I want to start off by saying that I really liked The Martian. I really want to be clear about that fact – I really enjoyed the film.
Well… enjoyed might be pushing it. I really appreciated the film.
While I was sitting down in the cinema I kept thinking that this film would be great to show to young secondary school (high-school for you Americans) students. It felt like a very good and very well thought out science class – and that is fine but the film’s pace suffers because of this.
I guess the pacing issue is a product of the story itself. Matt Damon plays a botanist/astronaut called Mark Watney who gets stuck on Mars. Watney has to ‘science the shit’ out of everything to survive until NASA sends a mission to save him. So a lot of the conflict in the film is how Watney can survive on a planet that is hostile to life.
Don’t get me wrong, the film is fascinating and it made me remember just how good of an actor Matt Damon is – but it left me wanting more… more action I guess – more excitement.
I can’t help but compare this film to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar – a film which left me in wonder and salivating at the thought of the possibilities of space travel. The Martian left me thinking about how I could grow potatoes using my own waste.
The Martian did not make me dream. The film did not make me look at the stars and hope for the day we can send man out to the great unknown. This lack of… magic, I guess, feels like a massive negative against what is otherwise a very solid film.