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Blu-ray Review The Martian Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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The Martian Blu-ray Review

Ridley Scott has directed some of the most innovative and involving science fiction films in the history of cinema (Alien, Blade Runner, Prometheus), and The Martian not only adds luster to his resume but may actually rise to the very top of it. Thrilling, surprising, and even wonderfully amusing on occasion and meticulously put together to make for quite a visual feast, The Martian remains one of 2015’s best films.



Studio: Fox

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 2 Hr. 21 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, Digital Copy, UltraViolet

keep case in a slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 01/12/2016

MSRP: $39.99




The Production Rating: 4.5/5

When a violent surface storm on Mars carries away one of the Ares III crew members and makes it necessary to cut short the mission and leave the planet, Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain) and four other crew members regretfully must leave the Red Planet without being able to bring back the body of presumed dead Mark Watney (Matt Damon) for burial. Only Mark isn’t dead, and when he awakens and realizes he’s on his own until those back on Earth can realize he’s alive, he sets out to jerry rig everything that was left behind in order to keep himself alive and healthy hoping a rescue mission of some kind can be launched for him. Back at home, however, there are differing opinions about what must be done once Mark’s status is revealed. NASA director Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels) always walks a fine line not wanting to jeopardize any future funding by admitting mistakes were made while aeronautics expert Mitch Henderson (Sean Bean) wants to move heaven and Earth to get Mark back no matter the cost or embarrassment to the agency. Associate director Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) plays the go-between for these two very different and highly volatile personalities.

 

Based on the novel by Andy Weir, Drew Goddard’s intricate screenplay walks a fine line between activities on Mars with Mark, in space with the crew of the Ares III mission as they head home, and those back on Earth trying mightily to come up with a viable plan to either rescue Mark or get supplies to him so he can survive his ordeal with minimal discomfort. The trouble, of course, is that the universe doesn’t want to cooperate. For every solution that’s found, another problem caused sometimes by freak occurrences and other times by natural conditions simply throw a wrench in any workable solutions making new plans mandatory and keeping viewer interest heightened. For the first hour of the film, Matt Damon pretty much has himself a one-man show as the audience is drawn increasingly into his corner as his ingeniousness in the face of overwhelming odds and seemingly impossible situations comes to the fore and draws him instantly into our hearts. He’s aided in no small way through Ridley Scott’s incisive direction preventing visual monotony from setting in by allowing us to view Mark through a variety of camera devices (helmet cam, video monitors, computer cameras, dashboard monitors) along with, of course, conventional photography. And the scenes with the crew on board the Hermes are also beautifully photographed in their weightless stages sailing and gliding through corridors of their expansive ship. Though we know Mars is a CGI world as created for the film, it certainly has the look and feel of the real place with the vistas of red dust and rocky formations that seem real enough to touch. Though original author Andy Weir prides himself on the fact-based nature of the science contained in his story, the final rescue attempt does seem to employ more than a bit of dramatic license; it makes for a rousing final mission unquestionably, and the world-joined interest in his rescue is but one of the film’s most accommodating attributes.

 

Matt Damon makes a perfect everyman for the film, his appealing, occasionally nerdy botanist instantly likable and accessible as he comments on his fellow crewmates’ taste in music and entertainment and keeps himself occupied and entertained as best he can. Humorless Jeff Daniels in his on-going battles with Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and media specialist Kristen Wiig probably has the next biggest role in the film with his adversaries giving equally worthy performances opposite him. Jessica Chastain is solid as a rock as the mission captain while crew members Michael Peña, Sebastian Stan, Kate Mara, and Aksel Hennie all show grace under pressure without ever letting the proceedings get too serious. In smaller roles, Benedict Wong and Donald Glover as engineers tasked with finding solutions offer excellent portrayals in explaining the science without bogging the film down in too much technical jargon (Glover’s show-and-tell explanation of his solution is one of the most delightful sequences in the film’s second half).



Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

The film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 is faithfully presented in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Sharpness is never a problem even with the many CG-generated backgrounds present in the film, and color is consistently solid and wonderfully realistic in terms of skin tones. Contrast has been nicely maintained at constant levels while black levels can be very rich and impressively deep. The movie has been divided into 32 chapters.

 

Reviewer’s Note: Though only the 2D release was sent for review and hence I offer no home video rating for 3D, I was privileged to see the film in 3D in the Fox screening room during the HTF Meet in October, and it’s a very involving use of the process. Depth throughout was beautifully extended in 3D, and the vastness of those Martian landscapes really seemed vividly real in 3D. The rescue sequence that finds Mark in his space capsule with floating debris all around him also made for an impressive use of 3D in the theater.



Audio Rating: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix delivers on all counts: aggressive when it needs to be with split atmospheric effects during storms and explosions and blastoffs and quieter but no less appealing during less intense sequences. Harry Gregson-Williams’ background score and a succession of disco hits get a wonderful spread through the front and rear channels. Dialogue has been expertly recorded and comes clearly and distinctly through the center channel.



Special Features Rating: 4/5

Signal Acquired: Writing and Direction (9:36, HD): producers Aditya Sood and Mark Huffam, director Ridley Scott, original novelist Andy Weir, and actors Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Chiwetel Ejiofor discuss how their interest in the project came about.

 

Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes (14:13, HD): in addition to producers Aditya Sood and Simon Kinberg and director Ridley Scott, actors Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, and Kristen Wiig all talk about their characters. Costume designer Janty Yates then talks about her consultations with NASA about the space gear and how it was adapted for filming purposes.

 

Gag Reel (7:33, HD)

 

Ares III: Refocused (17:18, HD): a fictional news exposé taking place some seven years after the events shown in the film in which actors Sean Bean, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in character give interviews about their own actions during the crisis and the benefits that hindsight have given them over their decisions.

 

In World Vignettes (HD): five in-character short pieces featuring the characters in additional scenes that could have been (but never were) a part of the movie.

 

· Ares III: Farewell (3:35): Mark Watney gives a tour of the spacecraft to a TV audience before the launch.
· The Right Stuff (3:20): the crew gives brief soundbites after they return home.
· Ares: Our Greatest Adventure (3:39): Neil Degrasse Tyson introduces his TV audience to the plans for the Ares mission before the launch.
· Leave Your Mark (1:03): a recruitment promo for astronaut training.
· Bring Him Home (1:34): a news piece on the rescue mission which is uniting the world.

 

Production Gallery: ninety-seven art images picturing scenes on Earth, on Mars, and in the Hermes.

 

Theatrical Trailer (2:55, HD)

 

Digital Copy/Ultraviolet: code sheet enclosed in the case.



Overall Rating: 4.5/5

A marvelously entertaining science fiction adventure offering us a new slant on Robinson Crusoe on Mars, The Martian makes a lively viewing experience enhanced by the deliriously beautiful picture and sound qualities of this Blu-ray release. Highly recommended!


Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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trajan

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Overrated film and I am a huge fan of Ridley Scott. Visually, it did not even look like a Ridley Scott film. Very average sci-fic picture. No sense of danger in this film. The smug humor got tiring after a while. Just OK.
 

Billy Batson

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Not quite as good as the book, but I enjoyed it. No rush to get it, once it hits around £10 I'll buy it. When you think of what you get for your money, Blu-ray are really quite cheap.
 

trajan

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Prometheus is not anywhere near the league of ALIEN or BLADE RUNNER. It was just a silly film.
 

Adam Gregorich

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We saw this in 3D at Fox and I was surprised at how effective it was, so I am probably going to try to pick up the 3D version. I liked the film a lot more than I thought I was. It had a great supporting cast as well.
 

Ronald Epstein

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Shame Fox did not send a 3D copy for you to review. I know how difficult it has been to get 3D copies from the studio despite the fact we get copies from other studios.


Will have a 3D copy today, that I purchased from Amazon. I hope to add some thoughts this week.


It did look good in 3D when I saw it at Fox this past year.
 

Johnny Angell

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I enjoyed the book (from audible) very much. There was a lot of humor in it. I thought the movie did an excellent job of adapting the book to the screen, even though some portions of the book had to be omitted.


An excellent production, very enjoyable, and I'll be getting the 3D blu from Amazon on Wednesday. This is a rare opening week purchase for me so I'm giving the movie the highest praise I can, I'm buying it.


According to the extras listed, no commentary which is disappointing. Scott does great commentaries.
 

John Maher_289910

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I never saw this film. For one, I hate most movies that take place in outer space. It's my least-favorite setting for a film; and, second, the trailer kept reminding me of MISSION TO MARS (a film I actually do like), so I felt like I already saw a movie with this plot line. Although, the 3D geek in me feels compelled to purchase a film done in native 3D
 

Reed Grele

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John Maher_289910 said:
I never saw this film. For one, I hate most movies that take place in outer space. It's my least-favorite setting for a film; and, second, the trailer kept reminding me of MISSION TO MARS (a film I actually do like), so I felt like I already saw a movie with this plot line. Although, the 3D geek in me feels compelled to purchase a film done in native 3D

I knew when I read the book that if the film was only 50% as good, it would be a winner. It is very faithful to the book, and no romantic sub plots, or villains were added to "enhance" (ruin) it. If you enjoy a good suspenseful survival story, which happens to be set on the planet Mars, is (90%+) scientifically accurate, and filmed in real 3D, this is it.
 

JoHud

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This film answers the question: "What if a snarky Youtube/Twitch commentator was stuck on Mars?"


I agree that this one was very difficult to take seriously. The science was sometimes passable (logic, another story), but the constant attempts at humor and utter predictability made this seem more like a parody of a movie about a man stranded on Mars. Real lightweight stuff.
 

Sean Bryan

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I loved this movie. Definitely one of the years best for me.

But I'll be waiting for the UHD Blu-ray in March.
 

JoHud

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I am hoping to read the book soon despite my lukewarm reaction to the movie. Seems like it's up my alley.
 

Johnny Angell

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I just watched it in 3D. Excellent 3D, good depth, but little popout. I have noticed the one thing that hollywood is wiling to pop out in 3D is air borne debris. That is the thing I most often see with forward projection.


I might have enjoyed the movie more the second time.
 

Johnny Angell

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Some observations about the move:

-The credits, at least the title credit, reminds me of the title credit for Alien. Even the music at that moment seems to have a similar tone.

-When we see Watney shouting "What the Fuck!" we see him from outside thru a window and don't hear him. I had subtitles on and in every other similar occurrence the subtitles don't explicitly indicate what the character is saying. The subtitles might say "inaudible" or something like that. In this movie, the subtitles explicitly show what Watney is saying.

-I'd read the book but forgot why the bubble on the roof was needed for the rover. Does anyone remember?

-During the closing credits we see Michael Pena's character on the Aries 5 mission. Isn't it unlikely he'd have the assignment? Not because of the mutiny, but because he's spent a lot of time in space already and they like to spread the opportunities around. Maybe he's the veteran they want on the mission while everyone else is on their first.

-During Kapoor's news conference for Aires 5 he mentions bringing the astronauts back at the same time, giving the impression that the previous mission was Aries 3. What happened to Aries 4?

-Isn't it great the David Bowie's Starman was prominent in the film?


I think the film is an excellent adaptation of the book, but I can't help thinking this would have made a great mini-series. Watney had to overcome so much more than the movie can show. His trip to the Aries 4 landing sight was much more difficult.


OK, scratch my Kapoor news conference question, typing the previous paragraph made me realize that Aries 4 had to be canceled because Watney used that missions ascent vehicle. They went from 3 to 5.
 

Chuck King

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Aries 4 had to be scrapped because Watney used 4's MAV to leave Mars.


-During Kapoor's news conference for Aires 5 he mentions bringing the astronauts back at the same time, giving the impression that the previous mission was Aries 3. What happened to Aries 4?
 

Johnny Angell

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Reed Grele said:
"I need to modify the rover to carry the Atmospheric Regulator, Oxygenator, and Water Reclaimer."

That's what the movie didn't have time for, much of the detail. Read the book and Watney had a much harder time and is even smarter than he is in the movie. His final rover journey from the herb to Aries 4 is fraught with peril not portrayed in the movie. Not really knocking the movie, there's only so much time.
 

Billy Batson

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Johnny Angell said:
That's what the movie didn't have time for, much of the detail. Read the book and Watney had a much harder time and is even smarter than he is in the movie. His final rover journey from the herb to Aries 4 is fraught with peril not portrayed in the movie. Not really knocking the movie, there's only so much time.

Yes, that's what disappointed me a bit about the film. The journey to Aries 4 is quite epic in the book, but it's really nothing much in the film, & over in no time at all. I still enjoyed the film.
 

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