Thursday, October 22, 2015
3 Thoughts on The Martian
1. Science over faith- With the recent string of films about space travel (Gravity, Interstellar), I found the biggest highlight of this movie was its consistent reliance on science. While other movies of this nature rely on the character "believing" in something that isn't tangible (destiny, a higher power, positive energy, their own "will" to survive, etc), Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, basically states "I'm not gonna die here" and then uses every scientific resource that his brain can generate. And you know what? It is fucking awesome. And you know why? Because it really doesn't matter how much you "believe", if you are facing a deadly situation, like being stranded on Mars, you're going to need to utilize your brain. I did find the plot a bit repetitive (problem, *light bulb*, solution, repeat), but if you have the slightest interest in learning things, then you will have fun with this movie. The question remains, would any of it actually work? I mean, he describes, in detail, every move he makes, but until someone actually does any of it (on Mars), we really don't know.
2. Drama over simplicity - The reason that I'm not completely in love with the movie is related a bit to the repetition, because it all seemed a little too dragged out for dramatic effect. *Spoiler, if you don't know how movies like this work*, he obviously lives. His team goes back for him and they save him (only after he saved himself multiple times), and we already know this is what is going to happen as soon as it is mentioned as an option. Therefore, the drawn-out ending became really tedious and really didn't achieve the suspense that I think was intended. After the second failed attempt at his rescue, I was already like "ok, really, just fucking rescue the guy already". They tried to lighten the mood by injecting some "humor" - that's in quotes because I didn't really think any of it was funny, like the running gag with disco music (because apparently only one person brought music and she only listens to one genre of music - disco. Is she a robot?). Even with its faults, it's still a solid 4 star movie, and my favorite of the year, so far.
3. Talent over charm - I'm not referring to the star; Matt Damon is the king of cinematic charm (he shares his kingdom with James McAvoy). He relies on this charm, as he spends most of his screen time on his own, talking to an imaginary audience. I'm referring to the two female characters, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara. These are two actresses who have both been critiqued for being "cold". In fact, I very recently read a twitter conversation about how Mara "needs to put a smile on her face" (a woman said this, btw). I'm sure these actresses are used to ridiculous things being said about them, but it's so insulting to critique someone for actually being realistic (she is an astronaut who survived a horrible tragedy, in which she thought her friend/co-worker died, and now she must put her life in danger again to save him - WHY THE FUCK WOULD SHE SMILE??). So if you are seeing this movie because you want "eye candy" females laughing, smiling, and charming their way through space, then this is not the movie for you. Gender is never even addressed, even with Chastain in the "leader" role. Her decisions are questioned and judged, but not because she is female, but because she is human.