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The Martian
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702 out of 1134 people found the following review useful:

Expected more

6/10
Author: slingeraap from Netherlands
8 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a bit of nerd of this kind of realistic science fiction movies and therefore I had high expectations of this movie. I regret to say I was disappointed.

The movie tells the story of how the main character struggles to survive on Mars and how the space agencies work to get them back. But I was missing the emotions, the human touch. The main character never displays any signs of loneliness, despair or fear. He is more like "oh, looks like I'm stuck on Mars, let's grow potatoes". He makes a one- off reference to his parents in an electronic communication, but nowhere in the movie is it made clear what his main drive is to want to return to Earth. It appears as nothing ties him there. Maybe the directors wanted to avoid the cliché of the eight months pregnant and terminally ill wife eagerly awaiting her husband's return from a dangerous mission, but even a cliché had been better than nothing. His character is also too flat. The only character trait that is highlighted slightly in the movie is that he may be a bit too smug about himself. Nothing else to make me identify or sympathize with him. To be honest, I couldn't have cared less if he had not survived.

The Mars landscape is beautifully rendered en very credible with dust clouds and all. This is the main attraction of the movie.

The main problem that there is nothing novel about this movie. There have been better movies for every aspect of the film:

Human aspect/psychology of being marooned in a strange place: Cast Away did it so much better; set in space: Matt Damon's role in Interstellar was more credible than his performance here. Space action scenes: Gravity had me on the edge of my seat Ground control scenes: Apollo 13 already set the standard

In summary, the movie is a beautiful, but hollow shell.

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311 out of 445 people found the following review useful:

More marshmallow than Martian!

5/10
Author: flickernatic from United Kingdom
12 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The crew of an American base on Mars are forced to make an emergency departure leaving one crew-member behind presumed dead. But he is alive! Can the stranded astronaut find a way of communicating his plight to those on Earth and survive while he awaits rescue?

A fairly standard 'castaway' plot but one which offers many dramatic possibilities. Unfortunately few of these are realised in this pedestrian movie which fails to generate any significant dramatic tension. This is partly because the characterisation is thin but also because the challenges the stranded astronaut faces seem to be so easily overcome. Starvation? Grow potatoes. Punctured space-helmet? Sticky tape. Mars rover vehicle lacking power? Wire up a few solar cells. Communications equipment destroyed? Motor over to a handy Mars lander. We never sense that the 'Martian' (Matt Damon) is in a desperate, mind- and body-sapping struggle against the odds (conveniently he is a botanist).

Damon effectively portrays the 'Martian' as a likable guy but the problem is how to fill the two hours of the movie that remain after he is stranded? When a character is alone and unable to communicate it needs something exceptional to keep us glued to the screen. Maybe what's going on back home will do it. Not really because the cast of characters there are verging on cardboard cut-outs. The returning crew? Likewise. And the script is written on the assumption that the audience is a little dumb, e.g. A: It will be 500 Sols (Martian days) before we can rescue him. B: But his food will run out in 300 sols. C: So he'll die before we get there. Indeed! And so may we.

The movie has some good FX and the Martian landscape looks convincing. But there's nothing exceptional here to compensate for the lack of an effectively told story.

In essence this is an American feel-good fantasy film, celebrating ideals of technical omnipotence, racial harmony, gender equality and international collaboration (with those cool Chinese guys and gals). If only it were so. No wonder the credits rolled to the tune of The O' Jays singing 'Love Train'. School-kids will probably join in! But, to quote Sam Goldwyn, 'Include me out!'

(Viewed at the Odeon, Warrington, 06 October 2015)

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264 out of 406 people found the following review useful:

Not a Ridley Scott Classic

4/10
Author: rishimon from London, England
12 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't really believe that I just finished watching a Ridley Scott science fiction movie and feeling this low, this one never felt like anywhere close to any of his classics. This is just nothing but a typical Hollywood s***. Matt did a poor performance as a character who is caught in a life and death situation. He is not scared or emotional but instead he keeps throwing Hollywood typical punch dialogues on your face like an Avenger hero when you are expecting Science. A make-up artist or a sound engineer from the set of "Big bang theory" would have written better science script and dialogues. For me there are plenty of "WTF" or "Seriously?" moments in this movie and I wonder what happened to one of the favorite directors of all time. Also repetitive high five/triumph scenes where we don't feel anything. To brief: Drag, bad drama, insensitive emotional scenes, poor acting, very less science, predictable and not at all funny punch dialogues! Just YIFY it, don't buy!

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312 out of 525 people found the following review useful:

A movie written by frat-boys

1/10
Author: justintannerpw1
13 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't usually like to give movie reviews - but it was a hot weekend and I figured maybe I'd venture out and see what the culture had to offer. So just how bad was "The Martian?" So bad that after an hour I realized I would rather be back in the sweltering 97 degree heat than sitting in an air conditioned theater listening to anymore inane dialog (lines like "F**k you Mars!" and "I'm going to science the S**T out of it!") In fact it would appear that a prerequisite for going into the space program is at least six months of doing stand up. (BAD stand up.) Why does everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) in the movie sound like one of those guys on "The Big Bang Theory?" Snarky and idiotic and always cracking wise. Also: Why did every character, while typing, READ what he's typing out loud? Has anyone ever done this EVER? And what was with all the expository dialog, (the whole script was expository as far as I'm concerned) Throughout the movie Matt Damon talks into a video camera, making a diary and yet he only says things that everyone who would potentially WATCH the video would of course already know, things like: "Oh yeah, did I tell you? I'm a botanist." It's clear he was attempting to speak directly to the viewer and NOT the imaginary audience in the movie itself. This is the laziest kind of writing there is. They don't know how to deliver plot anymore except to dump bowling balls of ham fisted information in your lap; telling you things you've already figured out in the most obvious way possible. That meant that there was absolutely ZERO tension. It was like reading an instruction manual for a microwave oven. "How do I grow potatoes? Oh look there's some poo." (cue the laugh track) And Ridley Scott's direction was as slack as an industrial film. False stakes, false resolutions, false falseness. Now,I know I only managed to make it through the first hour or so; maybe it got really good after that, but I was starting to feel my brain cells beginning to atrophy so it was from a sense of self- preservation that I skedaddled out of there when I did. (And don't get me started on the disco songs and requisite jokes about 'bad musical taste.' It was just more target-market reconstituted nostalgia-bait.) If there is a more unoriginal, un-involving, unbelievable waste of time out there, I haven't seen it. So of course: Line up the Oscars!

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151 out of 219 people found the following review useful:

This movie is really NOT good! Here's why.

3/10
Author: Dan Cross from Illinois
15 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's so frustrating when so many people like and praise a movie that really doesn't deserve it. The Martian is such a movie. I had such high hopes for it after all the hype, and after reading reviews by smart critics I usually agree with, but it was such a disappointment. Here's why:

Plausibility. Just like Gravity, there are so many non-sensical depictions of the physics of space travel, it makes my head hurt, and I'm not even a physicist. The characters and their actions are pretty implausible too, starting with Damon's chipper attitude about being left alone on a planet 100 million miles from Earth, but certainly not ending there. After realizing he is alone and will be for so long that he will run out of food, he gets the brilliant idea to try to grow his own, which we are supposed to take as a mark of his plucky brilliance. But he's a botanist! What would a botanist be doing on a space mission *except* studying how things grow? And then when an accident causes all his potato plants to die, the brains at NASA (who can't believe he figured a way to grow potatoes in the first place) instantly conclude (and tell us) that since the accident froze all the bacteria in the soil, he won't be able to grow any more. Why not? He still has potatoes to eat, and he still, presumably, shits occasionally, so he has all the ingredients he used the first time. Ugh! My brain hurts!

Writing. The script seems written more by market researchers than a screenwriter. Corny little one-liners ("My balls are frozen!") appeal to the lowest common denominator in the audience, and the relentlessly happy tone makes being stranded on Mars seem like a big party, complete with disco music (literally). And the dialog!! There's a moment when Jeff Daniels, the head of NASA (whom it is hard to imagine has ever ever taken a science class or piloted anything) talks to the heads of the Chinese Space agency who offer (presumedly--we only hear his end of the conversation) to lend one of their ships to the rescue effort. He says, "Mmm Hmm. Okay. I see. Thank you." (That's what a discussion about loaning spacecraft between two space agencies sounds like.) Then he hangs up the phone, clenches his fists, and says, "Yes!" It's like Homer Simpson finding out there is still one donut left. That someone wrote that line is astounding. That the director and actor saw fit to actually shoot it is bewildering. That it survived the editing process and made it into the final cut--well, there should be an investigation.

Pacing. It's a movie about being stranded on Mars for months and months. Why does it feel like a comedy by Woody Allen or Edgar Wright? There is never a pause, never a prolonged quiet moment that might begin to capture something of the unbelievable space and loneliness this movie is supposed to be about. Instead, it is a constant rapid fire of dialog and action. Even the scenes where he is communicating with Earth via text happens faster than I usually get with my iPhone and 4G. (NASA technicians mention, at one point, that there is a 25 minute delay between all communications, but the filmmakers hope we forget this two minutes later when all the subsequent conversations happen instantly). Then there is the rest of the crew and their additional unplanned two years of extra time stuck in the spaceship, going all the way BACK to Mars to pick up what they left there. If I have to run back home to get something I forgot, the trip always seems infuriatingly long. But not these cheery space travelers! Another two years in space! No problem! And it takes only two minutes of screen time. Piece of cake!

AGH! What a frustrating experience. If you want a sugar-coated popcorn movie that will make you think that if being on stranded on Mars isn't really so bad, why complain about our petty little problems here on Earth? then this movie might be for you. It does for being stranded in space what The Shawshank Redemption does for being in prison. It tries to tell us that it's really not THAT bad after all. It's such a lie, and such a disappointment, all the more so because there are so many serious issues and exciting psychological and scientific aspects about space that could have been explored here.

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198 out of 318 people found the following review useful:

Were my expectations too high?

6/10
Author: animalover-1 from United States
8 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wish I liked this movie more like a lot of moviegoers who are giving it good to even great reviews, but I left the theater with a bitter taste in my mouth I had to write this review to reconcile my feelings.

Imagine a movie that takes from the glory of Gravity, Cast Away and Apollo 13 which also tries to be as hilarious and groovy as Guardians of The Galaxy at times but fails? You've got The Martian. The first 1/3 of the movie was quite engaging: An astronaut on Mars expedition team gets left behind after a huge storm because he was assumed dead. But he was alive and we watch him try and utilize every cell of his brains and science savvy to survive until help comes. But once he gets out of initial danger things get all too predictable and over-wrought. Couple of annoyances: 141 mins. About 30 mins too long for the storyline. There were too many mentions of Disco music the commander of the mission left behind to ill effect, unconvincing supporting characters on the Earth who seem to be just reciting a script, and some characters the movie shouldn't have had whatsoever (such as Kristen Wiig).

Did Matt Damon do a good job ? I thought so until they showed a body double that didn't even resemble him and from there nothing he did was believable unfortunately. Had Damon actually lost weight without using a body double, I might have gotten more into the movie. But then again, he is no Christian Bale. So I wasn't expecting it but a little weight loss would have made him more convincing.

A few good acting jobs came from Michael Pena and Benedict Wong whose characters added to the storytelling instead of subtracting it in the midst of too many unnecessary characters reciting an already weak script.

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229 out of 408 people found the following review useful:

Thrilling Sci-Fi Survival Adaptation

Author: Calum Rhys from Worcester, England
7 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I generally don't give out ten stars lightly when it comes to rating films, but my God, 'The Martian' more than deserves this. The science fiction survival genre has become a big hit recently with 2013's 'Gravity' and last years 'Interstellar', and now the Mars-set tale 'The Martian'. From the hands of sci-fi connoisseur Ridley Scott, the mastermind behind 'Alien' and 'Blade Runner' comes the thrilling screen adaptation of Andy Weir's novel. Within the first few minutes, the audience are already on the edge of their seats as Matt Damon fights for survival in an Oscar-worthy performance. Playing an astronaut abandoned on the desolate surface of Mars after being presumed dead, Damon must do all he can to endure the martian environment, supported by some stunning cinematography and fantastic visual effects, 'The Martian' is able to blend humour and emotion within it's dramatic plot of survival. Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, just a few big names that support Damon wonderfully. If you are a fan of 'Interstellar' or any other science fiction survival tale or even some of Scott's previous sci-fi adventures, then this is one to definitely add to your watch list. Best viewed on the big screen!

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83 out of 120 people found the following review useful:

Crucial plot device similarities to 'Red Planet'

4/10
Author: Cletus Butzin from United States
8 November 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Martian" and "Red Planet"

I'm kind of surprised that no one has noticed the similarities "The Martian" has to "Red Planet" with Val Kilmer, released in 2000. Here's a few noteworthy(?) plot devices that were first seen in "Red Planet" that seem to have coincidental reappearances in "The Martian".

1.

RP - Val Kilmer, by accident marooned on Mars (with other guys who get killed off, leaving him alone),and a female commander of the mission up in space (who eventually saves him).

TM - Matt Damon, by accident marooned on Mars, alone, and a female commander of the mission up in space (who eventually saves him).

2.

RP - Val finds the Sojourner rover (which luckily just happens to be nearby) and modifies it to call for help.

TM - Matt finds the Sojourner rover (which luckily just happens to be nearby) and modifies it to call for help.

3.

RP - The female mission commander makes the decision to stay in orbit and try to save Val.

TM - The female mission commander makes the decision to go back and try to save Matt. (as cold blooded as this sounds, this is the least likelier of the two scenarios that would have the possibility to actually happen, in reality they'd let him 'fend for himself'.)

4.

RP - Val must make a long arduous journey to get to a Russian sample return launcher.

TM - Matt must make a long arduous journey to get to a NASA mission return launcher.

5.

RP - Val has to modify the sample return launcher to make it work, leaving him exposed to space when it launches.

TM - Matt has to modify the mission return launcher to make it work, he ends up being exposed to space when it launches.

6.

RP - The return launcher fouls up as it goes into space with Val aboard, requiring his mission commander to go out on a tether and retrieve him.

TM - The return launcher fouls up as it goes into space with Matt aboard, requiring one of the crew to go out on a tether and retrieve him.

** Of course Matt didn't have the inconvenience of the robot dog who was trying to kill him as Val had to contend with; but Val discovered he could breathe the Martian air that was generated by the seeded algae. So things even out pretty well.

No one else noticed these because likely no one saw "Red Planet", which while not a big hit is not without its own goofy personality charms.

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111 out of 177 people found the following review useful:

What do you get when political correctness takes precedent over good movie making? (If telling you why this move is terrible qualifies as a spoiler then beware)

1/10
Author: davidc-29 from United States
12 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie can be summed up with one word... vapid. As if Matt Damon's inherently vapid acting weren't bad enough, the makers of this film were so overtly focused on presenting an idyllic reality where no character behaves in any offensive way, to anybody, they produced an un-suspenseful, uninteresting, boring, vapid turd of a story. They fall over themselves to be so certain that no minority demographic is stereotyped that all characters have the sane vapid personality. And in what seems to be some sort of perverse effort to recompense reality, a very transparent hierarchy is followed to be certain that: the Black people are the most clever; the Hispanic people are next most clever; the Asian people are next most clever(carefully not portrayed as exceptionally smart), and of course the women are more clever than the men. Of course the only flawed demographic were older white male authority figures. To me this liberal, philosophical portrayal of what an ideal reality is reveals that they are the true bigots, the haters. They hate the differences that make people interesting. Ethnicity, femininity / masculinity, and their different traits should be loved and celebrated, not shamed, muted, or eliminated. It is the interaction of those differences that create an interesting story, not a vapid one.

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142 out of 240 people found the following review useful:

Were all the scientists on a day off when this script was written?

1/10
Author: th3 gr1d (thgrd) from Australia
10 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Wow this was a bad one, I thought Interstellar was painful but this was even worse (I know hard to believe!) My favourite part in the whole movie was when Matt points out that an explosion which occurred in a particular room during an experiment he was conducting was due to (you'll love this!) him exhaling too much oxygen into the room! Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure we exhale CO2 and inhale O2. I think even a fifth grader would be able to tell me that. I nearly cried with laughter when I heard him say that line and how he kept a straight face is beyond me, unless he thinks its true of course.

This was just the beginning of the lack of believable science in this movie and it was so painful to watch after more and more random unbelievable events started popping up. His one line killed the movie for me, from that point on I was looking for more "errors" and they just kept on coming.

Anyway to cover the opening sequence with how poor Matt ends up left on Mars to die, well there's a big storm that no one seems coming, they all rush to their landing vehicle to hot tail it back up to their orbiting mothership. Matt gets a whack in the gut with something (which we later find out pierced his suit completely but yet somehow the suit manages to stay pressurised with a hole in it) and decides to pass out. The rest of the crew fly back up to the mothership and, get this, immediately set course for home! They don't stay in orbit for say another 24 hours and recover Matt's body they just leg it back home asap. Odd I thought for a NASA mission to just abandon him and not say bring the body back for his family to bury.

When poor Matt wakes up he finds all the communications are down and all his friends gone. And by communications I mean the one satellite dish that was stuck to the habitat roof has blown down in the storm and been completely demolished, but not one of the solar panels outside is damaged, just a bit sandy. Seeing how comms back to Earth would be one of the critical systems would there not be 3 or 4 other methods of calling home, redundancies in case of a disaster? NASA didn't see the point in having any of those backups on this mission to Mars, what could possibly go wrong? Another good one is when he is told to drill and cut a whole in the roof of a perfectly airtight rover and sticky tape a big plastic balloon to the top of it. No reason is given for this yet it happens, I think it's so he can take some more plastic painting sheets with him but I cant be certain. Also wouldn't this drilling and cutting a big hole compromise the pressurisation integrity rendering the vehicle unsafe to drive around in without a space suite on, oh but not for Matt, he happily drives around Mars with no suit on at all with his new plastic sticky taped sunroof fitted trying to work out how far he can get on his batteries while whinging about how he'll never make it to the RV due to lack of power all the while singing along to the stereo with more flood lights turned on than at a football stadium. Um turn some crap off Matt that'll save you some juice.

Again another scene in the movie, an airlock somehow gets blown to bits and a big gaping whole is left in the side of the habitat Matt lives in. The solution, a big piece of plastic sheet and more sticky tape, he then repressurises the habitat and somehow his sticky taped plastic painting sheet is able to hold up fine, outside there are wild storms going on (which are visible through a few of the more believable looking pressurised windows) raging away and not one single piece of debris punches through his plastic painting drop sheet or does any damage to his rover or solar panels.

The mission to get him home is to send back the craft which ran away and left him in the beginning. NASA didn't tell the crew of the ship for months that he was still alive as they didn't want to hurt their feelings! So the plan to get him back is drive the mothership all the way back to Earth, do some gravity sling shot thing around Earth (sounds like Apollo 13?) rendezvous with a supplies pod (food and movies onboard probably) and fly all the way back to Mars and pick him up as he fires himself into space from a lander (after stripping out all the gear inside, removing the roof and covering it with another plastic painting sheet held on with sticky tape to save weight) already there for the next disastrous mission to Mars NASA has already cooked up.

For me this movie just went too far, way beyond what any normal person with a even a tiny grasp of science can cope with. I cannot believe Ridley, NASA and JPL were happy to have their names mentioned let alone their relevant ground breaking departments portrayed with such a lack of any real science.

I know it's a SciFi movie but you have to get the basics right and have some kind of explanation for the viewer to be able to buy into the ludicrous things which take place in the movie. Otherwise it just becomes a complete bore to watch and the viewer spends their time looking for more flaws.

My opinion, save yourself the money, stay home, get a pizza in & watch Blade Runner on BluRay again :-)

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