‘The Martian’ which stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and a cast of about a million other people, is a film that had one big thing to do for me. REDEEM DIRECTOR RIDLEY SCOTT.
Over the past few years, Ridley Scott has put out some pretty rough features. Some were so disappointing critically across the board, I never bothered to see them. Of the ones I have seen over the last decade or so, it was seeming that this was a director I did not care for. His ‘Robin Hood’ movie might be one of the most boring things I’ve ever seen. ‘Prometheus’, was actually something I really enjoyed. Yes, it has its problems, but I think it’s visually beautiful, and I have always found the film to be intriguing, as I see it as a film that asks the audience questions about life, with a goal to not answer those questions, and to just let them dwell. This could be another post in and of itself for a later time perhaps.
For the most part, and I may lose a follower or 7 for saying this; I’ve always thought of Ridley Scott as an over-rated director. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chunk of his movies, most specifically his science-fiction films. However, outside of sci-fi, I have just never really gotten into it. ‘Gladiator’ is held in regard as one of the best films made over the last 2 decades. To me? Sorry, I just don’t share that same opinion. It’s not BAD or anything, I just never really thought of it in the high regards many others do. I love ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Alien’ and I enjoyed ‘Prometheus’, so is science-fiction the key thing that is dependent on me actually enjoying a Ridley Scott film?
It would appear so. There are definitely many terrific aspects of this movie. The cast is stellar, and mostly everyone does a great job. My favorites were Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover. They all showed their highest level of talent thanks to the tremendous script they were given. The writing was definitely one of the best things about this film, as it blended drama and humor insanely well. There were actually a lot of great laughs in here.
Other characters did feel a bit more like stand-ins. This was mostly in part of the fact that it seemed like nearly every character was cast with a top-billing well known identity. Kristen Wiig’s character simply could have been played by anyone else. She was fine, it’s just that the script didn’t give her much to do with her specific talents. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was just that certain castings felt unnecessary while others were spot-on perfect.
As expected from Ridley Scott, the visuals were very amazing. Everything looked and felt real, and was all shot very well. So no complaints there!
At the end of the day though, this is a film that feels like it played many things safe. The script, acting, and visuals were terrific, and the story was (for the most part) compelling. For a movie that seems intended for a directorial redemption, maybe playing certain things safe is a good move. Perhaps the story was not compelling enough for the run-time we received. Many moments felt dragged out, but I’d rather have that as a complaint than to have it feel too rushed.
It’s ‘Cast Away’ set on Mars instead of an island, so every audience member kind of knows what is going to go down, and in what order. For this reason, I can’t help but to compare this film to both ‘Cast Away’ and ‘Interstellar’. It seems like a great combination of the two, but both of those films on their own, appeal to me a lot more. There are many reasons for this. One has Tom Hanks, who is among my Top 5 actors of all time. Another has a film score by Hans Zimmer that just captured the emotions of the story and characters so greatly. I try not to compare a movie to other movies, but every once and awhile you get one where you just can’t help it because you find it distracting.
To get back on the subject of this film alone though, ‘The Martian’ is truly terrific. There is very little wrong with it other than it dragging periodically. Won’t be surprised if this gets some Oscar nominations, especially for acting and visual effects. It’s just that for me, it was tough not to compare it to other films that, in various ways, and in my own opinion, “did it better”. My advice is to try and forget about what you’ve seen before and enjoy this film for what it is. It really is very enjoyable and I highly recommend it!