Ridley Scott returns to the genre he does best, and has bought everyone along for the ride. Based on the critically-acclaimed, best-selling, self-published novel by Andy Weir, The Martian follows astronaut Mark Watney who must survive alone on Mars after a storm leaves him stranded. The story is said to emphasize the science aspect of science fiction, likely making this Scott’s most grounded film within the genre he helped redefine. Despite the sense of realism and serious stakes, the trailer is surprisingly humorous thanks to screenwriter, and former Buffy scribe, Drew Goddard.
While Scott’s last few films have struggled critically and creatively, he has amassed a massive cast for The Martian. Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are all backing Matt Damon, so if nothing else the film should be filled with fantastic performances (though I once thought the same of the massive cast assembled for Exodus: Gods and Kings, and that mistake continues to haunt me).
The visual side of things have always been where Scott has excelled the most, and The Martian looks to have some great set designs and atmosphere. Though some of the shots look strikingly similar to ones used in Alien and Prometheus, I remain confident that Scott still has some new visual tricks up his sleeve. It’s too early to tell yet, but this could be a major career comeback for Scott…or it could fall in line with his more mixed recent works. Still, I’m holding out hope that The Martian will truly be something special. Knowing Scott, we’ll probably get a 4 hour director’s cut on Blu-ray somewhere down the line, and that’s where the film will really come together.
The Martian will be released by 20th Century Fox on November 25th, just in time for awards season.