Gaining momentum with great word of mouth (and currently sitting pretty with 94% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes), The Martian starring Matt Damon might be a pop culture moment from 2015 we talk about for years to come. It might not have been that way, as Damon used the press junkets for The Martian to put his foot in his mouth repeatedly and offend the politically correct types (link). Only the Spanish Armada’s invasion of England in 1588 and Napoleon’s march on Waterloo were more disastrous than Damon’s press tour. But the bad PR worked in his favor: everyone knew he had some movie coming out. Not only did they know, there were plenty of butts in the seats as The Martian opened to the tune of an $100 million this weekend (that’s US plus international box office)—it’s the second biggest October opening for a movie ever falling just short of Sandra Bullock’s Gravity according to Box Office Mojo.
The Martian starts with Matt Damon and a few crew members on Mars tinkering about on the first manned mission to the Red Planet. An enormous sand storm comes and hurls Damon into the crimson abyss of the Martian desert, while Jessica Chastain and the rest of the crew must hurry back to the ship. Then they totally ditch Matt Damon. Part of me thought this part of the plotline a little flimsy, since they had just spent 4 years hurtling through space on this massive, historical mission Mars. One little dust storm comes along and they gotta bolt? Jessica Chastain has some explaining to do.
This leaves Matt Damon stuck on Mars, which is not nearly as exciting as the Mars in Total Recall. Sharon Stone is not there, nor any femme fatale’s with 3 boobies or anything. Just Matt Damon. Alone. With the potatoes he has to farm out of his poop (I think the tater tots at White Castle are made this way). Oh, and he has all of Jessica Chastain’s corny old disco music she left on Mars when she ditched Matt Damon. She really had it in for him. Will our Martian refugee survive? Does NASA save face? Is Jessica Chastain a total bitch for ditching Matt Damon on a desolate, barren wasteland 40 million miles from Earth? This is the type of cinema journey you’ll have to experience for yourself to find out. #ringingendorsement .
Verdict: Go see it in the theater in 3-D. And you can bring the kids (there’s a couple F bombs and other swear words, but it’s mostly kid-friendly).
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
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