Happy Holiday to all Malaysians again! Yes…again! We are happy to be Malaysians because we do have a lot of public holidays. Happy Awal Muharram to all my Muslim friends. For us who are not Malays but also get to enjoy the holiday together, we should actually know a bit more of other races’ festivals like this one. This holiday is actually marking the beginning of a new year in Islamic calendar. It is entering its 1437th year. And so, please don’t assume that Hari Raya is the new year celebration for the Malays or Deepavali is the new year celebration for the Indians. They are not. It is just that these festivals are the biggest for them and that doesn’t mean new year celebration.
Also known as Maal Hijrah, this occasion is celebrated on a fairly moderate scale. Well, at least I can have my nice break today, on a lovely Wednesday. With so much free time available today, why not go for a movie? That is a great idea and I went for ‘The Martian’, a science-fiction outer space film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. In 2013, we have ‘Gravity’ movie that went on to win 6 Oscars in the Academy Awards including ‘Best Director’. In 2014, we have ‘Interstellar’ which is performing very well too, winning 1 Oscar for “Best Visual Effects’. And now on this year, we have ‘The Martian’. It appears that filmmakers love to make movies on outer space recently and most of them tend to perform well to both critics and box office.
‘The Martian’ revolves on astronaut Mark Watney whom is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew in a manned mission to Mars. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Eventhough there has been many outer-space films in the past, but still Hollywood never fails to deliver different and awesome storyline most of the time. ‘The Martian’ has a very interesting plot and that keeps me at least engaged to the whole movie which is taking quite a long time too; a little over 2 hours. It shown to us how Mark survived on that harsh planet by farming, experimenting, calculating, etc and that’s a new territory that we have never seen before in outer-space films and it feels good. The ending is also quite intense and climax-reaching, ending the story on a high note.
Well, there has been a lot scientific stuff going on throughout the movie as predicted and I couldn’t digest them since I’m a normal human being. Hence, there are some time when I felt lost and a bit bored. Fortunately, there are still some understandable dramas going on in between to keep the momentum going. The other priority element to talk about in this kind of film is definitely the visual effects. Well, as expected, the film showcased impressive imagery, with most scenes taking place on the planet Mars. Those scenes were actually shot in Jordan. But I wouldn’t want to award another outer-space film trophy in ‘Best Visual Effects’ again in the Oscars for three years in a row.
Matt Damon delivered amazing performance as Mark Watney, the main character in this movie whom got stranded on Mars alone. He took up most of the movie obviously and he nailed the role with great emotional display and strong will. There is also a line-up of many wonderful supporting casts like Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, etc. Overall, the movie comes with a solid plot, solid acting, solid effects and also some light humorous moments that perfectly complements the drama without appearing ‘forced’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Martian’ a total of 7.8. Why I didn’t give it 8 or above? It’s because that in my personal opinion, it is still not as good compared to ‘Gravity’ or even ‘Interstellar’. I knew ‘The Martian’ received higher ratings and better reviews than ‘Interstellar’ by most others but I simply thought otherwise. ‘Interstellar’ hits me deep into my emotions but ‘The Martian’ only a little. Nevertheless, ‘The Martian’ is still a great movie that could shine too in Academy Awards early next year.
(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)