The Martian Is 'Out of This World'
Matt Damon charms critics as an astronaut in peril
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2015 1:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Matt Damon plays a botanist-astronaut stuck on Mars while NASA debates whether to risk six lives in an attempt to save one in The Martian. It seems to be a winner, with a 93% favorable rating from both fans and critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying:

  • Peter Howell says the film is "out of this world." Not only does Matt Damon deliver a performance worthy of Oscar attention, but he does so in "one of the year's best movies and widescreen 3D experiences, a crackerjack adventure that celebrates human ingenuity over mechanical contrivance," Howell writes at the Toronto Star. He adds the flick is "'real-fi' rather than 'sci-fi,' because it's so down-to-Earth in its realism."
  • The film is "a hopeful love letter to science and math, American resolve, the power of friendship, and the dream of a world in which nations set aside their differences to unite to bring one man home," writes Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun-Times. The entire cast is strong, but "Damon strikes just the right notes of comedy, nerdy tech talk, moments of despair, and triumph," he writes. "The movie lives and breathes on his performance, and he comes through in every scene."

  • If director Ridley Scott was aiming for a good time, "mission accomplished," writes Adam Graham at the Detroit News. But at almost 2.5 hours, the film is too long. "There's one big action set piece too many, one more disco joke than was needed. It's not a deal breaker, but it does dull its impact." Keep an ear out for ABBA's "Waterloo," which might be "Scott's sly wink to his rumored knowledge of the presence of water on Mars far ahead of this week's surprise announcement."
  • Yes, it's long, but The Martian "feels as bouncy and light as a beach ball," writes Dana Stevens at Slate. "In a way, it's Saving Private Ryan without the World War II setting," she writes. "It's a wry tribute to the qualities that got our species into space in the first place: our resourcefulness, our curiosity, and our outsized, ridiculous, beautiful brains." She adds Dariusz Wolski's 3D cinematography is "dazzling."