Matt Damon’s action-packed film career is highlighted by clashes with various opponents-trained assassins, Nazis, Boston cops, witches, the All Blacks, deadly viruses-but he has never gone up against an entire planet.
“Well Ridley creates a very immersive world, so when you walk up to a Ridley Scott film set you’re in Ridley Scott’s imagination, and it’s a really comfortable, cool place to be”, he gushed. So, for any fans of the Andy Weir novel, the film treats its source material with respect.
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It went on to become a bestseller, eventually picked up by Random House to critical acclaim.
A man sitting around talking to himself and clacking away at a computer makes for inherently boring cinema, but Scott, together with the film’s screenwriter, Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), manages to overcome those obstacles and keep us extremely entertained throughout the film’s 141 minute running time. Damon signed on primarily because he wanted to work with the famous filmmaker who proved to be strict but open-minded.
“I was there for a bit…with Benedict (Cumberbatch) – so, we had an interesting time with the NASA stuff, but how to kind of fit that into everything there’s no way I could”, he said in an interview with Collider. Really, it’s the sort of movie that makes you remember why you like going to the movies. “So you’re not spinning your wheels and wasting time”. Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Donald Glover, Kate Mara, and everyone’s favorite Winter Soldier Sebastian Stan add a comedic touch and a few levity to a film that should be much more frightening.
Aside from “Blade Runner“, Scott directed the 1979 sci-fi horror film “Alien“, and a sequel, 2012’s “Prometheus”.
Mars is having a great PR week, what with the impending release of The Martianand the recent announcement that the red planet is likely home to flowing water. That said, I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish. “There’s nothing like it on Earth“. With the engineer and botanist Mark Watney getting blown far away by a radio antenna, the other astronauts are forced to get back into their orbiting vessel, leaving him behind, presuming him to be dead. Yet this is most definitely Damon’s movie and a throwback to the unabashed idealism of Hollywood past.
What could have been a dry scientific story is expertly crafted into a very human story about resilience and determination against all odds. He’s also good at maths, and blowing things up – including himself. “It’s about the best in us”. But 20th Century Fox will likely strike gold this weekend with their movie about the Red Planet, “The Martian”.