Castaway II: The Martian
I wasn’t really looking forward to this one, with Gravity still fresh in mind, and having watched quite a bit of bad sci-fi lately, not to mention having been a bit of a Space geek as a child- I just was setup to hate this movie, as soon as Matt Damon was wandering around the surface of Mars in swim trunks getting water off the Ice Caps with a shovel. Did I mention I’ve seen the Carrie-Anne Moss one a dozen times post-Matrix?
But that’s getting ahead of myself.
We start off with a Martian mission, and we are day 18 (they call it Sol) of a 31 day mission. A dust storm kicks up, but Sandra Bullock has to finish just ONE MORE- no wait, the people actually do their damn jobs and get the hellup off the planet, but one of the men is hit by a dish, and is left behind, presumed dead. The Commander is forced to make the call to leave the body behind, and the crew takes off back to Earth, heartbroken.
But Wait! The guy that was hit was MATT F’N DAMON so no way he’s dead this early. He wakes up and makes his way back to the habititat. Figuring out that the rest of the crew is gone, Matt Damon has to figure out how to get in touch with NASA to tell them he’s alive, but knowing that the next Mars mission is going to land in four years, he needs to be there when it gets there. Thankfully, he’s a botanist.
The movie really moves from there. Matt Damon owns the Camera, and does a stunning job of narrating what is going on- just in case he doesn’t make it, and when he does make contact with NASA, it’s real. I just can’t say how much I am enjoying Matt Damon here.
But wait, there’s more! The crew is having to deal with leaving Matt Damon behind, and on Earth, once they find out that Damon is alive, they have to figure out how to get in contact with him, and then how to help him survive. We a whole support staff on earth with it’s own battles to be fought.
Thats one of the best things about the Martian, again, the Castaway comparisons, but imagine if we got a whole bunch of Fed-Ex guys trying to find Tom Hanks- not really going to work, but in another movie we did get some Apollo-13 level of Heroism from Gary Sinese in rescuing Tom Hanks. The Martian is almost a perfect blend of the two. We care, not only about Matt Damon, but the crew and the people working back home. Movie’s also funnier than it has any right to be.
I’m giving the Martian a 10. I wish I had been able to see it in the theater and I am so glad I got the wife a big screen for Christmas. I will be buying this movie on DVD as soon as I can find a huge set of special features.
Final thoughts; The science is pretty solid, and I am thankful for that. You do get a bit of the old “Only One Thing can save me!” Then Oh Yeah! It worked! Thankfully not too much, and do get a bit of negativity- mainly from Jeff Bridges.
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