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MOVIES: The Martian - Review

After a few hit and miss films from director Ridley Scott, he finally gets it right and returns with an exquisite film and shows why he is still one of Hollywood's best directors.

The Martian is a gorgeous and visually perfect film from the opening sequence to the very last minute. Mars is absolutely stunning and will instantly peak one's curiosity. But, it's Watney's journey that is what captured my attention and the awe-inspiring performance from Matt Damon.

The film centers on Astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) as he tries to survive on a planet that most say isn't survivable. Watney is presumed dead after he is struck by debris on his way to the Lander after a storm hits and he and his team are forced to abandon the mission. But, Watney is far from dead and is very much alive. With his team gone and him all alone, he must survive on Mars until NASA can send another Lander to get him. The only problem with that is, he hasn't got enough food or supplies to last until then.

Watney has to grow his own food, find a way to get drinking water, and many other things which are near to impossible to achieve on Mars - a planet where nothing grows. He manages to and watching him find a way to live on Mars was fascinating, but it was the daily video logs that were the best parts about Watney surviving alone. Hearing about his daily experiments and activities added a sense of realism to the film as logging is something a scientist would do, especially on a planet they know little about. The logs also allowed us to witness Watney's ever changing emotions and see first-hand - instead of hearing about it - how being alone on a planet affected his mental health. That was an important aspect to the film, and important for us to see.

But what was more important going into the film for me was if Damon could carry the film and if he was up to the task of acting in many scenes alone. Damon didn't disappoint, and was extremely impressive, and showed his exceptional versatility as an actor. The task of acting with other actors is hard but alone requires a remarkable talent. To be able to hold the attention of an audience with just a single performer is hard to do, but The Martian pulled it off and all the applause should be given to Damon.

There was also a lot of debates during the film, which showed real life struggles NASA would have had if an astronaut had been left behind. Although the star of the film is Watney, seeing the people at NASA debate over various things such as informing the crew he was alive or whether to risk more people in order to save one man was intriguing and meaningful. It added a lot to the story, and to our emotional connection to Watney. Having Sean Bean thrown in the mix also helped a lot, as he was excellent and was easily the star of the supporting ensemble.

'The Martian' is one of the better films this year, but it doesn't come without its flaws. There were numerous times throughout the film where it dragged and progressed so slow that it lost my interest. Watching Watney survive is one thing, but there were times where things became a little repetitive and it seemed to take forever to get Watney rescued. I loved the film, but it didn't need to be as long as it was. It would have still had the same effect on the audience had a few scenes been cut.

There is also a problem I had with the cast and the under-use of some of them. Kristen Wigg, for example, is wasted in this film, and if she wasn't well known I doubt many would even have realized she was there at all. The film is focused on Damon's character, but if Sean Bean and Jeff Daniels can get a lot of scenes and lines, I'd like to think she could have as well - especially when you factor in that her character is meant to be someone of great importance to NASA.

The Martian is visually stunning, and the sound editing is perfect. Matt Damon as the lead was the perfect choice as he is excellent, and shows just how good of an actor he is in a performance that is unmissable. A few of the supporting cast I wish had more to do and say, and the focus on NASA could have been in smaller chunks to keep the main focus on Watney, but overall this was an exquisite film and a triumphant achievement in drama. 8/10

As always, thank you for reading. Let me know in the comments what you thought of The Martian!

About the Author - Robert Fruin
Robert is a sixth form student from the United Kingdom, currently studying Business Studies, IT and Media. Robert is a huge fan of the ended ABC series LOST; he has seen it many times over and has even visited some of the filming locations for it. Robert mainly watches drama series such as Game of Thrones and Person of Interest, but has a soft spot for the comedy The Middle. Some other interests include Cycling, Kayaking and Photography. Robert joined SpoilerTV in 2014 and currently reviews Colony, Outlander and The Bastard Executioner. He also previews Ash vs Evil Dead, Black Sails and Counterpark and runs weekly articles such as Most Memorable Moments and Quote of the Week. You can contact him at or feel free to connect with him on any of these social media sites.
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