The Martian: Just Fucking Great

In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option, I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.

Let me just start by stating that reading about The Martian is an experience exponentially improved if accompanied by some hits straight from the 70’s. I found this playlist on Spotify, you’re welcome.

Now, that’s more like it. Thank you, Commander Lewis.

[Also, SPOILERS (obviously]

On an important side note, allow me to add that I haven’t read the book. Yet (I’m stuck in Game of Thrones now, what can you do?). But, that doesn’t stop me from ruling The Martian a brilliant story. Everything about it is great. The endeavor, the location, the main character, the crew, NASA’s campy administration and the surrounding media circus, the testament to this species resourcefulness, hell, it’s so good it even makes planting potatoes in your crap sound awesome.

I don’t know how the jokes on the book go. But, as far as the comical side of the adaptation is concerned, they’re alive, perky and well. And Damon delivers them with enough ease to erase all hints of pretentious. Denying the tearful drama of being stranded on Mars is a smart way of conducting the journey, Watney is fucked and, yet, he’s trying to make the best out of his predicament. We can all respond to that and appreciate how this heavy list of problems is lighten by good, simple sense of humor.

Matt Damon conducts this like a champ. He’s undeniably carrying the entire movie, not because the rest of the cast sucks, just, obviously, because he’s alone on freaking Mars. And, frankly, I couldn’t picture anyone else doing it this well.
I’ve always found that Damon’s american boy next door basic charm works as a perfectly clean white canvas. If you’re a good painter,  you can make anything work on that and still end up with a unique painting. That ability proves to be really handy when you’re working up a character that must be capable of intaking the entire audience’s expectations. On most movies you get the choice to find yourself in an array of different characters, especially if we’re handling crew stories, even if there’s a clear main character. But, in this one, Watney’s journey takes up the entire thing, all eyes are on him, to take it to the right level, every person in the audience must see himself/herself on him. That sort of attention calls for a generic base of work, take the simple, cute, funny, boy next door. Anyone can assimilate something of an ordinary description. Now, add resourcefulness, the capability to be quick on your feet, intelligence, bravery, kindness, rebelliousness. You just turned everyone in the audience into a superhero. Or an astronaut.

To sum it up, joy. That’s what we get out of this performance. It’s uncomplicated and it hits all the right spots.
Will Hunting has been gone for far too long, this movie just goes to show the world wants this guy permanently off hiatus.

Now, can we talk about the rest of this once in a lifetime cast?
Jessica Chastain just comes close to becoming my favorite actress of all time every day a little more and more.
Michael Peña, like every good pilot, is this commander’s rock. And we can all thank him for that. This guy is proving to be a great addition to every movie over and over again.
I don’t like Kate Mara. I had no actual problemas with her performance, which is a major win. Sebastian Stan was kind of just there, but he didn’t bother me, so no casualties.

Kristen Wigg, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, good, great. But, really, Benedict Wong and Donald Glover just came out winners of the race on earth for me. Glover’s appearances were short, sweet and wacky, close to being a tad bit to wacky, but just walking the line. And then we had Sean Bean. Let’s take a break here. Must mention Elrond. That Lord of the Rings reference killed me, literally. My heart stopped beating for half a minute there, poor thing just couldn’t handle it.

The effort to not make all this out of a green screen paid off. We also get the right amount of pretty, inspiring landscape shots. Less is more on this, especially if we’re considering Ridley Scott, who tends to make a catalogue of most of his extraterrestrial locations fit for a travel agency. This Mars feels pretty real and nothing can replace that rawness.

Rawness transfered to the sciency side of all of this. The NASA approved course of action gave us a believable scenery. Immersed in all this cool tech is an actual space crew. Not the clinically depressed version of an astronaut brought to you by Gravity or the dreamy love space and time manipulation mumbo jumbo from Interstellar. Sure leaving the surface of Mars in a convertible sounds like a questionable method, but we can’t live on the safe side and maintain the awesomeness, something’s gotta go.

Another fantastic thing is that you know everyone is going to be fine at the end of this. Because why would you counter act the climax of that man’s rescue with the death of another character? Unlike in countless other space dramas, all ends well for this crew. And that’s awesome. Happy endings are great, a perfectly justifiable cliché.
Besides, they even dimmed down this cliché by denying us another one. Sean Bean lives, people. And Sean Bean never gets alive out of a good movie, I’m almost sure this is a first.

Bucky and that journalist killed by Kevin Spacey (on House of Cards, not like, real life) get a child (not the kidnappy way, they made it), Jessica Chastain seems pleased at home, Michale Penã goes back to space because he’s simply to epic to be kept around earth, Glover got some door opening privileges at JPL and Matt Damon found a pair of glasses. Seriously, what happened to the “20/20 distant and near visual acuity” requirement?

Gather a fucking fantastic script, performed by a fucking brilliant cast, mix in some fucking intelligent jokes and beyond fucking awesome visuals, that’s The Martian (Watney inspired sentence).
Adventure, curiosity, resilience, strength and wonder. The Martian is simply good for the soul. If you haven’t watched it, just do.

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