Vic's Flick Picks
(4 Popcorn Boxes)
At first, I was intrigued. During a manned mission to Mars a storm forces the crew to leave the planet, but during the evacuation Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is injured, presumed dead and left behind.
Watney then proceeds to MacGyver his way through survival until he can notify Earth that he is alive and they can send a rescue mission – which best guess reveals would take about four years.
I am embarrassed to say that it took me about half way through The Martian to realize that this is just The Castaway…on another planet. Danger, starvation, injury, loneliness𠉮ven talking to himself….all pretty closely mirrors the Tom Hanks film. And yet, I was fascinated throughout the entire 141 minutes.
All the characters are lightly sketched, but we still care about them. The crew of Hermes (the one that unwittingly left Watney) is secondary to the action, but crucial to the story. Jessica Chastain as the captain, Michael Peņa as the pilot and Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie as the crew were solid team mates.
On Earth we have Jeff Daniels as NASA director, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Hermes director, Sean Bean as mission director and Kristen Wiig as media relations all adding up to more interesting moments even when we aren’t on Mars.
The “scenery” from director Ridley Scott is amazing, but the special effects aren’t so much spectacular as they are ordinary. This is what keeps our interest instead of veering off into fantastical gadgets to keep Watney alive.
But of course, Damon is the focus and he handles the intensity well. We are excited when he successfully grows his food source; luckily he is the crew botanist. After trial and error at creating water (yes, he makes fire, the final trigger in my brain to The Castaway similarities) and multiple attempts to reach Earth, we feel his every frustration and failure.
Four out of five boxes for The Martian. I truly enjoyed the atmosphere the director created and the character that Damon embodied. After more than two hours, I was surprisingly not bored. That’s probably the best recommendation I could come up with. You will be enthralled with every moment.
The Martian is a great family movie despite the PG-13 rating. Some language might be offensive, but the brief nudity is a reality and absolutely essential to the telling of the story.
For a complete listing of shows and times, please call 1-888-319-FILM or visit the website at www.cinemahollywood.com.
Matt Damon has a wide and varied resume. One of my favorites is his turn as Loki in this spectacular 1999 comedy.
LAST WEEK’S MOVIE TRIVIA
Hathaway wasn’t the best part of The Intern, but I did think she was a shining star in this 2010 Tim Burton fantasy. Alice in Wonderland.