Ridley Scott's THE MARTIAN
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
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!
- Brian DePalma’s MISSION TO MARS
- Mary Roach’s PACKING FOR MARS
- Who Cares about Chinese Astronauts?
- Eric Hayden’s ASTRONAUT: THE LAST PUSH
- Why I Care about India’s Chandrayaan-1 Lunar Mission
- Boris Chertok’s ROCKETS AND PEOPLE VOLUME 3: HOT DAYS OF THE COLD WAR
- Sebastián Cordero’s EUROPA REPORT
- Richard Corfield’s LIVES OF THE PLANETS: A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
- Josh Feldman’s SENN
- Here’s Hoping for No More Wasted Space
Review copyright (c) 2015 by Dennis D. McDonald.