If it breaks, then fix it.
The Martian differs from other isolation or space isolation movies in that this film is a positive one. Films like Castaway, Gravity, and even 127 Hours are similar to each other in that they explore the desperation of being alone and trapped. These kinds of films are opportunities for an actor to show just how much despair they are capable of portraying. The Martian does away with all of that and tells us that that’s pretty stupid and that when you have a problem, you fix it. You don’t wallow in misery.
And that is the most refreshing part of the film. Things keep going wrong. Matt Damon is stuck on Mars. He is running out of food. Something breaks. He needs to get from point A to point B. And while Damon’s character shows moments of frustration, he inevitably keeps going. He keeps working and he keeps fixing.
It’s a positive movie. There are no aliens or exploration of sadness. Just Matt Damon fixing things. And a lot of jokes.
That’s not to say there was no suspense or emotion. This is more a drama than comedy. There were points where I was on the edge of my seat, despite having a good idea where things were headed. It still kept my attention and made me laugh.
Performances were great in that the film does not want to sink into depression. No one’s performance was extreme. No academy awards for anyone I imagine. However, the world was still believable and they certainly got the tone of the film right. Great job all around.
It was also nice to see Sean Bean not die for once.
Score: 7.7/10 Great film. I’m a sucker for “different,” for variety. This film took a genre/type of film and changed the tone just enough to make it unique. Worth a watch in the theater.