Matt Damon is stranded astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian.

Reel Reviews: The Martian stands alone

Reviewers Taylor and Howe say: "The Martian gets lucky."

  • Oct. 11, 2015 3:00 p.m.

When a storm threatens a team of astronauts on Mars, they depart quickly, leaving a man behind,  believing him to be dead.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is a botanist who must figure out how to survive on Mars the many months it will take to mount any rescue.

We say, “The Martian gets lucky.”

TAYLOR: America’s favourite guy to forget about is back. Everyman wannabe Matt Damon is his usual charming self as our stranded botanist astronaut. He’s completely unoffensive even when trying to be.  Damon has acted well before. In this picture he’s an ordinary Joe on Mars. The setting of the film is the star. Ridley Scott could have had a wet paper bag as the astronaut.

I’d still recommend you see it. In fact, you could replace the entire cast with paper bags. That’s why The Martian gets lucky: cool story, capable people, no-brainer.

HOWE: The Martian is the space rescue movie that Gravity should have been. From the opening scene, which is fast and frantic, it had me hooked.

I would agree with you that Damon isn’t the greatest of actors, but he always delivers; maybe that is down to the script, the movie itself or maybe just maybe, he has a little talent.

In The Martian, Damon has some qualities along the lines of Tom Hanks in Castaway, but I would say that Hanks pulls off the one-man show just slightly better. I took my little boy, who is now eight, to watch it and apart from the odd swear word, it is family friendly. So let’s see what he thought of it:

FENIN: I loved it, Dad. It had some really funny bits in it. The part where he had to plant the potatoes in the poo to make them grow – it was really gross but I was laughing. Then he had to eat them. That’s just nasty.

TAYLOR: It was almost cool, almost funny, almost amazing, but still feels disposable, sort of a cookie-cutter Hollywood blockbuster. Still, it’s a very healthy and entertaining evening’s entertainment.

I’m not going to pick it apart for its faults but rather be underwhelmed by its strengths. I still enjoyed the film, as did my wife. I just wanted something a little more substantial.

Taylor gives The Martian 3.5 untethered spacewalks out of 5.

– Fenin gives it 4 poo potatoes out of 5.

– Howe gives it 4 space glove rides out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films every Friday and Sunday.

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