The Martian (Blu-Ray)
Ridley Scott's science fiction adaptation, The Martian, has come to blu-ray, bringing the story of courage and human ingenuity into your house with a slew of special features and one gorgeous visual presentation. Come inside to check out our full review!
When The Martian hit theaters in October, I gave it a very rare (especially from me) perfect score on the site. As such, I couldn't wait to get this blu-ray and be able to enjoy this story over and over again as many times as I wanted. Having watched the movie again, I'm happy to say that my original assessment of it hasn't changed. In fact, I may have enjoyed it even more.
Since I covered the reasons why I love it so much pretty extensively in my initial review, I'm not going to belabor the point here, but rather point you in that direction for a more detailed account of how great this movie is. I will mention that the emotional impact of the movie isn't lessened by a subsequent viewing. The central idea about humanity coming together in order to beat all the odds and rescue one man is pretty timeless. It’s a side of the world we all want to believe in, coupled with a situation none of us could ever imagine having to go through. The fact that it’s all wrapped up inside of a science fiction setting is just icing on the cake for a nerd like me.
When I first saw The Martian in theaters, one of it’s best aspects is the sheer amount of tension packed into it. It’s what makes even the tiny victories for the characters so powerful. Thankfully, none of that is lost on the next viewing. It’s not an easy thing to maintain that balance of tension once viewers already know how things happen, but The Martian manages to pull it off, making each viewing just as fun and engaging as the last. When you’re considering picking up a film on blu-ray, this is a crucial factor (at least for me).
Picture and Sound
The Martian was shot digitally using a whole bunch of RED cameras (a beast of a machine that offers up some incredible imagery), and it looks stunning. The panoramic views really sell you on the idea that you’re visiting an alien planet, and the general cinematography brings out some exciting visuals that will keep you ‘oohh’ and ‘ahh’-ing throughout.
Thankfully, all of this is translated incredibly well onto the blu-ray. The fidelity of the cameras makes itself known in the HD transfer, offering up a stellar depth of field and crispness to the image. You can pick out droplets of water in Mark Watney’s greenhouse, that’s how detailed it can be on your screens at home. The blacks are deep and don’t cause any crush on the screen, which is particularly important when it comes to the scenes set in space.
Sound design in The Martian is impressive in its own right, offering up a wide variety of little sounds (from science experiments to massive explosions) each of which add to the overall world being presented. All of this shines through on the blu-ray in both the surround sound and stereo options. While all the sound effects are clear and give great ambience in your living room, the dialog is constantly pushed front and center of the tracks.
The bottomline, from a technical standpoint, is that The Martian blu-ray delivers on all accounts and is one of those films in your collection you could pull out to help show the 'power' of your home entertainment set up.
The Special Features
The Martian comes loaded with these bonuses on the disc:
Signal Acquired: Writing and Direction
Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes
Ares III: Farewell
The Right Stuff
Ares: Our Greatest Adventure
Leave Your Mark
Bring Him Home
Ares III: Refocused
The first few are your standard blu-ray special features that come attached to just about every release. What you see there is pretty basic, but the last several (from Ares III on) are interesting to me because they're quite a bit different. Rather than give a traditional behind the scenes look at the film, these are presented as faux documentaries set WITHIN the world of the film. All of these add to the film itself, giving you extra insights to the crew, the original Mars mission, and the general events surrounding the events of the film.
It's a neat approach to special features that adds to the movie without feeling intrusive or generic. They go beyond your typical bonuses and make a for a fun watch. While I don't see many people taking the time to rewatch these features they are definitely some of my favorite in recent memory, and notable for trying something different.