Wednesday, 30 September 2015
REVIEW: THE MARTIAN
141 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Sean Bean & Jeff Daniels. Director: Ridley Scott.
Life on Mars? Believe it or not Ripley its flowing like water discovered on the Red Planet by NASA only this Monday. Mars is now your new sustainable source of water...now how's that for some hot springs? If only someone told Matt Damon about this...that would have helped him instead of giving his waste the 'Waterworld' treatment. Here he has a déjà-vu case of 'Total Recall', lost in space for the second straight year after going 'Interstellar' with Matthew McConaughey and Jessica Chastain again last fall. So maybe its time the 'Good Will Hunting' writer/actor stops boldly going where no man has gone before. Although in this Star Trek if anyone can handle surviving in space then it's ultimately the identity of Jason Bourne. Even if he's only being doing this for a few years. Around the same time that amazing author Andy Weir's brilliant book that's now a New York Times bestseller favourite has been around. Already taken from the shelves to the screens in what seems quicker than special effect warp speed from 'Prometheus' director Ridley Scott, the great Scott no stranger to 'Alien' movies of a different terrestrial form. This time however just like its by the book log you may even begin to believe this is real, between all the sci-fi special effects and all the scientific, theoretical fact. Scott lays the course mapped out by Weir and as we traverse a planet that looks like the deserts of Utah for more than 127 sols, you'd give your right arm to see something as amazing as this in real life. Grounding the Oscar winning 'Gravity' this is inspired and interesting enough to even influence intrigue next to the 'Interstellar' dimensions of director Christopher Nolan. This is more than Murphy or McConaughey's law...this 'Martian' is real.
Its Ridley's universe now and before J.J. Abrams takes us far, far away to make it his galaxy in the awakening force of a new 'Star Wars' trilogy this Christmas, this science fiction, space odyssey begins the fall season of big blockbusters and Oscar favourites that now always seems to lead with a rocket into space. Houston...we have no problem with that! Now who better to bring us a whole different type of 'Martian' on mars than the man behind 'Alien' himself, Scott? The 'Blade Runner' director is the 'Big Bang' of science fiction, space theory and coming out of the arenas of heroes like 'Gladiator' he knows epics. Now after upping the stakes on a biblical scale for 'Exodus: Gods and Kings', Ridley adds another big box office boom of a movie to his classic coliseum. Even honouring his late, great brother Tony Scott with an 'Unstoppable' streak of human hope, which was an inspired ideal that this 'Top Gun' director soared above everyone else with. Who better to bring this 'Apollo 13' meets 'Cast Away' idea home than icon and idol of modern movie marketing and legacy making legend, Matt Damon? With 'Oceans' of big roles and hits how is the sureme Bourne and the man that hunted for 'Good Will' still so underrated? He was 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' and the 'Private Ryan' they all tried to save that graduated to the ranks of a 'Monuments Men'. From the South African World Cup win for Mandela in 'Invictus', to the classic Wild West of 'True Grit' even his range isn't given the berth its deserved. This guy can even make films about zoos ('We Bought A Zoo') and golf ('The Legend Of Bagger Vance') interesting. And when it comes to sci-fi from Phillip K. Dick ('The Adjustment Bureau') to Neil Blomkamp ('Elysium') this guy knows how to stretch the spectrum. Now against all the odds, presumed dead by his cast off crew and stranded in space, Damon shows all the character of the funny side of the survival of the fittest and what no man has done before all to the tune of a compelling video diary, perfect for this vlogger age. Using the periodic table of elements and his botany ability to stretch the starch out of potatoes fertilised by his own poo to four square meals each day. And therein lies the rub. If that isn't Academy worthy then I don't know what is! Sandra Bullock kind of just floated around in space and she got the Oscar. This guy is performing feats on a water to wine scale. All gags and in-jokes aside the always brilliant Damon hasn't been this great in years and he's about to be re-Bourne next year. Right now though he's bringing even more new life in more ways than one from the dirt. This guy is the s###!
More than this human 'Martian's' independence day however is an all-star cast of crew and ground control looking for Major Tom. There's a star-man waiting in the sky with a Star-Lord soundtrack and some Guardians Of The Galaxy are ready to bring their boy home. Okay, not quite, but there's sort of a link of some Marvel family, from Bucky to Sue Storm as 'The Winter Soldier' of 'Captain America' star Sebastian Stan, on sensational form and the first lady of the first family of the 'Fantastic Four' Kate Mara who returns to space with more power than the fantastic but flawed 'F4' reboot gave her. Making it so for this next generation with the always in everything and always great Michael Pena (who almost outgrew 'Ant-Man' this year as a scene stealer) riding Riker shotgun alongside Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie is our captain and commander Jessica Chastain. After being left to age at a rapid rate on earth last year as 'Interstellar' found Matt Damon, Jess is at the helm now with another great fall after the dusk of last years space exploration and 'Most Violent Year' versatile move in 2014. Here on this red planet of dust storms and the 'Crimson Tide' of a forthcoming Del Toro horror on the horizon about to hit our shores, this red head is on a fury of fire with a commanding performance as captain. The ground crew are no console armchair slouches either. Think an Ed Harris on each desk. There's the director of NASA, Jeff Daniels in serious 'Newsroom', press conference coached ready form, with no dumbness or diddly-dumber stupidity. Butting heads with walking spoiler Sean Bean who wants to throw a spanner in the PR works for the good of the recovery. Those public relations are invited by 'Bridesmaid' comedienne Kristin Wiig, wearing another acting hat that doesn't just play for the red illuminated "Applause" of a Saturday night. Want more? All walks of acting life take small steps here from Canada's Mackenzie Davis to British actor Benedict Wong in pivotal roles that support in more ways than one for Matt Damon's giant leap back into mankind and its movie making. All the way down to Donald Glover, AKA the rapper Childish Gambino who almost steals the show here with his manoeuvre. Its '12 Years A Slave' lead Chiwetel Ejiofor who helps the most with this endurance mission however from the ground up, as the man a telescope away from the stars knows how to turn time and ties into hope and the spirit of home life, on the broad shoulders of a weight that's carries something on the mind that says; "don't give in". This saviour salute to science at its very element has an inspiring message here with this epic, emotional but most of all entertaining exploration. Complete with the bond of a sense of humor for anyone looking to strive and survive against the odds of life. Anything is possible if Matt Damon can live on the most dangerous planet in the solar system with literally s### to eat. Now how about Uranus? TIM DAVID HARVEY.