The Martian—2 hrs 22 mins/ directed by Ridley Scott/ screenplay by Drew Goddard/ Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels/ rated PG-13
Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy
(BR): I don’t know what to say about The Martian. It’s not really my kind of movie. It kind of laid flat for me but even at that, it left me questioning humanity’s quirky behaviors. Why would the world ban together to save one astronaut’s life, even while risking the lives of many others? That premise of this film is what appears to be drawing enthusiastic fans to this movie (even the Other Guy in the review below, for example), but it just made me feel like there are so many deserving people on this planet, right now, who need and deserve our help, who we should be banding together to rescue from so many real and immediate problems…Why doesn’t that sense of human responsibility permeate into real problems and real lives? Is it the media, the big budget movie marketing that makes us all want to be heroes? Or, is this something that is built in? Maybe I’m not getting my point across. Human beings often work together to save others, from danger, armies, or the Earth itself (as with miners who have been trapped in a shaft). I just feel like the everyday friend, parent, stranger, who brings even one human being back from the edge of sadness or despair with a smile, a joke or a gesture that changes the course that one human life for the better…aren’t they really the heroes who we should be trying to emulate? Isn’t that worth making a movie about? I give the film itself only two binoculars.
(OG): I think I probably liked the idea of this film as much, or perhaps a little more than I liked watching the actual, whole thing. I don’t know what’s going on with filmmakers these days, but everything I’ve seen lately (with the exception of a very few, such as YOUTH) is simply too much bang for the buck. Cutting what I felt was an extra twenty-two minutes may have made a difference, but it’s hard to say. Anyway, what I liked was the premise that human beings care about one another so much, that if one person is left on Mars, we would all join forces to save them. I have faith in humanity and believe that this film caters to what is good in people, and highlights a positive core characteristic in a way that few other films have ever done. Then, of course, you have Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Jeff Daniels in another Ridley Scott crafted visual. I give this film three and ½ binoculars. It’s well worth it.