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Movie Review

The Martian also known as “Misión Rescate,” “Perdido em Marte,” “Der Marsianer - Rettet Mark Watney,” “Marsietis,” “Marsjanin,” “Marsli,” “Marte,” “Mentőexpedíció,” “Seul sur Mars,” “Sopravvissuto: The Martian,” “Yksin Marsissa”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity.

Reviewed by: Curtis McParland
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Genre:
Sci-Fi Suspense Thriller Adaptation
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
October 2, 2015 (wide—3,750+ theaters)
DVD: January 12, 2016
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

survival under extremely adverse conditions

being trapped totally alone and isolated

ingenuity and courage

self-sacrifice in the goal of a saving the life of another

Mars facts

The atmospheric pressure on the Martian surface averages 0.087 psi, about 0.6% of Earth's mean sea level pressure of 14.69 psi.

The atmospheric pressure is so low that a “fiercestorm” as they put it would be something akin to a very light breeze messing up your hair.

Due to the low air density sound would not travel like it does on Earth, and you would have to stand next to someone and scream for them to hear you, providing you could survive the freezing cold temperature, poisonous atmosphere and lack of pressure.

The average surface temperature on Mars is a frigid -81°F (-63°C) compared to Earth's average of 57°F (14°C).

The length of a Martian day is 24 hours 37 minutes. The length of a Martian year is 687 days.

The gravity on Mars’ surface is 62.5% lower than it is on Earth. At just 0.38 of the Earth standard, a person who weighs 220 lbs (100 kg) on Earth would weigh only 83 lbs (38 kg) on Mars.

Featuring: Matt DamonMark Watney
Kate MaraBeth Johanssen
Jessica ChastainMelissa Lewis
Kristen WiigAnnie Montrose
Sean BeanMitch Henderson
Chiwetel EjioforVenkat Kapoor
Jeff DanielsTeddy Sanders
Michael PeñaRick Martinez
Donald Glover … Rich Purnell
Mackenzie Davis … Mindy Park
Sebastian Stan … Chris Beck
more »
Director: Ridley Scott
Producer: Genre Films
International Traders
more »
Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“Bring him home”

Stranded on the “Red Planet” …that’s a scary thought. This turns into reality for astronaut Mark Watney, though, as he becomes stranded on Mars after an intense storm hits the planet. Presuming that he is dead, the remainder of Watney’s crew safely escapes Mars leaving him to fend for himself. There are no extraterrestrials in this sci-fi thriller, though. As a matter of fact, the situations Watney faces are quite realistic. “The Martian” is a survival tale, and as Watney faces the fact that he will have to live years alone with minimal supplies, he puts his survival skills to the test as he attempts to grow plants, conserve oxygen, and ultimately communicate with NASA that he is, in fact, still alive.

After retrieving successful signals from Watney, NASA pulls together a strong team that will do anything within its power to bring him home. Also, neither the perils of space, fires, or debris can prevent Watney’s crew from the ultimate goal of voyaging back to the Red Planet to rescue him. He’s a part of the team—the family. On this mission, Watney’s crew faces great risk of fatality, but shares with the world that no individual should be left behind.

“The Martian” is a beautifully shot film that displays the magnificence of the universe and brings some of the best acting out of lead man Matt Damon. The performance of the supporting cast, though, is even more impressive. With strong performances from Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, and Sean Bean, this story becomes even more believable as director Ridley Scott returns in much finer fashion with this intense, realistic thriller. I started to lose faith in Scott after his last few outings, but, after viewing “The Martian,” I started to regain some hope in his filmmaking.

The movie still contains faults, though, as it suffers from a weak script, with some pitiful dialog, along with some story elements that cause the audience to lose track of what exactly is happening on screen. Although this film is definitely an improvement for Ridley Scott, he still has a lot of work to do when it comes to directing a large thriller like “The Martian.” The story flows smoothly most of the time, but, with a runtime of nearly 2½ hours, some audiences may become a bit impatient waiting for the film’s conclusion.

Overall, “The Martian” is still a welcoming return for Ridley Scott, and one of his best films within the past few years. But let’s just say, there is plenty of room for improvement.

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” —James 3:10

Trouble lies beneath, as “The Martian” is marred by some harsh profanity, bloody wounds, and brief nudity. The sexual content is relatively mild, as we hear one sex reference from a character and another reference to “fetish e-mails.” Watney is shirtless on a number of occasions, but the more concerning scene is when the audience catches a glimpse of his bare backside as he strolls by the camera, showing his emaciation. We also briefly see him in his underwear in another scene, and some sharp listeners may pick up a crude anatomical reference.

The language hurts “The Martian” the most, as two clear f-words are heard, a few more mouthed repeatedly, and another use starred out in a message using the expression “Are you f***ing kidding me?” A vulgar word for male genitals is used. The s-word is thrown around a dozen times and a handful of milder profanities like h*ll, a**-h***, and d**n pop up a few times, also. God’s name is abused about 15 times (once paired with d**n)—and Jesus’ name an additional 3.

The film does not contain much violence but some bloody wounds are on display after Watney gets speared with a piece of debris from the storm. We see him remove the pieces, writhe in pain, patch himself up, and staple it shut while blood gushes out. One of the staples pops out later on and we see a little more blood. The storm on Mars is a bit intense and we see Watney go flying as he gets separated from his crew. There is also an explosion played for comedic effect and some of the space travel may be too intense for some as a few astronauts greatly risk their lives to rescue Watney. There is no alcohol consumption but viewers do see Watney inject himself with medication, and he later dips a potato in a crushed up Vicodin pill out of desperation since he ran out of ketchup. Some viewers may get grossed out when Watney is forced to use his own human waste as a natural fertilizer. The closest we get to spiritual content is when we see Watney with a crucifix. He later decides to meld it down to help aid him in his many survival projects but believes that Jesus would be okay with it due to his current situation. There is also a mention of Hinduism and Baptism. Watney describes the universe as “4.5 billion years old”.

Not only is “The Martian” a survival tale but a story of hope and never giving up. But it primarily stays focused on the value of a single human life. Watney is determined to stay alive and even tells himself at one point, “I’m not gonna die here”. Strong themes of teamwork, companionship, courage, and sacrificing our lives for the ones we love play a large part in “The Martian”. Hebrews 13:16 (ESV) reads “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Watney’s crew does not neglect to “do good” and they share the abilities that they have in order to complete the dangerous rescue mission. Sadly, they do not realize that they could be doing this for a greater purpose, though; honoring and obeying God by laying down their lives for each other. As followers of Christ, we must adhere to Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8

Ridley Scott is known for being an atheist and even applying his beliefs to his films. Some may sense this when viewing “The Martian,” but strong, God honoring themes definitely overpower the atheistic ones. “The Martian” opens the door for plenty of discussion. Should a group of many sacrifice their lives for an individual? What’s our purpose in life? Why does this one life matter? Because that’s what families and friends do. In fact, as followers of Christ, we are commanded.

Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:12-13).

“The Martian” and its themes apply more to Scripture than one may imagine. But, sadly, the film is marred by its use of strong language, bloody images, and brief nudity. I do not recommend “The Martian” for family viewing, but for older teens and up this film may open some doors that lead to the understanding of the true value and sanctity of human life. Therefore, please use great discretion before viewing this film. It may contain many great, positive elements, but the overall content displayed in this near 2½ hour feature is nothing short of problematic.

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” —Ephesians 5:4

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate—shirtless man (2x), full rear male nude (illustrating starvation), “my balls are frozen,” disco song “…I need some hot stuff, baby tonight…” etc., reference to alternate version of game “Leather Goddesses Of Phobos,” joke about a fetish, joke about posing for photo as a “coquettish ingenue,” comment that skeptical botanists should have sex with themselves, “real d*ck punch”

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Remove the f-bombs—and completely unnecessary, but presumed obligatory, foul language, blasphemy, and brief nudity—and “The Martian” would be up there with “Apollo 13” and “Castaway.” Remove these bits, and they’d have a very good movie—with one cautionary scene (a realistic injury with blood). That said, Matt Damon did very well portraying a stranded astronaut determined to live—MacGyver/Survivor Man on Mars.
If he sought God and found faith during his desperate trials (as many people do), it would be an Excellent, even Classic, film. Could’ve been a rescue drama on two levels! Missed opportunity.

Many other interesting characters and drama as NASA, JPL, and others attempt a rescue mission. Good depiction of man’s ingenuity and the value of one human life. Amusing portrayal of geniuses working behind the scenes. Dramatic special effects and cinematography.

Some plot holes in the last third, but maybe not, especially after NASA’s recent and deliberately timed announcement…

Overall, good, but the edited version would be more enjoyable. Seriously, I wish Hollywood would realize foul language and blasphemy detracts from and degrades their art. As an analogy, I wish the actors could imagine if, in the middle of their best performance or during their Oscar® speech, cast members were loudly breaking wind or belching over and over and over. Maybe they’d realize how offensive, intrusive, distracting, and annoying profanity is, make better choices, and understand why such films aren’t as successful as they COULD be.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—This was much better then expected. It was thought provoking, with problem solving and had a good amount of intensity, figuring out how they were going to get this guy home and how he was going to survive on the knowledge he has gained. It had more intellectual and science components to it, and if you don’t like that stuff, it could be more boring to you. I almost didn’t watch it because of the comment about the F bombs, but there are only 2 times they said it, and insinuated it a few other times, knowing someone was writing it, but they weren’t actually saying it, and you didn’t see it written. I do NOT like movies with the F bomb, and this had hardly any. …Overall, I was impressed with the movie. The graphics were awesome, and it was suspenseful.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie Smith, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I am writing for two reasons. First to praise the movie, and second, to express some disappointment at the review. Alright, the movie. It was one of the better ones from director Ridley Scott. He’s been going downhill the last few years, starting with the disastrous “The Counselor” and the almost equally disastrous “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” Here he pulls it altogether, which may be the result of great source material. The Andy Weir novel the movie is taken from is a straightforward plot driven narrative, which can make moviemaking reasonably easy. Also, all of the performances were first rate. This not only includes the work by the star Matt Damon, but also the supporting cast. This is especially true for Jessica Chastain as the commanding officer of the Mar’s mission, and Jeff Daniels as the “patrician type” head of NASA.

…Matt Damon’s character walked passed the camera… probably less then five to ten seconds in length… The camera only showed his backside as he passes. …he had been living on Mars for several months by then and had barely enough food to survive. As the camera follows him across the scene you realize just how now dramatically thin he has become. It is a powerful scene for that reason, and in its context was not even close to being in any way sexual or inappropriate. Context is everything.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bob, age 55 (USA)
Positive—Though I agree with everything the reviewer had to say as to why the film should receive an “Offensive” rating, I am scratching my head (figuratively) as to how you arrived at a low 3.5 stars in movie making quality? This is a five! As a Christian, and a Sci-Fi aficionado, these movies provide a vehicle to have good discussions pertaining to apologetics. I have personally viewed all of the more well known “Mars” films, or Mars-like films, including “Mission to Mars,” “Red Planet,” “Stranded” (silly), “Total Recall,” “Pitch Black” (“would you die for me?” spoken at the end of that film), “2001 A Space Odyssey,” “2010,” “Interstellar,” “Contact” (these aren’t about Mars, but you get the point), “Mars Attacks (terrible film), “Ghosts of Mars” (disturbing), and I can say that “The Martian” blows them all out of the water. This one is the best ever. Fantastic! I have to ask, how did you arrive at a movie making quality of merely three and a half stars? Whaaat?

As to the movie being bloody, um, this is a survival movie, and the context was correct. The blood used in this film was not used as it would be in a horror movie, for exploitation reasons. The blood here was scientifically realistic but not use to gore everyone out. Oh, to that end, Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” movie was a million times more violent.

***SPOILER*** My wife and I had a good long discussion about Matt Damon carving up the wooden crucifix as tinder to ignite the hydrogen. Philippians 1:15-18 “15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, ”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Chris, age 43 (USA)
Positive—I went to see this movie with my cousin and my aunt; we thought that the movie was good, But there were some F—words and the use of the Lord’s name in vain, which it could have stopped, and there was a little nudity in, and it should been cleaned up, but I don’t recommend this movie to parents with small children
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Charlene, age n/a (USA)
Positive—Matt Damon deserved his Golden Globe award, but how this fell under the category of comedy or musical is beyond me. One of the strongest aspects to this movie is the screenplay (except for the profanity). We hear Matt say “I know what I need to do” and the NASA team saying “I know what he’s doing,” while we are kept in the dark until the solution reveals itself. This works so much better than us knowing the problem and him having to fix it.

When he carves on the crucifix, he says, “I trust you’re OK with this” and “I’m counting on You.” So it is not like he is doing it to make a sacrilegious point. A cross is a cross, whether it is a perfect rectangle or a carved piece of wood. You can’t see it without thinking of the sacrifice of Jesus. And the fact that he is speaking to it reminds us He is alive! We get loyalty and suspense in one of Ridley Scott’s best films of late. To borrow a phrase, “Two Thumbs Way Up!”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Jeff Leslie, age 58 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Excellent technical production—like you really are on Mars. But I became bored and felt the film was 30 minutes too long. The story attempts to show the spirit of mankind prevailing over extreme conditions—and that’s all it shows. The human body is finite and only lasts an average of 80 years, but the soul continues on into eternity—that’s what Christianity teaches. But Hollywood thumbs its nose at religion—again—and focuses only on the secular view of the world. The astronaut in this film, who is struggling with all his might to survive, shows no spirituality and never prays to God for help. He goes it alone.

***SPOILER*** Okay, so he survives this ordeal—but that survival is only temporary. Mars didn’t kill him, but nature certainly eventually will. What then, oh great scientist? Will your technology save you? Will you drop on your knees in prayer then?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Leonardo, age 74 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Horrible movie. Boring! Had its moments of great acting that brought a tear to my eye, but, overall, cinematic let down with poor special effects, unnecessary very crude language, rear end of a man nudity. Wrought with premeditated, subliminal messages and product placement. Storms on Mars can knock over a spaceship, but plastic and duct tape can hold them back. Astronaut magically knew he had a piece of shrapnel in him that he dug out, and he flew through space with a hole in suit. …Christians belittled, astronaut whittling a wooden Crucifix to make a fire. No “I Love You” parents. China was smarter than the USA and came to the rescue. The world is in the street watching live.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Skip B., age 35 (USA)
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