AND DE PALMA'S "VISUAL POETRY" IN 'MISSION TO MARS'
Writing for National Review, Armond White reviews Ridley Scott's The Martian:
"Scott’s extravagant, hackneyed approach to genre overtakes The Martian’s drawn-out narrative. As Watney struggles, his crewmates atone, NASA watches, China lends a hand, and a diverse gathering of Earth-bound well-wishers wish each other well, the pile-up of clichés reminded me that all this has been seen and done before: Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, James Franciscus, Richard Crenna, and Lee Grant were more relatable at it in John Sturges’s conventional but effective Marooned. James Caan’s stranded yet ecstatic astronaut in Robert Altman’s Countdown was the purest expression of space-age aspiration. The distress metaphor was singlehandedly accomplished by Sandra Bullock in Gravity and Robert Redford in All Is Lost. Watney’s crew captain Jessica Chastain just endured a similar predicament in Interstellar. Best of all, Brian DePalma turned the dilemma into visual poetry with Mission to Mars (2000). It owed little to Kubrick’s 2001; instead it boasted DePalma’s exquisite languor, tension, and humor. Mission to Mars leapt beyond death to spiritual evolution in vibrant sci-fi hues. The ultimate disappointment of The Martian is Scott’s lackluster post-Alien style. He can’t disguise his detachment. Without highly aesthetic imagery, Scott’s just a low-NRG J. J. Abrams."