Matt Damon in The Martian

My Favorite Scene: The Martian (2015) “Space Pirate”

The Martian was my favorite book of 2014, so when it quickly was turned around into a huge movie the following year, I was a little nervous they could get it right.  Especially so, because Ridley Scott, who used to be one of the most dependable directors in Hollywood, was helming it and was riding a decade long dry spell.  Fortunately Scott was able to summon up a final science fiction masterpiece (no, I don’t hold out any hope for further ones) aided by perhaps the performance of Matt Damon’s career, an amazing ensemble cast, and fundamentally awesome source material (you can read my full review here).

One of the reasons that the story of Damon’s botanist, stranded on the Red Planet when his crew thinks him dead and leaves him behind, works so well is that it is 1) grounded in science and 2) as filled with funny moments as the novel is.  Damon doesn’t have to quite do the amount of solo camera time that Tom Hanks did in Cast Away, but this is probably the closest to that feat that any other actor has come.  Like Hanks did with Wilson (the greatest prop in movie history), Damon uses his logs to come up for an excuse for essentially breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience.  My favorite of these log rants begins with Damon using Vicodin as a condiment and ends with a convoluted explanation of how Mars now belongs to him under maritime law and that he is, in fact, a space pirate.

By the way, Andy Weir’s second novel (Artemis) hasn’t even been released yet and has been snapped up by a studio with The LEGO Movie team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller attached to direct.
Matt Damon in The Martian

 

14 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: The Martian (2015) “Space Pirate””

  1. Artemis is being billed as a heist story set on the moon. In what universe is Hollywood not going to instantly snatch that up? I don’t think anyone actually read it, they just heard “the author of “The Martian” and “heist” and “moon” and they paid millions of dollars.

    The Martian isn’t THAT good. The movie, I mean. I liked it, it had a great central performance (I think every actor’s rite of passage needs to be a movie where he’s always alone onscreen) and I see why it was a hit. I don’t know exactly how accurate all the science was, but it sure seemed believable, and kept the film grounded, which is slightly ironic. But I thought it was kind of slight and forgettable. Which is fine, because I still had a very good time at the movies. But it was not Scott coming back. At all. He made a good movie for the first time in a long time, but a return to form it was most… assuredly… not.

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      1. Interstellar spoiled me the year before, guys. I know you could say it’s apples and oranges, but Interstellar is soooo much better. And Damon makes just as much of an impact as a guy marooned in space, with 1/20th the screen time. Maybe I just go in for grandiose, theoretical science fiction more. Interstellar follows the plot structure of Kubrick’s 2001. Surprisingly closely.

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  2. I’m looking forward to Blade Runner, but I think the replicant question is going to be answered, which is awful. I love the ambiguity surrounding Deckard, and it’s very important thematically to the film that it remains ambiguous.

    But I am making a prediction right now. And I think you are going to end up bowing before me on this one. I swear I have read no reviews. Are you ready for this one?

    In 2049 ALL BLADE RUNNERS ARE REPLICANTS. In the original BR, Deckard was a prototype. Gosling’s character will be a replicant, and so will all of his colleagues. I don’t think this will even be the main reveal, but it will be in there. Think about how much sense it makes, and I think you will agree that I am on to something.

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    1. Very possible and as I couldn’t care less about the original, I am going in for MY Blade Runner. Decided to probably let American Made go to video. Funds are becoming a serious issue in whether i can go to the theater.

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      1. II don’t know if this is going to be your Blade Runner or not. I hate to say this, but I’m putting my money on not. I am going in blinder than I have for any movie in 20 years, but my sense is that while this will have even more mind-blowing visuals, and a much more epic scope, it’s going to have the same tone and the same general raison d’être. There will be a lot more to the plot, I hope, since this film is 2 hours and 40 minutes, but I think it will ultimately follow the same cold, deliberately-paced, noir-ish mold, with a leisurely investigation occasionally broken up by philosophical musings about human nature. I’m not criticizing the old film, which I love, or the new one, but these are exercises in style, with just enough food for thought to keep the atmosphere and visuals supported. I don’t care what the critics are saying, I think I’ll be proven right.

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      2. You are probably right to let American Made go. I’m not going to films as much either. It’s expensive like you say, and I’ve been burned so many times in recent years that I’m now more cautious about what I spend my hard-earned money on. The days when I “just enjoyed going the movies” are gone. It breaks my heart, buy more and more I’m feeling swindled. The good news is, the really good mainstream films REALLY deserve to be seen on big screens, so when I do go, the experience is incredible. But the smaller movies, and the slightly disappointing ones? I’m willing to wait a little while.

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