Home Alone On Mars
Predictable as heck, but Ridley Scott!
This Martian is Home Alone and does not once scream like Macauley Culkin. He's chirpy and sweet and amazing. But so are the people who left him alone, and the people who put them all there are amazing and the audience is amazing because Ridley Scott is amazing...
They say Home Alone is the highest grossing comedy. And because it is Ridley Scott making the movie, it's gotta have a larger canvas and not some small white-picket fenced suburb. And it will be drama, not some cheap comedy where baddies slip on ice. Therefore, Man Alone On Mars.
The director gets down to business right away and the 3D storm wows us. Mars is baaaad news. Hero is dead. What? Mebbe the whole movie is a flashback. But that's how Home Alone begins a well, no?
They say, 'In space, no one can hear you scream.' Mebbe that's why he doesn't. And then there is that darned helmet which comes in the way of the scream and the audience...
As in all generic space movies, there will be one guy on the top who will say no, which gives the amazing team that rebels behind the scenes to find a solution because they have all read the commando/war comics you and I read while growing up where the gruff sergeant is the one who risks everything to 'get the last man out'. In this case it is the token African American/Indian guy (in this case, it is one person, not two).
Like Aliens/Predator movies, there's no Charles Bishop Wayland but NASA who is happy to announce a death and a funeral. They have to eat crow in front of a noisy bunch of generic TV camera crews. Which means three generic cities: London, Beijing and America has people parking themselves in front of giant screens anxious for news of man home alone in Mars. Hush! It will take months to put together some sort of mission to rescue him, send him food, but people are waiting in front of gigantic TVs around the world.
Meanwhile like Wall-E our marooned Martian learns to nurture a plant... He needs to grow food. As his potatoes grow, I begin to wonder why a botanist has been sent with the mission in the first place. Shouldn't NASA know that there is no plant life on Mars? Was the marooned Martian's mission to try and grow stuff there? If it was, then should he have not had equipment to help farm? You know, earthworms and fertilizers and seeds... Mebbe the earthworms could have taken to the red soil and grown into giant beings and turned the planet into a Planet Of The Giant Earthworms...
Obviously, he is successful in growing food, because he's an amazing American, right? Then more amazing things happen. The Chinese want in on this adjective, so they decide to help. The boomerang theory that reminds you of Star Trek is used. And the amazing scientists at the jet propulsion lab and at NASA are happy to make cute yet amazing references to Lord Of The Rings...
And I'm wondering why our marooned Martian hasn't fallen in love with the Operating System and named it Samantha yet. Joaquim Phoenix did in Her, remember? That's the least he could do. But no! This guy is so amazing, he doesn't even go through the madness that Tom Hanks goes through because he's fed up of speaking with a Volleyball. Yes, he does talk about dying alone and please tell my mom and dad, but there's no craziness like The Shining. And dammit, Castaway and The Shining are set on a planet which is inhabited. This man on Mars is so amazing he carries out a mission using so much amazing science that women all over the world vow to have babies who become scientists.
The rescue team is amazing too and the screenwriters make them so by infusing so much humor that we forget and forgive everything and begin to hope that they will 'get their boy'. But there's some dodgy math involved which turns into some fine Yash Raj moments in space (hint: DDLJ train scene)
Did I like the movie? I guess no one can dislike a rescue film which has a canvas that is so stupendous and the humor in loneliness brilliantly done. My attention wandered in many places because of the predictability.
It would been superlative had George Clooney showed up in space sitting in a chair towards the end, having survived by boomeranging in and out of wormholes (and that would have somehow kept him single and still gorgeous IRL), eating stardust!
P.S. The math about food supply and days the man spends on the planet were just wrong for me. Someone please share gyan after you see the movie!