The time that the genre “science fiction” consisted of space epics has clearly been closed a while ago. More ‘serious stories’ have been worked out for a while more trying to bend the genre to ‘science fact’, a story that seems probable with things that can happen nowadays or in the near future.
The beginning of the film reminds quite a bit of “Mission To Mars” from 2010 and therewith perhaps one of the first films in this ‘new style scifi’. There are also things incommon with “Gravity” (2013).
During a mission to Mars, the grew is caught in a storm. One crew member is hit by flying debris and assumed dead. The rest of the crew is just in time to early start their way back to earth. The presumed dead member is Mark Watney played by Matt Damon. He survived the storm only to be woken up by his space suit warning him the oxygen level is getting low. He manages to get back to camp.
There are a few strange flaws in the story. The first weird thing is that NASA somehow thought to set up camps for future missions and in these camps everything is available except a way to contact earth. So Watney is alive with the food supplied of his departed fellow crew members, but without a way of letting NASA know this. What follows is an elaborate attempt to survive until the next mission is to come to Mars four years ahead.
The inventive Watney first manages to grow potatoes and then even finds a way to contact NASA. This encourages NASA to start a rescue mission. Of course not everything goes as planned to some extra drama and tension could be added to the film. The result is a fair scifi drama with a few interesting scenarios and a couple of (very) illogical elements.
The 8.1 on IMDb is a bit too much praise for me, on a scale of 10 I would come to a 7.0.
Nicholas Cage is an actor that can pull me over the line for seeing a film. “Mathstick Men” has a not too original story. Cage is a swindler whose life changes when his fourteen year old daughter comes into his life and he teaches her his profession. Quite similar to “Leon” for example. The story develops and ends not too surprisingly. Nicholas Cage is the perfect actor for a neurotic criminal with many tics, fear of dirt and open spaces. Cage really carries the film and makes it into a nice comedy in the vein of for example Coen-films. For some reason the videoshop had this film under “thriller”. <30/8/04><3>
I remember when this film came out. I did want to see it, since I can enjoy spectacular films once in a while, especially when they play in days gone by. Soon the hype and fuss came around it and everyone was talking about “Gladiator” and my desire to see it faded by the day. So I didn’t go and see it in the cinema and I didn’t rent it when it came on video and I figured that I may watch it by the time it is on tv.
But, a friend bought the DVD and told me that I should see it and last week he put the thing into my hands. Well alright then. As you probably know the film is about a Roman general Maximus (Russell Crowe) who is to take over the reign of Rome when the Ceasar would die. Ceasar’s son (who is passed in this decision) has other plans though, kills his father before he could make his decision public and takes over authority with big plans for changes. Maximus is supposed to be killed, but of course he wins the fight with his assassins and drives back to his home where he finds his house burned and his wife and son crucified. Then he is found by a slave-convoy and becomes a gladiator. Being remarkably good he wins all his fights and the love of the audience. Commodus (the new Ceasar) tries to get ridd off Maximus afterall, but of course fails. Eventually both get to fight eachother and both die.
Other things you probably know. The film lasts for three hours, which I found fairly long. The shooting, decors, scens, etc. are spectacular, the music bombastic and the story has everything that a ‘modern film lover’ (who likes popular films) wants: action and romance. Not a happy end though.
Good for entertainment. <3>