'The Martian' review: Matt Damon gets marooned on Mars
3:42

'The Martian' review: Matt Damon gets marooned on Mars

Culture
Let's do the math. Our service mission here was supposed to last 31 sols. For redundancy, they send 68 sols worth of food. That's for six people. So for just me that's going to last 300 sols. Which I figure I can stretch to 400 if I ration. So I gotta figure a way to grow three years worth of food here. On a planet where nothing grows. Luckily, I'm the botanist. [MUSIC] The Martian, a new interplanetary sci-fi film from director Ridley Scott, is blasting into cinemas soon. With me is someone who's seen the film. It's Michael Egret Strongholm. Hello. Now, Rich, this movie is based on a very, very popular book. [INAUDIBLE] So the first thing to ask for fans of that novel, is how close is it to the source material. It's very, very faithful to the source material. And this is a book that's beloved of fans for its nerdy attention to detail. It's all about this very, very smart, capable guy in a very, very difficult situation, but using his smarts to overcome every obstacle that is put in front of him as he faces this long, long wait to be rescued from where he's been marooned on Mars. It's really enjoyable watching a smart guy and teams of smart people pulling together and solving this problem so in that sense it's really really faithful to the book. Well we know that a great book doesn't always translate to a great movie. So as a stand alone cultural artifact. Yes. How does The Martian stand up? It doesn't really introduce enough of a sense of threat compared to gravity for example which is this white knuckle ride where there's constantly three things going wrong at once and you feel that you've gone over a roller coaster when you come out of it. The Martian is very sedate. So I think it could have done with, I'm not talking about manufacturing extra drama or anything, what I'm talking about is, is maybe kind of emphasizing what a hostile environment space really is for human beings. So speaking of space as a hostile environment, this is a movie that's directed by Ridley Scott, who is probably most famous perhaps for Alien and Blade Runner, and is a huge historical sci-fi presence. Exactly. So how was the direction here? It's good. I mean he did completely invent a new language for science fiction. And I think this is, it's a bit more comfortable. I mean there's lots of sci-fi tropes that we've seen before, like for example, the text is all spelled out in like [UNKNOWN] letters across the bottom, the names and character locations. And we see a lot of shots of worried looking scientists who are thinking, well how are possibly gonna solve this question? We might as well just, and they pale off mid sentence and they run to a computer. And they go, oh, I've got it. And I've cracked it! And I've cracked it, yeah. In terms of smart people doing smart things, and a character that you can really root for and his side is really, really good fun. The book is quite a love letter to space travel, it's written with a real fondness for the endeavor to travel into space. Exactly. Does that come across in the movie as well? Yeah, very much so. There's kind of a sub plot of humanity uniting to get this one guy back, and it's very much about people solving these problems. There's a huge cast, there's loads of stars. There's Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sean Bean. Kristin Wick and Donald Glover and loads and loads of big names, Jeff Daniels. It is great to see them kind of working together and you do find yourself rooting for these people to solve this kind of big problem and just continue to enjoy the majesty of space. So it sounds it like doesn't, maybe, break much new grounds in terms of. Sci-fi on screen. But from what you described a fun blockbuster especially for fans of the book. Does that sound like a fair assessment? Yes. Absolutely. Okay, well we've got a full written review of The Martian available on cnet.com. So do be sure to check that out. In the meantime let us know what you think and stay tuned.

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