside!

I found myself completely absorbed - feeling for, caring about Matt Damon & his roller coaster of an experience. The diversity of the cast & general feeling of human spirit - teamwork & pulling together was feel good & uplifting. The disco soundtrack was a particularly fun touch! It's well over 2 hours long , has plenty of preposterousness but I was never bored or irritated!

I could go on & on but will stop at spacetastically brilliant & highly recommending!


Ridley Scott back to his absolute best. Stunning cinematography, with Wadi Rum in Jordan doubling up as Mars, solid performance from Matt Damon and a surprising but awesome soundtrack featuring disco tunes including Starman by Bowie! Genuis. Loved it!