As The Martian lands at No.1 in the U.S. we ask - is it any good?

This weekend, Ridley Scott's The Martian topped the U.S. box office, beating off stiff competition from Bridge of Spies and Hotel Transylvania 2.   You've read the hype, but is the movie really any good?


The Martian - Marooned on the Red Planet


If you’re not one of the many who have already gravitated towards The Martian, consider blasting off to Showcase Cinemas this week to see it.


This is a film that brings out the best of the Sony 4k Digital Projection System and Dolby Atmos™ surround-sound, made all the better by the oodles of space and comfort you get in the Director’s Hall – Showcase Cinemas’ premium auditorium. In the same way that Gravity won numerous Oscars for its cinematography, The Martian is so visually stunning that you could almost believe we had already landed on the Red Planet.


As for the story, it is like Cast Away meets Gardeners’ World, Top Gear and Changing Rooms, all whilst set in space, which is no bad thing: let me explain.


Hopefully this is no spoiler when I tell you that The Martian is a disaster/rescue mission set on Mars, where the lead character Mark Watney - played by Matt Damon - is left for dead. And whilst there is no Wilson for him to befriend, Watney still has to find a way to entertain himself and survive in the hostile environment that Mars has to offer.


This is where the BBC light entertainment element comes into the movie. Who knew those hours spent watching aforementioned programmes could save your bacon the next time you get marooned on Mars. This includes Watney “sciencing the shit” out of actual shit in order to grow potatoes, pimping his rover to drive across the martian deserts and regularly channeling his Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen to feng shui the shit out of a space base or shuttle. Combine this with a smart script, charismatic performances and a momentum that neatly builds to the rescue mission’s climax, and you’ve got one enjoyable ride.


Am I doing The Martian a disservice by comparing it to evening telly? I certainly do not mean to. With so many good programmes and series, you want a trip to the cinema to give you something that’s a bit special. I would say any movie that can leave you feeling like you’ve been to Mars and back is doing just that. 


Our Verdict:  3/5

The Version