First and foremost, as the title suggest, I have not seen the entirety of this film. I made nearly an hour and a half before I turned it off and walked away in obvious disgust. That hasn’t happened to me in forever. I’ve watched Cowboys and Aliens until the end. I’ve made it through The Pest once. Shit, I even love Bubba Ho-Tep (go see it immediately). I would not consider myself a movie snob.
Until I saw The Martian.
I know many liked the movie. I know it was up for awards (that are paid for) and its got good reviews across multiple review sites. I get that and I vehemently disagree. If you liked the movie I’d stop reading now. Its only going to make you mad. Like being pro-choice and reading a dissenting opinion from Clarence Thomas. I’m not going to change your mind, you aren’t going to change mine so we might as well ignore each other. I’ll catch you another time.
No, this post is for those who hated it but don’t want to be the one to ruin the party. A lot of people have hyped this movie since its release. I know a lot of us who truly despised this movie were polite and kept quiet while opinions we are diametrically opposed washed into our ears and lay our minds under a siege of frustration contained forcefully by societal norms. Because if there is one thing the internet has taught us its that people HATE people who hate what they like and movies are some of the things most near and dear to people’s hearts.
Well I’m hear to save you, silent minority. I’m giving you an outlet. I’m jumping on the grenade of being that over the top, nitpicking, too serious, angry, ranting, person who will rip into this movie with the fervor usually saved for medieval battlefields. Because I know you are out there. Those who hated this movie. Who despised the characters and the dialogue and the plot. Who were so distracted by the flaws in the movie and its presupposed adherence to scientific reality while ignoring human reality. Who were distracted by the JJ Watt of astronauts, Mark Watney, acting like a total twat the entire movie (82 minutes at least).
I don’t do this because I want to. I need to. I do this because this is the internet hill I’ve chosen to die on so you, hater, don’t have to. I’ve done it to seek allies in the vast cyberspace. A beacon to rally behind. A bastion of bashing. A safe space for hate.
I know, I know. I’m a hero.
So if you hated this movie read on and let the sermon of slander be as music to your ears and a reprieve from the buzz for I am preaching to the choir.
Now I will fully admit that the biggest issue with Ridley’s latest film is that I got snapped out of it immediately. I don’t know if it was because of the hype surrounding the movie putting expectations too high, or what I ate that day, or what house Saturn was in when I saw it but the movie lost me at the jump. I’ll take some blame for that but it wasn’t premeditated dislike. No. There are details in the beginning of the movie that I just couldn’t get over and that jaded the entire experience. There were additional real issues later but I’ll get into that. No the entire reason the movie lost me was because of one of the things that was touted as a real boon to the film;
That the science in the movie reflected accurate, near future technology and science.
As I understood going into the movie this was a big plus that a lot of reviewers were giving the movie credit for. It was a positive for me too going into the movie. I love the sci fi genre. Some of my favorite movies of all time are Sci Fi. In fact, maybe my favorite movie of all time is Blade Runner. What I’m saying is this movie could not have been more in my wheelhouse which is maybe why I was so dismayed as it started.
So right off the bat, we get an unrealistic storm on Mars in a realistic scientific movie. Weird way to start it but, whatever, he’s got to get stranded somehow. It is stupid that the commander of the mission, whoever Jessica Chastain’s character is, decides to risk everyone’s life by searching for Mark Watney (Matt Damon) in about a 2 foot circle after they just saw him get CRUSHED by a radio dish and fly away. HE’S DEAD JESSICA! You are the commander of the mission, you have the entire crew out there who could get smoked any second and your shuttle pilot screaming about the ship getting tipped over. You don’t search for him. You are militarily trained, get the fuck out of there.
Again, I’m willing to overlook this reaction. Yes, it grated on me a little but its a sci fi movie and I’m being told at the time by the people I’m watching with who have seen it that this is the unrealistic whatever part of the movie so I’m now trying to reset. Something is bugging me but I’m ready for the movie to go on.
So Mark wakes up and his injury from getting hit with a satellite dish is taking an antennae shiv to the gut. Sure. Stumbles his way back to base and sets to operating on himself. He does this very manly and immediately but what shocked me was he doesn’t look for any supplies. No painkillers or anesthia. Just goes right to town. I was going to let this go but then late in the movie HE’S DIPPING POTATOES INTO VICODIN. What? That was a mental punch that took about 30 minutes to hit. Again, at the time though, I write it off again. He’s in shock, or going into most likely. He knows he’s got to get it out. But then, if he knew where the scalpel and the instruments were that he used he must’ve known where the first aid kit was right? I dunno. But do you see what I’m saying? The “realistic” and “scientifically and technically sound marvel” is already making me make the astronaut dumb. It’s like they focused so much on the science and the technicality of everything that they forgot how humanity works. Which rolls us right into the next negative; Mark Watney*.
*I’m going to digress here and go into, perhaps, my least favorite movie character of all time and just get it out of the way. I said it earlier but I’ll say it again. Mark Watney is the JJ Watt of astronauts in film. Literally did everything for the camera. The nobility, the humility, the awe that pretty much every astronaut that has ever lived in real life or in film has displayed is almost devoid in Watney. I mean the guy just poked around in his own guts and his first thought is to start a Youtube account. What the fuck? TAKE A NAP MARK! Build some shit. Search for stuff. The time for memoirs and recaps and shit would be when, you know, you figure out for sure you aren’t going to die at any moment. You are stranded on Mars! You don’t even know if you are going to make it off the fucking planet and you are recording video diaries? That is the vainest shit I’ve ever heard and that is just the action of doing it. The dialogue they had Damon read and the way he delivered it just made me want to punch Watney in the face. Who talks like that? The dialogue was believable if you believe that Watney wrote and memorized a script then got in front of the camera. He’s verbally masturbating the entire movie about himself. Nothing about feelings, nothing about his sanity (or I didn’t get to it). Instead he’s making a science documentary. A science documentary about how to get Earth science to work on Mars. It’s not discovery, its not experimentation, its literally Mark Watney telling you how smart he is.
This is where I would ask does this happen in the book? My guess is no. I bet in the book he’s scared shitless and thinking about all of this in his head while he scraping at the bottom of the barrel of his intellect, his sanity, his will, and his place in the universe to survive. That is fucking awesome. Having him talk into a camera the whole movie makes all of that feeling go away. Especially when he’s cracking jokes and acting like some smarmy dickhole. Have him talk to himself. Mutter shit. Then have him go to the log. Maybe it was just the way the movie was editing but it just seemed like he always had the camera on and that, to me, sucks.
In summary, I don’t like Mark Watney. He seems like the softest, biggest bitch NASA has ever put into space which is an INCREDIBLE feat considering he’s surviving on Mars alone and performed life saving surgery on himself. I can’t stand him. He’s everything I imagine real astronauts are not and he’s in a “realistic” film. Just doesn’t jive with me.*
IMMEDIATELY, I’m talking like next scene, the movie basically gets fatally shot by its own plot right in front of my eyes. It’s dead. The culprit? NASA.
NASA, in this movie, is the most evil organization on the planet. As soon as Jeff Daniels gets off the podium where they prematurely announce Watney’s death and the accident a few things happen very quickly:
- Director of NASA Daniels pulls in PR guy and they talk over getting back the body/verifying that Watney is dead via satellite and the DIRECTOR OF NASA says something like “No, I don’t want people to see a dead astronaut because we’ll take a PR hit.”…….WHAT! WHAT! WHAT! What! What. what. That is outrageous. That is an outrageous plot point in a movie based on real science in the near future. So, what? Russia and China don’t exists? No one else has satellites? Twitter is bored with HUMAN EXPLORATION ON MARS! No one is asking questions? No one is asking to retrieve the body? How fucking stupid is the Director of NASA? How corrupt that he’s worried about PR instead of retrieving one of the bravest humans in history’s remains at that point? Well, if he knows Mark Watney he probably hates him so maybe its more realistic that I though but holy shit. It gets worse
- Director of NASA pulls in same PR guy and goes hey, check this shit out like 10-15 days later. I don’t know, they go by ‘Sols’ in this movie so whatever the fuck amount of those pass and oh shit, Mark’s alive. PR guy says lets go get him and NASA Director Dipshit Daniels doesn’t want to do it because the ROI on the mission isn’t worth it. Again, WHAT! You are the Director of NASA, the commander of the mission already, at the very beginning of the movie, risked everyone’s lives to try and save mark and that is met with a, “meh, he’s not gonna make it”. All this with his former crew ORBITING THE GODDAMN PLANET. Which brings us to…..
- NASA decides not to tell Watney’s crew. Now this is where I really checked out of the movie. You mean to tell me they couldn’t have just loaded a shuttle with supplies, launched it on the surface to help Mark survive while they figured out how to rescue him? This is the same NASA, supposedly, that built a ventilation system out of cardboard boxes and random hoses to build an air filtration system for the guys on Apollo 13. Again, probably wouldn’t have cared so much but everyone is telling me this is a super realistic movie. Yeah, maybe for the science but for the human element? Not even close.
All of this happened in about 10 minutes and from there I was out of it. The rest of what I saw was Mark building his Jenna Marbles brand, shitting in vacuum sealed bags and remembering where old shit has crash landed. It turned into Cast Away with a completely unlikable character and so I ixnayed the oviemay before the 90 minute mark.
So there you have it. The Martian sucked. If you enjoyed the movie and read this, I’m sorry (but not really).