There has been a tragic slump in Ridley Scott’s career than is spanning arguably five films, but through classic Matt Damon charm and constant humor and adventure, The Martian is a return to the form of the man who gave us Gladiator and Alien. Based off the best selling book by Andy Weir, The Martian, to sum it up, is Cast Away in space meets Interstellar with a funny bone. The film is encased with star power and talent like most Ridley Scott films over the years and no one goes to waste. If there is a genre of sci-fi that is equally sci-fi and comedy this would be the blueprint for such films.
If I told you the run-time you would be turned off thinking you’d fall asleep in theater, but let me assure you that the film is the perfect length and makes you feel as if you were at a stand-up show on Mars. The time flies as constant as the astronauts the film is focused on and you quickly do the same. Matt Damon is the star of the film as he allows fun to permeate through his performance like he has done in so many great films of his. He is Mark Watney, a brilliant botanist and astronaut that gets stranded on Mars and supposedly left for dead, but for as long as he possibly can, he finds through brilliantly thought out scientific ingenuity and optimism.
Scott has never made an ugly looking film and of course that does not change with the Red Planet landscape along with the NASA station and everything in between. Through the beautifully captured scenary there are actors you can’t help, but focus in on and they are stars we do not realize pass us through film like comets every year. The actors and actress that come to mind are Jessica Chastain (Interstellar), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), and Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber). With the smartly written comedic elements of all the characters and situations, these were the actors besides Matt Damon, that came with a full hand.
The tone of the film makes it come off as if it were another Interstellar type film and if you have seen Interstellar and The Martian you will quickly put together the cryptic description I am giving you. Nonetheless, the decision of going with a strong humorous vibe adds to the magic that is Matt Damon intelligently speaking to us through a camera like he was Les Stroud stuck in the wilderness. In that regard, he is exactly what I loved about the show Survivor Man, and that is the feeling of struggle and peril, but not feeling like he couldn’t make it. With an obsession of the brooding and darkly directed films of today, this was a breath of overall joy mixed with a naturally occurring sense of tension.
Come in with a sense of fun and adventure because that is what you are getting. Smartly written, excellently directed, and gorgeously shot (like all Ridley Scott films) you are in for a wild ride in space and on earth. See it with whomever you wish because taking them to see this movie will be the best decision you make in October beyond stockpiling on pumpkin spice coffee grounds. Hopefully for us, this means that Scott’s next project he has titled Alien: Paradise Lost aka the sequel to Prometheus, will be as good as we’ve wanted after all these years. With a slump of films that include, in my opinion, The Counceler, Robin Hood, and Exodus: Gods and Kings, it made us wonder if the director was losing his finite touch, but he has proven once again why he is a master film maker.