The Martian appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image consistently looked strong.
I noticed no obvious issues with sharpness. From start to finish, the movie offered nice clarity and definition.
Some video screens showed a smidgen of shimmering, but those were minor, and I saw no jaggies or edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation.
I thought Martian went with a standard teal and orange palette, but at least the orange made sense, given the Martian setting. The hues displayed appropriate clarity and vivacity.
Blacks seemed dense and dark, while low-light shots boasted nice smoothness and delineation. This ended up as an impressive transfer.
Not to be outdone, the film’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack fared very well. When the movie stayed with general atmosphere, it felt convincing and immersive, and the chances for greater life blossomed in a satisfying manner. From the sandstorm that injured Watney to various space elements to other threatening aspects of Martian life, the soundfield used all the channels in an engaging, engrossing manner.
Audio quality succeeded. Speech remained distinctive and concise, without edginess or other issues.
Music showed nice range and warmth, while effects appeared dynamic and full. We got good low-end response and nary a hint of distortion. I thought the audio added a lot to the experience.
The picture comments above reflect the 2D version – how did the 3D edition compare?
In terms of quality, the visuals remained similar. The 3D looked a smidgen darker as softer, but overall, the two appeared a lot alike.
Shot on native cameras, I hoped Martian would offer a stellar 3D affair – and it occasionally did, as a few scenes boasted great imaging. The storm early in the film and various shots in space used the stereo presence well, and landscapes boasted a nice sense of depth.
However, a lot of Martian offered interiors with characters who sat at computers or jawboned, and these scenes limited the level of visual interaction. The 3D Martian became the more pleasing way to watch the movie, but I admit it lacked the consistent “wow” effect I anticipated.
A collection of video clips fill out the disc, and the first two look at the production itself. We find Signal Acquired: Writing and Directing (9:36) and Occupy Mars: Casting and Costumes (14:13).
Across these, we hear from director Ridley Scott, author Andy Weir, producers Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood, executive producer Mark Huffam, NASA Planetary Science Division director James L. Green, costume designer Janty Yates, stunt performer Will Willougby, and actors Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ojiofor, Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hennie.
As indicated by their titles, the featurettes examine the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, what Scott brought to the film, cast, performances, and costumes. The cast parts seem the least interesting of the bunch, but the rest of the moments work well. I especially like Weir’s discussion of his goals for the novel; I’m still not wild about the story’s perky tone, at least I better understand his rationale.
A Gag Reel lasts seven minutes, 33 seconds. It shows the usual assortment of mistakes and silliness. Nothing especially interesting emerges.
Ares III: Refocused goes for 17 minutes, 18 seconds and provides an epilogue of sorts. Set seven years after the movie’s events, it includes Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels), Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ojiofor) and Mitch Henderson (Sean Bean) as they participate in a TV documentary about NASA events unknown to the public. It’s interesting to see as a curiosity, though it doesn’t tell us a lot we don’t already learn in the film.
The next few features offer “theatrical in-world pieces” with the movie’s fictional characters. We find Ares III: Farewell (3:35), The Right Stuff (3:20), Ares: Our Greatest Adventure (3:39), Leave Your Mark (1:03) and Bring Him Home (1:34).
These provide promotional pieces in which we see some aspects of the movie’s characters/situations. They feel a little like deleted scenes; none of them provide substantial information, but they’re enjoyable. They actually add a little depth to some of the topics, so they might be worth a look before you watch the movie.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate a Production Art Gallery. It breaks into “Earth” (8 images), “Hermes” (74) and “Mars” (124). These add up to an interesting collection of materials.
At its heart, The Martian offers a lively tale of survival amidst difficult odds. I wish the film provided more meaning and depth, but I still think it gives us an entertaining adventure. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a decent batch of bonus materials. The Martian becomes a fun flick that gets a boost from a fairly vivid 3D presentation.
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