, based on the #1 New York Times
best-selling novel by Andy Weir, follows a team of astronauts on a reconnaissance mission to Mars, when suddenly things go wrong when a storm threatens the safety of the team and they are forced to evacuate.
On the way to the return spacecraft, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is struck by a satellite dish that gets caught up in the storm, and he is pulled away. Running out of time, with no communication or life signs coming from Watney, nor a way of finding his body, the crew is forced to evacuate without him, leaving him for dead.
Watney awakes to find himself stuck on Mars after the storm, injured, but well enough to operate on himself and eventually start planning on what his next step is for his survival.
Watney has no way to contact the team or Earth, and he knows that even if they do launch a rescue mission, it would take years. His best chance is to find a way to meet up with the next group that is scheduled on Mars. Regardless, he has to tackle his current predicament of not enough food, and currently nothing will grow on the planet.
I had heard such good things about the film from others, but I wasn't sure how I would end up feeling about the film. I knew a lot of it was just with Watney trying to survive. Even though Damon is a great actor, I was worried it might become boring; however, that was not the case. Although much of the film focused on just his character, and a lot was in the form of video diaries, I found myself quite enthralled and rooting for his ideas to flourish. The film did such a fantastic job of really pulling you into Watney's reality and feeling that isolation, that his triumphs and downfalls felt like your own.
The film also felt very believable, even though a lot of the technology and science and the idea of getting people to Mars is still fairly far in our future. It was easy to just go along with it, and I didn't find myself even really thinking about the validity of all the things that were going on.
The tension was also very palpable during the attempted rescue. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the film.
Damon really held the show, but the rest of the cast was terrific as well, including the crew, consisting of Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), Rick Martinez (Michael Peña), Beth Johannsen (Kate Mara), Chris Beck (Sebastian Stan), and Alex Vogel (Aksel Hennie). Other standouts included Jeff Daniels as NASA Director Teddy Sanders, Sean Bean as Ares III Mission Director Mitch Henderson, and Donald Glover as Rich Purnell.
The script was well written, and as expected, Ridley Scott directed the film with precision.
The visual effects of the film were stunning, from the massive sets and expanses of space to the interior of the Hermes and everything in between. They, however, just added to the action; as beautiful as they were, they weren't so overwhelming to take you out of the experience of the story.
I found the film to be very enjoyable, entertaining, and worth the watch. Even clocking in at well over two hours, I was not bored. If you are a science fiction fan, I recommend watching The Martian
. Special Features:
- Ridley Scott (Director), Drew Goddard (Writer, Executive Producer), and Andy Weir (Author of The Martian
) Deleted Scenes
- The first and third scenes really do not add anything important, but the second is a cute scene with some added character development. They can be played separately or together. * Mark Calculates Rover Travel Distances
- 0:45 * Hermes Crew Discuss Sleeping Arrangements
- 1:54 * Looks at Earth from Hermes with Final VO
- 1:32 The Long Way Home: Making The Martian
- This documentary that clocks in at well over an hour can be played in pieces or all at once. * Signal
9:36 - Andy
the book and
the crew and
the cast talk
as well. * The Bleeding Edge: Science and Design
- 11:59 - This feature talks about the
design and creation of the sets, and how they consulted with NASA as well as a jet
propulsion laboratory and space center. Everything was built to be as accurate as
possible. Subjects include the design of the Hermes, including the gravity wheel
and how it would simulate real gravity, the exterior of Mars, and the rover. * Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes
- 14:13 - This feature, which includes
interviews, talks about casting the actors, as well as the designs of the spacesuits
and what it's like wearing them. * Three Worlds Away: Production - Hungary and Jordan
- 14:16 - This feature
talks about the different locations in which the film was made: the NASA
segments were on location in and around Budapest, and there were also studio
stages used for the habitat with green screens where the surface would extend to
Jordan landscapes. They talked about using visual effects to match the interiors
of Hungary with the exteriors of Jordan. There were also discussions about the
practical sets and things, such as how they used real potato plants they grew for
the film. * Wrath of the Red Planet: Stunts and Action
- 10:14 - This feature starts with a
behind the scenes look at shooting the storm scene at the beginning of the film
and the stunts involved. Other scenes explained
include wire work for zero gravity and the rescue scene. * Bringing Him Home: Post-Production
- 17:44 - A behind the scenes look at
post-production of the film, including pre-visualization, visual effects, and
storyboards. Scenes and things discussed are the storm at the beginning of the
film, matching the green screen stage footage with exterior shots, helmet
reflections, the future NASA, outside the Hermes, and zero gravity. At the end it
talks about creating the score. Investigating Mars:
* Dare Mighty
feature is a
three stages and they predict humans will be traveling there in the late 2030s.
They talk about what they know about the planet and their plans, which eventually
will include going beyond Mars. * The Journey to Mars 101
- This feature, which is over two hours, is split into
segments, and again, can be played alone or together. # NASA's Journey to Mars
- 47:41 - This featurette is a panel hosted by Weir
with Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, NASA lead scientist for Mars exploration, Michael
Meyer, NASA JPL Mars mission manager, Jennifer Trosper, and NASA's Program
Executive for Solar System Exploration, Dave Lavery. # Living on Mars and Beyond
- 48:13 - This one is Bill Nye hosting a panel with
four scientists: Tom Kalil, Dr. Mason Peck, Neil Gershenfeld, and Dr. Alicia
Jackson. # Why Science Fiction Inspires Me
- 26:23 - This featurette is a panel hosted by
Adam Savage with Scott, Weir, and Goddard. * Ridley Scott Discusses NASA's Journey to Mars
- 1:31 - Scott discusses what he
has been fascinated about and NASA answering his questions. Interspersed with
the interview are images from NASA. Gag Reel
- 7:33 - This is the normal bloopers and the cast fooling around.
Ares Mission Videos
- These can once again be played together or separately. They are basically (fake) documentaries of Mark and the crew's journey. I think it's an interesting set of bonus features, different from the usual fare, and worth watching. * Ares: Our Greatest Adventure
- 3:39 - This one is hosted by Neil de Grasse
Tyson, talking about the technicalities of the crew's journey and what they are
planning to do. * The Right Stuff
- 3:20 - Before leaving for Mars the crew members each spent ten
days in isolation as part of a training exercise and then were interviewed by a
NASA psychologist. This feature is of those interviews from the Ares Archives. It's
a fun feature. * Leave Your Mark
- 1:03 - This is a feature on Watney, and is a fake commercial
for Under Amour. * Ares III: Farewell
- 3:35 - This is footage from the Hermes of Watney introducing
the crew with little popup info for home viewers. * Bring Him Home
- 1:34 - This one is fake ad campaign about bringing Watney
home, showing people from around the world, designed to give people hope. * Ares III: Refocused
- 17:18 - Another fake documentary that focuses on the
revelation that Watney was stranded and what NASA was doing and not doing
about it. There are interviews with the different characters that worked on the
rescue. Production Art Gallery
- This is a slideshow of photos from Earth, Hermes, and Mars. It includes production art and stills. There is auto and manual mode. Theatrical Trailers
– There are four different trailers for the film that can be played together or separate. Packaging: The Martian Extended Edition
on Blu-ray includes both the original theatrical version and the extended cut, which adds around ten minutes to the film.
The disc set, which comes in the normal clamshell case, contains two discs. Disc one contains the theatrical and extended edition of the film, as well as the audio commentary. Disc two contains all of the special features, minus the commentary. There is also a digital copy, which on the reverse side of the sheet contains an ad for a game on the app stores.
In conclusion, the film itself is worth a watch, and the bonus features on this set are massive, so even if you've already seen the film, the disc set is still worth it for the extras alone. I highly recommend The Martian Extended Edition
.The Martian Extended Edition
Bonus Clip: Deleted Scene - Mark Looks at Earth From Hermes
The Martian Extended Edition
Bonus Featurette Clip: Dare Mighty Things - Proving Grounds