Today’s movie: The Martian

The Martian

The Martian directed by Ridley Scott based on a novel by Andy Weir. Considering the last science fiction movie directed by Ridley Scott, I waited for this movie with a bit of anxiety. I still think Scott is a great director, but a butchered plot really can ruin everything.

Annnnnd… I really enjoyed it! It was like watching Prometheus again, except that the plot actually made sens. Damon Lindelof is an awful writer, some have gone so far as to call him an anti-Midas because it seems like everything that he touches just turns to shit. But this isn’t a Prometheus review…

Matt Damon already knows a thing or two about being stranded on a distant planet. But don’t get me wrong, this movie is entirely different.

Dr. Mann I presume

Dr. Mann, I presume? [Interstellar]

The Martian is fun, optimistic and keeps its feet firmly on the ground, well Martian ground to be more precise. While dancing around a black hole made for Interstellar breathtaking moments, The Martian can be summarized as Man versus Mars. Put in other way while Cooper’s crew carried on their shoulders the last hope of humanity, Mark Watney is by all standard simply that – an ordinary man.

The Martian [xkcd]

By the way there is still something I’ve a hard time to find out about this movie. And I wish I could see it again just for that. From time to time you can see a personage programming to solve some random problem, the camera switches to some computer screen and you can briefly see the source code. I noticed semicolons, and perhaps arrows, but could not pinpoint which language it was. Still it seemed familiar. So if anyone knows better.

Today’s movie: Interstellar



We start this new series with Interstellar by Christopher Nolan. I did not expect to watch this movie. Actually you must know that I was somewhat apprehensive. To me this movie was a direct inspiration from The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. This book stirred me so hard. To the point it has partly shaped my vision of life, and of the place we have here. I felt that no movie could ever render this. And I (deeply) feared to see one of my favorite science fiction novel trampled on by yet another gargantuan sf blockbuster overflowing with CGI in every possible direction with a bunch of heroes saving the world (again) because you know that’s just what heroes are for anyway.

Well I must admit, this is what I just saw, yet I was agreeably surprised. And the emotional impact that built all along the movie far outreached my expectations. I found myself multiple times begging for the storyline not to slip into one direction or another, because I felt that all this tension would deflate grotesquely like a dismaying soufflé, only to find minutes later that it was still ok.

The movie itself is not without fails. It is extremely ambitious. And as someone would naturally expect, it misses the point from time to time. It sometimes drew itself too far into the drama to the point that the story was loosing its legitimacy. Some scenes deserved to be more explored, and the fast paced rhythm contrasted too much with the heavy atmosphere of interstellar travel through the vastness and solitude of space combined to the ultimate hope of humanity that the movie tried to convey. These two themes go very well together. But they must be treated with due respect and certainly not as a way to blow up things and acting as a show-off.

Best acting goes for Anne Hathaway (Brand). On the other hand Cooper, Matthew McConaughey’s personnage, sometimes lacks conviction that would benefit to some key parts of the movie. Dialogues are somewhat clunky, and that certainly didn’t help. There are multiple unassuming nods to other sf movies. 2001 being one of them though both movies are still far apart. I was also pleased to see another nod to Arthur C. Clarke, The Garden of Rama.

In conclusion, my impression is that this movie could have been something awfully good. But it is not bad either. I’d even go to say that it is good up to very good.