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The Martian
火星任务

Opening Date
01 Oct 2015
Rating
PG13 Some Coarse Language and Disturbing Scenes
Runtime
142 mins
Language
English with Chinese subtitles
Genre
Action, Adventure
Director
Ridley Scott
Cast
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover
Synopsis
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, Watney must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
Reviews
By Thompson Wong  01 Oct 2015
When was the last time a space film made you laugh out loud? The Martian feels like the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG)for space flicks: entirely irreverent and sassy. In fact, The Martian outfoxes GotG one step further by doing away with several tropes - out goes the character backstories and lengthy navel-gazing. Romance? There's a bare glimpse, but it doesn't even involve the main character. By trimming away all this fat, what's left makes for surprising viewing.
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When was the last time a space film made you laugh out loud? The Martian feels like the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG)for space flicks: entirely irreverent and sassy. In fact, The Martian outfoxes GotG one step further by doing away with several tropes - out goes the character backstories and lengthy navel-gazing. Romance? There's a bare glimpse, but it doesn't even involve the main character. By trimming away all this fat, what's left makes for surprising viewing.

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, a astronaut and botany specialist who is part of Ares 3, the third crewed mission to Mars. While conducting a field study on Martian soil, a freak storm forces the crew to evacuate, eventually leaving Watney behind after he is hit by debris and presumed dead. But Watney survives, and promptly begins to chart his plan for survival after awakening to discover he is the only man left on Mars.

Ingenuity is trumpeted here, but never in a way that makes audiences feel stupid about not understanding the science. In the original text, author Andy Weir grounds the text with meticulously researched facts and a story backed by plausibility, one of the key reasons that contributed to the book's popularity.

Under veteran space director Ridley Scott (of Alien and Prometheus fame), The Martian manages to translate this to the big screen without descending into technicalities - a large part which should be credited to the easy, relaxed performance from Damon, who masks the obvious genius required for one to survive a solo stint on Mars.

This is also where Scott displays his prowess in filmmaking. By retaining a degree of faithfulness to the original material, audiences are able to sympathise emotionally with Watney's journey, juxtaposed against 'explain-it' scenes of NASA scientists working overtime to save him. One could call it 'emotionalising the science', if you will.

However, The Martian's greatest feat lies not in humour, but in how it demands optimism in the unlikeliest of scenarios - not just for the trapped Watney, but even an organization like NASA, who finds an unlikely ally in CNSA, its China equivalent. Political kinship is clearly an attractive proposition, and it's exciting to see what this does for the folks (especially kids) who dream of space. After all, if we set aside our differences and work towards a united goal, that's when the magic truly happens.
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By Eternality Tan  08 Oct 2015
"I'm gonna have to science the shit out of this."

Ridley Scott's track record of making two sci-fi masterpieces (Alien, 1979; Blade Runner, 1982) is still intact.
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I'm sure he (and we) would like to add a third title to that pantheon, but The Martian doesn't quite come close.  The good news is that Scott's latest is terrific entertainment, one of his best post-2000s works that would include the likes of Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001) and American Gangster (2007). 

Adapted from Andy Weir's bestselling novel by screenwriter Drew Goddard (who wrote and directed The Cabin in the Woods (2012)), The Martian proves two things: One, a movie means nothing without a great story and a character that you can empathize and root for.  Two, this is the movie that Prometheus (2012) wished it had been. 

Matt Damon stars as Mark Watney, an astronaut-botanist left behind in Mars when he was struck by debris in a fierce storm.  His close-knit crew and the entire human race back on Earth think he is dead.  So Mark wakes up in a daze, injured but alive, and finds himself alone in a foreign planet.  Well, no one can ever lay claim to that, and as he would humor you throughout the film, there are dozens of facts that he is proud to boast. 

You might be surprised how funny a blockbuster of this scale and seriousness can be.  After all, the film is about someone stuck in Mars with dwindling basic necessities, and close to zero communication.  That is as horrifying as you can get, but the view is extraordinary. 

Scott finds a magical balance of drama, spectacle and comedy, not to mention making the hard sciences seem so friendly.  Damon's performance is endearing, and by the time things get do-or-die, we have no qualms in supporting a character we aren't afraid to love, through thick or thin air. 

The Martian moves straightforwardly, even predictably, but it is captivating throughout.  The climax is incredibly suspenseful - I literally braced myself in my seat.  It is an experience that I recall having felt when I first saw Apollo 13 (1995) when I was seven. 

Smartly-plotted and wholly embracing the value of positive thinking while being grounded in practical outcomes, The Martian is inspiring, accessible and should deserve to do well in the box-office.  Let's hope Scott's next sci-fi flick will be in the same league.  But of course there's always room for a third.

Verdict:  Ridley Scott is back with a bang in this captivating stranded-in-Mars sci-fi adventure that is a potent mix of science and thrills.
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