Ridley Scott knows science fiction. The director of iconic and cult crowned sci-fi flicks Blade Runner and Alien, Scott is no slouch when it comes to futuristic or outerspaceish type scenarios played out through his keen direction.
Scott last dipped his toe into the sci-fi waters in 2012 with the love it or hate it Alien prequel, Prometheus. The film was met with varying degrees of acceptance and disapproval but no one could deny the film was visually spectacular. In 2015, Scott brings Andy Weir’s novel of the same name to audiences in the inspiring, The Martian due to hit theatres early October.
Matt Damon plays NASA botanist Mark Watney. Watney along with a small group of other scientists are stationed on Mars when a storm prompts their evacuation. Through a series of events, his colleagues believe Watney dead as they execute their evacuation. But Watney is very much alive. Alive and alone on Mars. With little resources and materials, Watney sciences the shit out of his working assets in an effort to survive. He manages to relay a message back to earth but he is very much aware of the realization that any rescue effort or further mission to Mars is years away from actualization. Watney must live on his wits and faith in hopes that he may one day be reunited with species.
The focus is clearly on Damon’s character but maybe more interesting are the team of humans back on earth lead by Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels that attempt to science the shit out of things themselves in an attempt to orchestrate a spectacular rescue. Their pooling of minds will draw reference to NASA’s brain trusts in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 and is riveting the exciting to watch unfold though the emotion of the colleagues.
We’ll leave the final chapters of the film to your viewing pleasure but make no mistake about it, The Martain is Ridley Scott’s best film in years. Damon excels in the lonely character left abandoned. He carries the film with remarkable poise and the intelligence of the script by Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods, World War Z) is a marvel as to what man has and can accomplish when faced an unfathomable situation.
The 3D imagery is spectacular and the special effects are sometimes toned and other times on the scale of a blockbuster big-budget extravaganza. But the film is rooted in the triumph of the human spirit. It’s hard not to cheer or cry when we see a balls-out effort to what it takes, to use what it takes, to work tirelessly in what it takes to save one human life.
The Martian is destined to be box office hit. Smart, funny, tense and drawing on emotion, it is easily one of the best films of the year and it is the type of film that might just have children once again naming ‘astronaut’ as the profession that they most aspire to. Yes, it’s that good.