The Martian: A brilliant captivating film

Movie Review: The Martian, a captivating and brilliant film

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

When an American mission to Mars is about to take off and return to Earth, a Martian storm separates one of the astronauts, and the crew believes he has been killed. They leave the planet to return to Earth, but Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) isn’t dead, as you know and the new movie “The Martian” and Director Ridley Scott take audiences through a brilliant and captivating story about survival.

The film is captivating from start to finish. You kind of know the initial story line from the heavy movie promotion on television and in previous theater previews, but the ending has audiences rising to their feet at its 2 hour and 21 minute end.

Yes, it’s that long, so expect to be in the movie theater more than three hours, because if you arrive at the theater too late, you might not get a seat.

It’s well worth it. The Martian promises to be one of this year’s blockbuster films and it may be under-estimated by movie houses because SciFi doesn’t always do well.

There’s more than enough blood and guts and tragedy.

The Martian Movie

The Martian Movie

Astronaut Watney is declared dead on Earth as the crew begins its long voyage back to Earth. Jeff Daniels is the Nasa Chief and lead a strong cast including Jessica Chasten as the voyage captain, Kristen Wiig s the skeptical PR consultant for NASA, Michael Pena who always does a phenomenal performance in whatever role he plays, and Sean Bean as the NASA conscience that just can’t let the agency abandon the astronaut once his situation is known.

Here’s the movie’s complete rundown on IMDb.

The drama plays around whether to accept that the marooned astronaut will die before anyone can get to him and pretend to care, or to actually send a mission to get him, a dangerous option that sees America and China come together to help.

The Martian Movie Poster

The Martian Movie Poster

Maybe that’s why some political review sites are trashing the film. The fact that China and America work together to save an American astronaut is difficult for them to accept.

You will definitely love this film, if you love good movies. Politics? Maybe not so much.

The packed, SRO audience in Orland Park where I saw the movie on its premier night gave to a rousing standing ovation at its end. And that’s a great sign.

Additionally, the film has a great music soundtrack and a lot of commentary about some of the songs, which are from he disco era.

You will enjoy this film. It’s less about Science Fiction and more about the drama of dealing with the problems human beings face. And by the way, when are we going to revive that JFK spirit and begin a mission beyond the Moon, and go to Mars?

Does anyone in America have that pioneering spirit any more? Maybe the real purpose of the film is to wake this country up!

Here’s the movie trailer.

Ray Hanania

Blogger, Columnist at Illinois News Network Online
Ray Hanania is senior blogger for the Illinois News Network news site. He is an award winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist who covered the beat from 1976 through 1992 (From Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley). And, Hanania is a stubborn and loud critic of the biased mainstream American news media.

Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. He currently is syndicated through Creators Syndicate. He has written for the Jerusalem Post,, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star of Lebanon, the News of the World in London, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, The Saudi Gazette, the Arab News in Jeddah, and Aramco Magazine.

Hanania's Chicagoland columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald, the Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News and the Palos Reporter newspapers.

He is President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

His personal website is Email him at: [email protected]