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642. The Martian

Published January 26, 2016

Background info

Title: The Martian Director: Ridley Scott Year: 2015 Run time: 2hrs 24m

“From legendary director Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus) comes a gripping tale of human strength and the will to survive. During a mission to Mars, American astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead and left behind. But Watney is still alive. Against all odds, he must find a way to contact Earth in the hope that scientists can devise a rescue plan to bring him home.”

Live blog

2:01 – If that is what Mars is like, it’s flipping beautiful. 4:50 – Twelve minutes for an emergency take-off is incredibly good. 8:51 – Love that launch is just a big green button. 15:58 – I wondered how they’d do the log thing. Makes sense. 18:08 – Sitting by yourself in a Mars storm would be terrifying as anything. 21:38 – “Mars will come to fear my botany powers.” 26:40 – Woah, I wasn’t expecting that. Love him sitting there, still smoking. 34:53 – Such a media frenzy, I can’t imagine what Twitter would say if this happened. 37:39 – The rover is not quite how I pictured it, but still cool. 47:58 – Yeah, Pathfinder! 52:40 – Hexadecimal. This film was made for Mr C, really. 1:00:32 – “Technically, I colonised Mars.” 1:03:37 – Gaffa tape for the actual win. 1:05:06 – Never have I cared so much for a dead potato plant! 1:08:21 – From nine months down to 47 days. Eeshk. 1:14:29 – I do like the “Are you suggesting…” “Right now I’m just asking…” Response. 1:23:52 – Rich Purnell is freaking awesome. 1:30:19 – Loving getting to know the crew a bit more. 1:39:51 – Seven months later… Yeah, there’s a lot of detail missed here. I can see why. 1:41:07 – “I’m the first person to be alone on an entire planet.” 1:51:10 – What the hell are they drinking that is bright green? 1:52:39 – The MAV is bigger than I thought. 2:05:40 – Oh, that kiss has annoyed me. 2:08:29 – Space is so weird because it doesn’t look like she’s moving at all, but she’s going five metres per second.

Conclusions

This is the first film in a long time that I’ve been really, superbly, incredibly excited about. I pre-ordered it on iTunes the minute it was available, and I even shared the moment I realised it had been released overnight.

Annoyingly, I had to wait an extra day to watch it, but that did nothing to dampen my spirits.

I loved it!

I thought the casting was brilliant, Matt Damon had just the right balance of seriousness and humour, Jeff Daniels had the gruff boss thing going, Kristen Wigg was great if a little less-sweary than the Annie I was expecting. And all of the crew on board the Hermes were pretty much as I pictured them.

The film had all the important bits of the story in it, it was beautiful shot, expertly crafted, and told really well - considering the source material is of a guy being stranded on Mars, talking to himself a lot, and doing a lot of maths and science to survive. Not easy to translate to the screen but handled masterfully.

I guess my only complaint is just that there IS so much in the book that I felt I wanted even more from the film. At 2hr 20, it’s long enough, but I was disappointed when they skipped forward seven months. Or when they seemed to shoe-horn the inter-crew relationship that had a lot more flesh to it in the book. That isn’t to take anything away from the film though, because if you haven’t read the book, I reckon it’d be just about perfect! And if you haven’t read the book, read it!

Rating: 3/5.

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