The Martian Movie Review by The Commander


3 (out of 4 stars)
A life hangs in the balance.  The whole world watches.  Doesn't matter if it's in a movie or in real life.  As long as there's someone in a life-and-death situation, it plays out in the news media.  Whether it’s a big or small story doesn't matter, everyone is always fascinated to watch the story play out and find out how it ends.

Take the case of little Jessica McClure (aka Baby Jessica) who in 1987, fell down a well pipe in Texas.  For 58 hours, the whole world watched as rescuers slaved to extract her from the 8” well casing, 22 ft. below the surface.  Everyone was glued to the story.  Same thing happened with the 2010 Copiapo’ Mining accident (aka Chilean mining accident).  33 miners were trapped 2,300 ft. underground for 69 days.  While it may not have had the impact of an 18-month-old baby, it still had the same dramatic effect.  Real life events have played out in the movies, as well as fictional events.  We've seen this in the real life event of Apollo 13, which was made into a movie, as well as Captain Phillips—interestingly, both starring Tom Hanks.

The newest version of the fictionalized event is The Martian, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and a host of other top stars.  Basically, the plot is simple:  A group of astronauts exploring Mars gets trapped in a storm and has to evacuate the planet on an emergency basis, unfortunately leaving one person behind.  He’s presumed dead since they have lost contact with him.  However, after they leave, in their return journey back to earth, NASA learns that he’s alive and deals with the reality of his surviving long enough until a rescue mission can save him.  So the premise of the movie is how to rescue him before he runs out of food, water and air, (you know, the basic necessities of human life).  It’s the old U.S. military motto:  “Leave No Man Behind.”
This was almost the exact plot of the movie, Mission to Mars, where Don Cheadle got left behind on Mars (who just so happened to co-star with Matt Damon in the Ocean 11 series… what a coincidence).

I really enjoyed this movie.  There were no surprises, you knew what was going to happen, but it was well played out in the normal Ridley Scott type fashion.  It was less “stiff” than Apollo 13, with lots of colorful metaphors (as Mr. Spock would say), funny humor, spectacular cinematography and a wonderful 3-D movie experience.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who loves Sci-Fi, stories of survival, or just likes to watch a life hanging in the balance.  Right from the start there's lots of action—so it's a big popcorn movie.  And with the run time of two hours and 21 minutes, you better stock up.  You would hate to be stranded in a movie theater without any popcorn to eat, as no one's coming to rescue you.

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