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The Martian (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 134 minutes.

OK for children.

Whatís really terrific about this film are the cinematography, 3D, and CGI special effects. The story, about Matt Damon being abandoned on Mars, strains credulity but is interesting if one can ignore some things that are pretty hard to believe.

Directed by talented Ridley Scott, from a script by Drew Goddard based on Andy Weirís bestselling book, a crew headed by Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain; this is todayís Hollywood, so they gotta be politically correct and have a woman as the Commander) abandons Mark Watney (Damon) on Mars as a terrible storm is threatening to topple their spaceship if they donít take off immediately. Unfortunately, they think that Mark is dead, so off they go. But Mark isnít dead, so he gets up and tries to survive on a planet that canít grow food and doesnít have any water to drink or air to breathe. Sounds pretty hopeless.

But this is well enough directed and written that they make Mark a botanist and he can figure out how to grow potatoes. Heís also astute enough an engineer (just a jack of all trades, really) that he knows how to gerrymander the communications equipment so he can finally communicate back to good old earth.

Well, things happen, as they say, but Mark perseveres. Unbelievable as this all is, itís well enough done that you can buy just about everything. What I didnít buy was Markís 3,000 mile journey across the desolate Martian landscape to the only place where he could possibly reconnoiter to meet someone coming to save him.

Still, the acting is good but itís the special effects, 3D, and IMAX that make this, well, special. One of the better 134 minute movies you will sit through.