Matt Damon leads a big cast in a movie that is being hailed by critics and fans alike. The Martian is also directed by Ridley Scott, and based on a huge novel from a few years ago, so it seems everything is in place for a really good flick. And overall, it is good. But I am not going to be quite as glowing as some of the national critics. I would call his great movie making, more than a great movie.
This is the story of a series of NASA manned missions to Mars in the future, although they do not make that overly clear when that is. NASA has a base on Mars for an extended missions, when a horrible storm hits, forcing the crew to abandon the base and escape the planet. During the storm, they lose one of their own crew, and assume him dead and are forced to leave him behind. Trouble is, he is not dead. This then becomes the story of trying to rescue him and bring him back alive, knowing it will take years for a mission to be a reality.
This is kind of a mix of a few movies. A bit Gravity, and bit Apollo 13, and a bit Castaway in it's story line. This movie looks great. The sets are magnificent no matter how they did them, either a combination of computers and real building, they look incredible. The special effects are so good, they are hardly special, they just look like part of the landscape. The props, and costuming are terrific, and the performances are strong for the most part.
Trouble here, this is a bit far-fetched and really tough to believe even for science fiction, being it's a movie that isn't a total fantasy. It's a bit too convenient and predictable at times. In fact, the big plot twist you''ll see coming from light years away. And some, not all of this at times looks a bit silly. What made Apollo 13 so great, was that it was truth, and based on real people. This goes for that feeling, but falls short of A13's amazing emotional impact.
But there is much to like here. This is good movie making, with a story that is really imaginative at times, and very formula at times. Like Gravity, this is escapism, and that's fine too sometimes. Is this a great movie? No. But it's pretty darn good.
The Martian. A much needed jump start to the fall movie season.