The Martian

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Vampire Owl: I have always wanted to have a pact with the Martians. The Earthlings are too evil for our taste.

Vampire Bat: Well, Dejah Thoris has been a fine Martian.

Vampire Owl: I hope that the presence of an Earthling on Mars will mean that he is free of the ambitions of Earth.

Vampire Bat: It shall be so, as there is no real need for money and power on Mars as of now.

[Gets the tickets and cheese popcorn].

✠ This was recently posted by me at Kiagia.com: http://www.kiagia.com/index.php/current-film-releases-movie/1115-the-martian-movie-review

Based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name from 2011, The Martian is a much awaited movie which has already received a lot of positive opinions. The stories of survival outside the planet Earth has had the attention of the audience with Gravity and Interstellar, and The Martian tries to make further impact in the same area during this weekend. Directed by Ridley Scott and having Matt Damon in the lead, the movie is sure to attract the audience of all types, as the trailer did manage to catch the attention, bringing it to a large number of screens on this October 2nd.

A human mission to Mars goes terribly wrong and the astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed to be dead and left on the planet as commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) has to make the choice not to risk the return of the whole crew for searching for him. But he is alive and has become the first lone man on a planet seemingly without life. The first and the best option for the astronaut would be to wait for death considering how difficult or rather near impossible it should be to survive in Mars without any contact with Earth and possessing not enough supplies until the next mission can arrive. But Mark decides to try, and make that attempt not to die.

As Mark is a botanist, he finds a way to grow some potatoes inside, after creating a favourable atmosphere for the plants. The chances of survival still remain too low, until NASA engineers Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) find out from the photos of the Mars station taken, that he is alive. They communicate using a Mars Pathfinder which Mark finds on the planet, and NASA begins the programs to send him supplies and get him home. But it is not that easy, as the probe which they sends explode and Mark himself has his own disasters at his place decreasing his chances of survival by many days.

Matt Damon is the man to look out for. He was also there in the last year’s space movie Interstellar, in a role which included being rescued from a planet too. But it never really had much there, and the planet sequence itself was more like a need to have a human character that is somewhat closer to the villainy. But here, there are no heroes and villains, and there is just the need for survival, that too in a fair way. The movie focuses on him, and so do the viewers, and he delivers an outstanding performance as the lone man who fights to survive where a normal person would have lost all hope. He has the most screen time, and makes a very fine use of the same.

The Martian remains ahead of both Interstellar and Gravity in many ways, making things more entertaining for the audience. The 3D of this movie might not be that heavy, but with the other aspects, The Martian clearly rises high. The environment is also a joy to watch. There is a perfect blend of emotional, intellectual and funny side here, the final side which was completely absent in Interstellar. The Martian is also straight to the point, but it never really fails to touch the audience. The movie knows where to stop being too much scientific and weird. It is the strength of the movie that the main character of the movie always remains someone whom the audience can connect with, instead of being someone special.

There is a strong, inspirational message in The Martian, and it is something which never lets go. It is the adventure that inspires the viewers never to lose hope, and it is also the kind of path which Interstellar could have followed. Another interesting thing about the protagonist of this movie is that he finds a lot more than just hope – he takes the opportunity to take the optimism to another level and even have some fun with his situation. The Martian has laughter, and that too when facing the possibility of death in a world far away from Earth. It is an adventure without any trace of pessimism, and almost everyone associated with it believes in their optimism, and this is a strange fact as the present world clearly lacks it, with so much of evil prevailing around the wars, terrorism, racial and religious hatred along with the other terrible things.

The Martian clearly has what it takes to be the big winner, and this is a good weekend to score among the viewers. This battle for escape from Mars is something that the fans of science fiction and survivor movies shouldn’t dare to miss. This has enough entertainment; some nice intelligent ideas and philosophy, along with making sure that the common man can easily understand the science here, as well as avoid whatever scientific term which they needn’t follow. The Martian is that kind of a movie, and by being the same, it will be a better, smooth experience for the brain and the heart than Interstellar, and easily overtakes the previous movie from Ridley Scott, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Release date: 2nd October 2015
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, Benedict Wong, Naomi Scott, Lili Bordán, Nick Mohammed

themartian

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Interstellar

interstellar (3)

Vampire Owl :: What if we don’t get the tickets?

Vampire Bat :: Most probably, we won’t get tickets.

Vampire Owl :: Really? Then why are we going?

Vampire Bat :: Because the movie has a wormhole through which may be getting a ticket is possible. It is called Big Hero 6 which should attract all the family audience and spare Interstellar.

Vampire Owl :: If we don’t book the tickets, the only thing that we are going to find should be a black hole. This is the movie of the weekend. Most of the shows at a good number of places are already booked a lot earlier in advance.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that Big Hero 6 has better reviews than Interstellar?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I am allergic to animated movies these days. So, going to the multiplex and watching any available movie won’t work.

Vampire Bat :: Okay, then take out that card and book the tickets. Wait, is that a tattoo on the side of your head?

Vampire Owl :: Yes. I am the owl with the dragon tattoo. Soon, I shall play with fire and then kick a hornet’s nest. It will improve my confidence with owlifier a lot.

Vampire Bat :: Impressive nonsense. Now, can we just book the tickets?

[Goes to bookmyshow website].

What is it about? :: The movie takes into a far future when the world no longer needs engineers or scientists, but farmers as the world has been facing a severe shortage of food as crops are always affected by blight and huge dust storms become a frequent occurence. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former astronaut lives the life of a farmer in the countryside with his father, son and daughter. His daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) seems to have found some presence in her room which she feels is a ghost, and there are messages being sent, which after being decoded, gets them to a secret NASA building which is planning something huge. It is then revealed that the scientists are attempting to find another planet instead of Earth to colonize, by travelling beyond the known solar system, through a wormhole formed near the planet of Saturn. As nobody else has undertaken a space journey outside simulator, Cooper is assigned the job. But the daughter is not happy about it, and as he decides to save humanity, what will happen to Earth as well as his relationship with his daughter?

The defence of Interstellar :: We have to admit that the movie is something of brutal strength. Christopher Nolan has got the balance here between the emotions and intellect as he keeps them together. The movie is heavy in its drama and at the same time, powerful in its action and special effects, and there lies the beauty of making a mixture which can taste good for more than one kind of viewer. The visual beauty remain stunning, and it is a shame that it didn’t release in 3D in this part of the world. We get a nice look at the heavenly objects and realize that they are indeed belonging to heaven. The two planets as well as the wormhole and the black hole catches our attention. The thrills are powerful, and there are enough twists to keep one guessing. There is no dull moment even when the movie is so long, and it keeps us immersed in the flow, not allowing us to drift away. Interstellar becomes an experience here, and not just a movie that we can watch in an objective manner. The sadness of watching something like Transcendence is drained away by this one too.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s ending is rather less interesting, and especially with such a great setting and happenings, it needed a better finish; there is some lack of imagination there compared to the movie as a whole. There is also too much Physics being explained, and there we can see the failure to realize that we are not attending a science class but a science fiction; and none of those things are related to what we studied or applicable to real life – they could have just gone on with using “English” rather than scientific terms, and for everything else, there is our willing suspension of disbelief. There are times when visuals struggle too, especially with the looks of the spacecraft. Some dialogues are too overdome too, especially concerning the emotions, as the melodrama gets more powerful. The journey to other planets is not completely utilized, and there are lots of ambiguities that can be guessed, and the lack of the right explanations to be found; there is nothing like getting to point – here it is missing.

Performers of the soul :: Matthew McConaughey is brilliant here – no surprises or twists there as he handles the whole thing without even one flaw there. From the beginning itself, he seems to be clearly attached to the character and doing his best every moment. Anne Hathaway also plays her role to beauty, even as there are some dialogues from her which are rather awkward. But the emotional as well as the intellectual moments are nice whenever she is involved. She shares some of the best moments with the protagonist. Jessica Chastain is also good, and that can be said so because she plays a character which should have no love from the audience and she is successful in the same; being smart and educated doesn’t mean good and caring daughters as we can see in this movie – Mackenzie Foy did the role of the younger her very nicely too. David Gyasi was good there, no doubt. Michael Caine adds to it too. The acting department clearly wins those areas.

Soul exploration :: Interstellar shows us how minute we humans are, in a universe that is stretched beyond all imaginations, like the sand on a beach or like the drops of water that make an ocean. There are a few other movies which this one reminds me of, one of them is Event Horizon and the other is Pandorum. The former dealt with creating an aritificial black hole which used the power of gravity to bring together two points in the space to reduce time taken for space travel, the result being the ability to go beyond the known world into a dimension of evil. The latter had a spaceship going on a hundred and twenty three year journey with sixty thousand people to establish a colony on an Eath-like planet during which there are problems between the crew leading to strange turn of events. Interstellar has elements of these two movies, and I would say that I like those two better. But those movies won’t be that much known in comparison to this, thanks to the hype and the fan-boys. There is also the reminder of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Prometheus.

How it finishes :: Interstellar was one of the most anticipated movie for many, and undoubtedly among the most awaited movies in my list, and there is the huge expectation there which has made sure that the shows are full a lot earlier than they usually are. Even the two Malayalam movies released this weekend don’t seem to have that much rush, but there is that case of the presence in local theatres – still, how well Interstellar is doing is nothing less than a surprise considering the fact that this is the kind of response that only superhero movies and superstar stuff gets, but there is that effect that Gravity had created, still running in the minds. Christopher Nolan is also a name that catches the attention, and even people who haven’t understood Inception after watching for the “n”th time should be willing to take the risk. The collection should be big from this part of the world, and may be this can break the record of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the highest grossing movie of the year – who knows?

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Josh Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Ellen Burstyn, Casey Affleck, Timothée Chalamet, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Matt Damon, William Devane

interstellar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Elysium

elysium (1)

So here comes the movie which I have been waiting for, since the day it released in the United States, and then again starting another big wait from the day in released in the United Kingdom. This was also the movie I was looking forward to watch in 2013, after Pacific Rim. Other than the presence of Matt Damon, the other interesting thing about this movie was what was told in the brief summary associated with it, and surely that name. The name was quite familiar in relation to some of the stories related to Greek mythology which I had come across during my childhood. Yes, that varied vision of paradise had left a mark, and here is that name revisited through this movie, not as what comes after afterlife, but all the same which are enjoyed during this life. The movie is set in 2154, when a group of wealthy people left the Earth after coming to know that their kind had destroyed the planet with greed and lavishness. With all the resources that remained on Earth, they created Elysium, a luxurious space station just outside the planet’s orbit to live a life free of disease and pollution. The lived a life of comfort assisted by robots and superior medical care, while the people of Earth were made to live on a devastated land, policed by robots sent from Elysium and deprived of their rights.

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) is a former criminal on parole working in Armadyne, the same company which built Elysium. But he is exposed to lethal radiation during an accident and is left with just five days to live. All is not well in Elysium either, as Elysian Secretary of Defense Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster) orders a mercenary on her payroll, Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to shoot down civilian shuttles full of illegal immigrants trying to make it to the city of their dreams. Elysian President Patel (Faran Tahir) condemns her action on the basis of human rights which leads to a cold war between the two. As Jessica looks forward to having more power and keeping it, makes a deal with Armadyne’s CEO John Carlyle (William Fichtner) to create a program that can shut down, reboot and override Elysium’s central computer in order to make her the new President. Carlyle creates the program in his office on Earth, encrypts it and uploads it to his brain so that he could take it back to Elysium for secret deployment. With the help of his friend Julio (Diego Luna), Max seeks help from a skilled smuggler Spider (Wagner Moura) to go to Elysium and get cured, to which Spider asks for Max to steal some information from Carlyle. He agrees, and supported by an enforced exoskeleton, he goes on a mission which could change the life of a lot of people.

Coming from Neill Blomkamp who gave us District 9, this movie is somewhat a let-down, and it struggles to keep its standard as high as that wonderful flick. Still, it is certain that the base of both of these movies are the same, and both deals with somewhat the same issue, which is the difference between the oppressor and the oppressed, the privileged and the under-privileged, the powerful and the subaltern. The 2009 movie had aliens coming to Earth and living on the planet only to become second-rate citizens, while our 2013 movie has humans going to a space station and making the rest of their kind second-rate citizens or rather the lesser species – almost the same thing. The protagonist is from the subaltern group this time though. Both are about the horrible divide between people, sometimes about the rich and the poor, and otherwise racial or ethnic in nature. The evil of the multinational corporations as well as the government funded policing of groups which are different in some way or the other, also exists. Elysium makes a good attempt to carry on that idea of divide which formed the skeleton of District 9, and adds more elements of science fiction and powers it using the expensive fuel of post-apocalyptic fiction which sells, and in the process it hurts the inner core.

This is undoubtedly Matt Damon’s movie, and one has to doubt it would have worked this well without him. In the dystopic future where Earth has become nothing more than a big slum of devastated towers and a collection of small ghettos. He plays a former criminal who wishes to go to Elysium so that he could save his own life, but later he transforms into something more, as the saviour of not only his friend’s daughter, but also of millions who can’t afford the riches of the new first world. He is a confused revolutionary and a saviour who doesn’t decide his change, but rather it happens to him. He becomes what the nun who raised him had told him when he was a child – for he became someone special, an act which is supported by flashbacks which works, but not the way the audience might have wanted. This might be his best performance since the first three movies in the Bourne series. The character should have done better with a little more attention to his thoughts and change rather than just making him change as if it was there in him since childhood. Surely, he could have had more to work with, and this movie’s overuse of brain has seriously worked against the character of Max, which could have been drawn from another level.

I am rather surprised that Jodie Foster is not the main villain in the movie, as I thought this was going to be her wonderful performance in the form of another great villain, from what it seemed in the trailer. We wanted that villain, and in the beginning stages of the movie, we also get the feeling that it is how it is going to be. It is a shame that she doesn’t impress at all this time. But there would be Sharlto Copley rather than Jodie in a performance which is quite strange even though good. But this is one character who shouldn’t have had this much screen presence even as the man seems to live in the character and keep it a level above most of the movie. In a movie which is something more than a science fiction, this is not the main villain we want, for this is a more suitable secondary villain character. The need for a more powerful in intellect and yet normal in muscular strength villain was there, and this need is not fulfilled. Its good to see Alice Braga after her last action movie Predators, to which I hope there will be a sequel. She plays the childhood friend of Max, and the one who has a deep impact on him. Despite the smaller screen presence, she makes a very good impact. William Fichtner could have made a great major villain, but his character dies too early for us to get a glimpse of a possible evil. He still symbolizes the corporate evil, the power of the multi-national entities which became inter-planetary entities.

There is action and there is the hidden theme of the lack of humanity and the division between humans. But the action is mostly of inferior quality and the social message is not that powerful as one would expect to. I would consider Oblivion a far better flick intellectually, and District 9 a far more effective movie with its social message. As far as entertainment is considered this won’t be a Star Trek: Into Darkness nor a Prometheus visually. Elysium is another one of those escapist fantasies for sure, but its bridge towards the social message is not that much a perfectly crafted link. Another factor should be that of blood and gore which comes in abundance here, and gets itself an adult certificate with the same, but still doesn’t manage to do it well enough. One has to applaud the visuals though, as the world of Elysium as well as that of Earth are well-detailed, and the robots as well as the flying machines are well-designed and works very fine. The action sequences are lesser, but still not too exaggerated. The movie’s confusion about where it belongs is clearly reflected in all those things which happen throughout its own little world. One has to applaud the idea, but still be confused about its effect on oneself, and how to think about this movie. The emotion couldn’t be felt deep enough, and my friend had recommended a seventy three for this, but I thought I should add a little more to the rating.

While the movie drags a bit, and keeps itself in a loop in which it gently repeats itself, there is still enough in its soul to keep us interested and make a good influence. The only movie of this year to which the action of this movie can be compared is World War Z; yes not to Oblivion which had another post-apocalyptic world with a supposed colony of humans in another place as Earth has gone down due to many forces of destruction (a theory which is proved wrong in a twist of fate which is found later). This drags like World War Z and gets the loop working as the same movie. This could have done with a better route in the script, and Jodie Foster as a different, but still the major villain. It is sad that all the potential had this movie only up-to this level – no, I am still glad to have watched this movie, but this should have been a great work on the screen, but it has missed that opportunity, and that is kind of saddening. May be they could have stuck to one thing in this movie rather than making it a masala social message, or may be there could have been a better balance; I wouldn’t be sure, but let me tell you that I was hoping to come out ready to give an eighty to eighty nine for this movie out of hundred, and seventy seven is a disappoint if we look at it that way.

Release date: 27th September 2013 (India); 21st August 2013 (UK)
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Alice Braga, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, Brandon Auret, Josh Blacker, Emma Tremblay, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Valentina Giros, Maxwell Perry Cotton, Faran Tahir

elysiums copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.