Back left
Back right

The Martian Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on Jan 12, 2016
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews The Martian, now in stores to take home. It’s the cool story of an astronaut left for dead on Mars. Actor Matt Damon just won a Golden Globe award for his performance.

By: Lynn Barker

In The Martian, Ares III was supposed to be a flight putting a crew of astronauts on Mars to temporarily live, study and report their findings. Who knew that a giant, windy dust storm was going to destroy those hopes? Who knew that one poor astronaut was going to be knocked out and wake up to find that the crew went home….without him?

Did they really think I was dead?Did they really think I was dead?Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Left Behind on Mars

It’s 2035 and the crew of the Ares III manned mission to Mars is on day 18 of a 31 day expedition of discovery and research on the surface when a ginormous, severe dust storm makes them all rush back to their orbiting ship the Hermes. Biologist Mark Watney (Matt Damon) gets hit by debris blowing through the air and, with no life signs reaching the ship from his suit, Mission Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) assumes he’s dead. Her ship is in danger and she has to lift off.

The Hermes vessel on the way to MarsThe Hermes vessel on the way to MarsCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Staying Alive

When the storm passes, Watney wakes up and barely makes it back to the Habitat, set up as living quarters. He has to save his own life by removing a piece of antenna sticking in his tummy. This caused the readings that made his crewmates think he was dead. Watney realizes that they are gone and he will have to wait for another mission to rescue him but that would take four years! He can’t survive that long…or can he?

Stranded astronaut Watney grows potatos to surviveStranded astronaut Watney grows potatos to surviveCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Science for Survival

There is only enough food for about 300 days so Watney builds a potato farm using some smart science. To keep from losing his mind, he records video diaries of his work and starts fixing a rover to make long journeys across the planet. He goes searching for the Pathfinder Probe hoping to use it to communicate with Earth.

Watney is proud of his cropWatney is proud of his cropCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Back on Earth

NASA mission director Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) looks at satellite pix and realizes Watney is alive! They must make contact with him. NASA director Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) decides not to tell the returning crew Watney survived but the flight director Mitch Henderson (Sean Bean) wants to tell them. Simple communication is established with Watney who wants to know what everybody thought when they learned he was alive. Whoops.

Jeff Daniels as NASA chief SandersJeff Daniels as NASA chief SandersCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Bring Him Home

Finally, Henderson has to tell the returning crew that Watney is alive. JPL director Bruce Ng figures out how to send a space probe to Mars to resupply Watney but when the airlock on the Habitat is destroyed, the potato crop is killed and he needs rescue fast! With cooperation from several nations, more plans are made to rescue Watney but it’s realized that Hermes could turn around and pick him up way more quickly. The crew votes to go against orders and go back to get him. Can he live until they arrive? How many more challenges will the marooned astronaut and his crewmates face?

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig as NASA repsChiwetel Ejiofor and Kristen Wiig as NASA repsCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Martian Trailer


Special Extra Features

  • Signal Acquired: Writing and Direction tells us the backstory of turning author Andy Weir’s novel into the film. The actors speak about their roles and director Ridley Scott, writers and producers talk about trying to get the science right while working with NASA. Interesting.

Sean Bean as Mitch HendersonSean Bean as Mitch HendersonCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes – this extra is really more of a behind-the-scenes featurette with lots of actor interviews and on set visuals. Scott and Producers were thrilled that they got their first choices in casting. Nobody turned the film down. Matt Damon wishes he had had more scenes with his crewmate actors. He’s alone most of the film. All the actors talk about their roles –
  • The costume designer speaks of glamming up NASA space suits and even says that NASA told her that they get their spacesuit ideas from films anyway! Several different kinds of suits are examined. Cool for costume buffs.

Watney is determined to surviveWatney is determined to surviveCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Gag Reel – This blooper, goof up extra is funny and charming. Matt Damon “pets” a tiny potato plant and giggles about doing “potato porn”, Michael Pena (an Ares crew member) makes hilarious faces and Jessica Chastain’s space helmet just falls off.  Well worth a chuckle.
  • Ares III: Refocused – is a fake documentary about the failed flight and rescue of astronaut Watney. Like a news special it focuses on the stranding on Mars and all the politics and tough decisions made by the NASA guys and the crew in their decisions on the rescue. This seems very “real”. A good watch.
  • Ares III: Farewell – is an imaginary NASA promotional film in which astronaut Watney interviews and introduces each member of the Ares crew before the flight.
  • The Right Stuff – Another short “promo” film pretending that each crew member spent 10 days in isolation before the mission. A shrink asks them questions about what they experienced. Some of this is quite funny. Well worth a watch.

Watney marks off the daysWatney marks off the daysCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Ares: Our Greatest Adventure – This extra is a hoot since it stars real-life host of “Star Talk” Neil deGrasse Tyson telling viewers about the mission, what will be accomplished and what this means for Mankind in the universe. Very much like he would really do it…we imagine.
  • Leave Your Mark – Very short promo film with Mark Damon as Watney working out and training for the mission.
  • Bring Him Home – Another pretend news report showing how the entire world united to bring Watney home and wish him well. It would be great if the world would really care enough to do this!

The crew of the Hermes checks out the big stormThe crew of the Hermes checks out the big stormCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Wrapping Up

The Martian is funny, exciting, techie-correct and very, very human. It’s full of human invention and ingenuity, brotherhood and wonder. Nerds are heroes. Matt Damon deserves any awards he gets but so do the rest of the actors playing the crew who left him behind, the NASA execs and consultants who argue over how to proceed after they’ve told the world he is dead and those playing scientists trying to figure out if they can bring him home.

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

This home entertainment package is interesting. There is a fun gag/blooper reel but no audio commentary by director Ridley Scott or Mark and that would have been fun. The “pretend it really happened” promo films are really spot on, seem real and contain a lot more cool acting from the cast. All are worth a look. Just as we would the film in theaters, we go 4 stars.

Jessica Chastain as Commander LewisJessica Chastain as Commander LewisCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Martian Blu-ray Rating:4

The Martian Blu-ray CoverThe Martian Blu-ray CoverCourtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

The Martian is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!

Have Your Say

Would you like to be an astronaut and explore new worlds? Are you ready for the danger? Would you be able to survive? Leave a comment below.