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October 2nd, 2015

Movie Review - The Martian

The Martian

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mackenzie Davis, Donald Glover, and more.

Directed by: Ridley Scott Screenplay by: Drew Goddard Based on the Novel by: Andy Weir Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolski Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams

Premise: When the Ares III Mission on Mars is aborted due to a massive storm, Mark Watney is left for dead after being hit and swept away by a large antenna. Alone and stranded on the red planet, Mark tries to find ways to survive on what little he has left, knowing help is at least four years away. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Matt Damon does an awesome job as the stranded, humorous and somewhat egotistical, Mark Watney. Strong performances from Jeff Daniels and Jessica Chastain. I also loved the little subtle bits of acting by Kate Mara. Donald Glover was a lovely treat as Rich Purnell.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: From the burning wood chips to the amazing landscape of Mars, the special effects department did a fantastic job. The more we saw of the planet, the more awesome the work got. Make sure to pay attention to the skies too! Lots of little touches to proclaim we are not on Earth.

They also got to have some fun with disasters - from minor to large! And the first storm was just too darn cool! So much to love from the special effects teams! If you don't wince or cringe as Mark fixes himself after coming conscious on Mars... alone... you're not human. Heh heh.

And wait until you see the super cool dust devils and other neat weather phenomena. The views from space are awesome.

Not as visually stunning as Prometheus, but with a much better plot, so the tradeoff is so worth it. :P And the 3D adds a lot to the film.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I've not read the novel the movie is based on yet, though my Mom and Richard totally adored it. Looking forward to that!

Movie wise, most of the plot is pretty straight forward and the ending no surprise. While much of the film is just Matt Damon alone, his little quips and jokes make watching him a lot of fun. The science is pretty solid, too, and they explain things so even laymen can understand but done in such a way they're not talking down to the audience. There's also enough politics and maneuverings back on Earth to add some nice tension.

The most fun though is seeing how inventive Mark and those back on Earth get in trying to solve all the different problems they keep running into. Some true ingenuity happens here.

Also impressive (and disturbing) were the visual hints of the effects on Mark's body from having to rough it on rationed food and his having to wear a spacesuit for weeks/months on end.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Several lovely stunts, mostly at Mark's expense. Some real nice smooth maneuvering by Kate Mata on the Hermes. She made moving around in zero G seem like a ballet.

5) Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: This film is definitely worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D. The awesome cinematography of Earth, space, and Mars is so totally worth it. Beautiful sweeping views of Mars from any number of angles. Some agle play was done as well with the closer views of the characters - wall mounted cams or those in the suits and vehicles made for some interesting perspectives, but not done so much or so long it becomes bothersome rather than neat.

Conclusion: "The Martian" is a gorgeous film with solid science and a ton of ingenuity. Definitely worth seeing in 3D.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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