Dennis D. McDonald (ddmcd@ddmcd.com) consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on CTOvision.com and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN

Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN

Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald

I loved the novel as well as movies likes Scott’s Prometheus so I was really looking forward to seeing The Martian.

I was not disappointed. The images displayed in the film are how I pictured them, the main exception being that the Hermes in the movie was much more expansive and roomy than I had imagined. I had been expecting something more like the interior of an interplanetary ISS, I guess.

Matt Damon was perfect. No complaints there. He’s on screen almost constantly so I’m sure he felt like he was getting a workout.

Stepping back a bit, what are some of my larger impressions?

  • The Mars in the movie is much more craggy and mountainous than what I recall seeing in the many photos sent back by landers, rovers, and satellites. Would we really land such expensive manned and unmanned vehicles into such a mountainous area?
  • I enjoyed the focus on people and personalities, on earth, in space, and on Mars. For many years NASA presented a highly sanitized view of the space program and that has thankfully changed given its current focus on people and media based promotion.
  • The technology—except for the size and scope of the Hermes—is believable and recognizable. This makes it easier to identify with the story.
  • The special effects are for the most part superb. However, weightlessness as portrayed was a bit dodgy. I think Christopher Nolan did a much better job with portraying weightlessness in Interstellar.
  • It’s about time we started working with the Chinese on space exploration. I don’t pretend to understand the politics of why we are not doing joint planning for a super expensive Mars expedition.
  • I know the windstorm at the beginning was unrealistic given Mars’ atmospheric density but I really enjoyed seeing later on the dust devils and twisters in the distance!

All in all The Martian is enjoyable film that promotes science and exploration but on a human and recognizable scale in a way that any audience can enjoy. Recommended!

Related reading:

Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald.

Ron Howard's THE MISSING

Ron Howard's THE MISSING

Now Showing: My Personal Favorites from This Year’s Alexandria Film Festival

Now Showing: My Personal Favorites from This Year’s Alexandria Film Festival