The Martian takes places during a mission to Mars when American astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) is presumed dead and left behind. But Watney is still alive. Against all odds, he must find a way to contact Earth in the hope that scientists can devise a rescue plan to bring him home. Based on the novel by Andy Weir. (Gary Reber)
Special features include eight featurettes: Signal Acquired: Writing And Direction (HD 09:36), Occupy Mars: Casting And Costumes (HD 14:13), Ares III: Refocused (HD 17:18), Ares III: Farewell (HD 03:35), The Right Stuff (HD 03:20), Ares: Our Greatest Adventure (HD 03:39), Leave Your Mark (HD 01:03), and Bring Him Home (HD 01:34); a gag reel (HD 07:33); a theatrical trailer; a production art gallery; and an UltraViolet digital copy.
The 2.40:1 1080p MVC 3D picture was photographed digitally with a variety of cameras in native 3D by 3ality with Gareth Daley serving as Stereographer, with 3D conversion by Stereo-D. The 3D imagery is panoramic in its depiction of the Martian landscape. The depth and sense of perspective, as well as the vastness of the landscape against the space camp setting, is fantastic! Precise dimensional detail is evident in the fine, red sand particles on the surface and as they float through the air in storm segments. The impressive dimensional character of the imagery enhances the sense of realism and believability. The color palette is stylized dramatically, with strong contrast between Mars’ orange-yellow hues and the blue shadings and slate grays of the Ares III. Fleshtones, however, are consistently natural in hue. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks particularly effective in the outer space segments, and satisfying shadow delineation. Resolution also is terrific and revealing throughout in facial features, hair, space outfits, and objects and textures. This is especially the case for close-ups. CGI elements are seamlessly integrated into the natural imagery. The use of a video journal in place of narrative elements stylistically entails data overlays. But the most impressive element is the 3D capture, which offers incredible depth even in the darkest sequences, such as the life-threatening storm that opens the storytelling. Distance relationship and perspectives are perfectly natural. This is a magnificent 3D visual experience that the 2D presentation cannot match. Reference quality throughout, this is a superb 3D experience that will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is quite dynamic at times, especially during the intense storm sequence, where panned sound effects whirl around and through the soundfield with aggressive frontal and surround directionality. The ambiance sounds within the space camp are both nuanced and heightened with directionality, as well as the sounds of wind on the barren planet. During the extended rescue sequence everything from rocket engines blasting to emissions of compressed air are dynamic sounding and aggressively surround directionalized. The added two surround channels immensely enhance the dimension of the holosonic® soundtrack. Dynamic range is impressive throughout, from cataclysmic explosions to the extreme subtleties that define Watney's experience on the Martian plains. Harry Gregson-Williams' orchestral score is nicely spread wide and deep with an aggressive presence in the surrounds. Deep, sub-25 Hz bass in the .1 LFE both supports the intense sound effects and provides a natural foundation to the music. Dialogue and Watney's video journal entries are nicely presented, with the dialogue characterized with effective spatial integration. This is a very compelling holosonic soundtrack that is crafted expertly with reference-quality excellence. (Gary Reber)