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Martian (4K UHD), The

Fox // PG-13 // February 22, 2016 // Region 0
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted March 15, 2016 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:



In the first wave of 4k Ultra HD movies from Fox, the one I was most
excited about was The Martian. Nominated for an impressive
seven Academy Awards and the winner of two Golden Globe Awards (Best
Actor for Matt Damon and in a head-scratching category, Best Motion
Picture - Musical or Comedy) the film is not only very good, but
visually impressive. How would the latest innovation to hit home
theaters, 4k UHD, handle the film? Very well as it turns out. The
film looks and sounds amazing and the 4K transfer is a marked
improvement over the Blu-ray.



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width="400" height="225">




The Ares III is half way through their stay on Mars when disaster
strikes. A sand storm hits that threatens to tip over the MAV (Mars
Ascent Vehicle) that is supposed to get them back into orbit on
Mars. The crew runs from their living quarters to the MAV through
the storm and at one point a piece of debris strikes Mark Watney
(Matt Damon) and sends him flying. His life support signals all go
down and with no way to recover the body in the storm and the
mission at risk, the captain reluctantly gives the order to return
to Earth.



Only Mark isn't dead. A piece of metal damaged his suit and wounded
him, but he is very much alive and finds himself in a rather
difficult position. With no way to contact Earth or the Ares III, he
has to find some way of staying alive until the scheduled Ares IV
mission arrives, some four years hence. There is an oxygen generator
in their quarters, and a water recycling system. But what about
food? The supply that he has will never last four years, and Mars is
a lifeless planet. Oh yeah, and the Ares IV is going to land a
couple of thousand kilometers away. Not one to give up, Watney, who
chronicles his trial through a video log, announces that to survive
he's "gonna have to science the shit out of this." And that he does.



The movie deserves all of the accolades that it has received. Told
with enough science to illustrate that the steps he takes are
(mostly) realistic but without adding so much detail as to bore
viewers, this is one of those very few movies that gets hard science
fiction right. Both on Mars, and on Earth where it is discovered
that Watney is alive and a rescue mission is planned, the steps that
people take are logical and ground in reality, which is nice. It
also makes for a gripping and exciting story.



There's a lot that director Ridley Scott gets right with the film.
If you are hesitant seeing a Scott SF flick after sitting through
the rather uninspiring Prometheus, don't worry. That's not
the case here. Scott manages to make a story where much of the
narrative involve a lone man struggling for survival and make it not
only interesting, but fun and engrossing too. He uses music as a
running gag (the only songs available to Watney are the captain's
disco files... which he hates but still listens to) and adds a lot
of humor too. The script is also littered with little nuggets of
information on a wide range of topics from botany to maritime law.
And it explains how, technically, Watney not only colonizes Mars and
becomes a space pirate.



The film is gorgeous too, and that really comes out in the Ultra HD
disc. The surface of Mars is lonely but beautiful, and the space
scenes are magnificent. Add to that a very intense and well mixed
audio track and you have an outstanding movie.



�The Ultra HD Disc:





This release comes with both a 4K Ultra HD disc and a Blu-ray disc
in a single-width keepcase. Unfortunately, the 3D version is not
included, so you'll have to decide which is more important, 3D or
4K, or you could always buy both. I'm sure the studio wouldn't mind.



Video:



Simply put, this disc looks fantastic. The 2.40:1, 2160p UHD image
is stunning from the first shot to the last. Now, granted, there are
not a lot of titles on this format so I don't have a lot to compare
it to, but I was incredibly impressed with the way this movie
looked. The increase in the level of detail was what really stands
out. I could discern the smallest pieces of dirt in the soil and see
fine cracks in the rocks of Mars. The landscapes were enthralling
too the earthy red colors really making the film come to life. The
space scenes were equally impressive with deep rich blacks filled
with stars that only showed up as specks of light. Skin tones are
natural and realistic too. I did an A-B comparison with the BR disc
and the UHD disc really does look better, especially when comparing
details. I was trying to find some flaw to mention in the transfer,
but I couldn't see anything that bothered me.



Audio:



The movie arrives with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, but oddly
there is not a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X track available. I found that a
bit odd, but the audio that is included is awesome. Like the video,
I wanted to find something wrong with it, but couldn't. From the
sand storm at the beginning that fills the room with sound and
immerses the viewer to the powerful impact of an explosion the movie
makes you happy that you invested in a good set of speakers. The
more quite moments of the film are impressive too, with the dialog
being clean and crisp. The disco music that serves as a soundtrack
to the movie comes through loud and clear and (as someone who lived
through the horror of disco I can't believe I'm saying this) works
well with the film. Overall this is an excellent sounding disc.



Extras:



All of the extras are found on the BR disc, and therefore none of
them are in UHD, which is a shame. They include:



Signal Acquired: Writing and Direction - interviews with the
director and writer on how the book became a movie.



Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes - how the cast was chosen
and the costumes designed



Gag Reel - it has its moments and is worth watching



The following are "fake" documentaries and pieces that take place in
the world of the movie.



��� Ares III: Refocused - a 17-minute news
show "documentary" on how astronaut Mark Watney became trapped on
Mars.



��� Ares III: Farewell - Watney introduces the
crew of the Ares III



��� The Right Stuff - psychiatric evaluations
of the crew.



��� Ares: Our Greatest Adventure - Neil de
Grasse Tyson talks about the Ares mission.



��� Leave Your Mark - an Under Armour
commercial featuring Mark Watney.



��� Bring Him Home - a look at how everyone
around the world came together to rescue the stranded astronaut.



There is also a theatrical trailer and a Production Art Gallery.



All in all I enjoyed the fake news items... at first. There were a
few to many and the novelty quickly wore off. I wish they had
included a commentary track or a more in-depth behind-the-scenes
featurette.



�Final Thoughts:



This is an excellent film that looks and sounds amazing on this
Ultra HD disc. Matt Damon does a fantastic job as a man stranded on
a planet all by himself, and director Ridley Scott makes the movie
fun, interesting and very engrossing. Highly
Recommended.
Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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