By Eddy Montilla.
Directed by: Ridley Scott.
Written by: Drew Goodard.
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers).
Starring: Matt Damon (Mark Watney), Jessica Chastain (Melissa Lewis), Jeff Daniels (Teddy Sanders) and Michael Peña (Rick Martinez).
Running Time: 142 minutes.
The good thing (and sometimes the problem) about having seen a lot of movies is that reminiscences of other films always come into your mind and then, comparisons are unavoidable. So when I heard that Matt Damon (Mark Watney) was going to stay months in Mars alone and he had found a way to survive there cultivating potatoes, before watching the movie, I knew already that The Martian (2015) would have hard times ahead of if to try to convince me about its quality because I remembered Tom Hanks and his famous Cast Way (2000), which is, in my opinion, the best in its genre when it comes to survival plots.
And what happened? In the movie, Matt Damon came back to the Earth from Mars, but for me, the movie is somewhere gravitating. Damon is a very good actor, as he has proved in Good Will Hunting (1997), Invictus (2009) and many other movies, but despite Damon’s Oscar nomination for The Martian (By the way, Academy Awards are so manipulated these days that I do not believe at all the way movies are elected), I think his job this time is by no manner of means one of his best performances. The scenes of Mars were ironically the only thing that looked very realistic. The most unrealistic thing was the plot itself regarding the idea of survival.
If you are trapped in an elevator, you might not cry or scream, but I am sure that you will not be taking selfies or joking in the way Mark Watney did. And an elevator is inside a building. Watney, for his part, was in Mars, “only” 78,340,000 kilometers away from his home. I could not see in Damon’s face any sign of despair, loneliness or fear. I could not hear a quivering or tremulous voice. He acted and talked as if he knew in advance all he had to do survive. See again Cast Away and observe Tom Hanks’ expression when his only friend and company for four years, Wilson, a volleyball, moved away from him floating in the sea. It’s no coincidence that he considers Cast Away as one of his best movies.
Whenever you see a group of people jubilantly saying “yes!”, people embracing each other or paper flying up into the air as a sign of victory, you know that you are in front of another “bait movie” made in Hollywood. I’m sorry, I like fish, but I do not rise to the bait.
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion with Eddy Montilla.
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