Ridley Scott’s dazzling cinematic triumph with Matt Damon at his best!
Thanks to 20th Century Fox, we had the chance to see The Martian before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
It’s been a year since Ridley Scott’s last feature-length release: the disappointing Exodus: Gods and Kings. The lauded director of Alien and Bladerunner is back with what he arguably does best: a blockbuster sci-fi. And Scott fans may breathe a sigh of relief, because this is a remarkable film and one that is certain to attract accolades and acclaim.
Based on Andy Weir’s original novel, The Martian incorporates science, philosophy, and stellar special effects. In the central role, as astronaut and botanist, Mark Watney, Matt Damon is a likeable, authentic everyman. When his NASA-launched mission to Mars with the crew of the Ares 3 goes awry during a ferocious storm, Mark is presumed dead and finds himself left behind on the red planet, with only his problem-solving skills and limited resources to aid in his survival.
Scott has assembled a strong cast, including Jeff Daniels as the director of NASA, Kristen Wiig as media chief, Chiwetel Ejiofor as the head of Mars missions, and Jessica Chastain, as the commander of the Ares crew. Scott masterfully builds tension throughout this slow-burning, suspenseful piece. Although there are a number of scenes shot from the perspective of the surviving Ares crew, as well as the expected story arc concerning the mission control centre back on Earth, the film is largely carried by Damon, who rises to the occasion formidably with his intelligent portrayal of the stranded astronaut. This is one of our favourite films of 2015 to date. It’s difficult to describe this film without revealing too much of the plot; but, suffice to say that its themes of scientific endeavour, isolation, space exploration, and what it is to be human will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
Well worth viewing in 3D, The Martian features breathtaking cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (Pirates of the Caribbean), who has previously worked with Scott on such films as Exodus, Prometheus, and the Counselor. The screenplay, adapted by Drew Goddard, is taut and clever, featuring authentic dialogue and enough wry (and sometimes even goofy) humour to overcome its very occasional descent into Hollywood cliché. (Interestingly, Fox is currently being sued for plagiarism by a Russian writer who claims that he was first with the idea, though no resolution has been reached at the time of this review’s publication). Another curious point is the overnight revelation that NASA scientists have discovered liquid water on Mars – you really couldn’t buy this publicity.
The Martian is released on October 1st