Ridley Scott provides a timely reminder of why he is such a celebrated director with The Martian. The film is a wildly entertaining science-fiction adventure.
Astronaut Mark Watney is part of manned mission to Mars. When a storm hits the planet, the crew decide to leave, with Mark presumed dead. Mark has to use all his skills to stay alive on the barren planet whilst trying to signal to Earth that he is alive…
Adapted from Andy Weir’s novel, The Martian is an engaging and entertaining film. Drew Goddard was a good choice to pen the screenplay. The script is frequently funny, with a wonderful ease when switching tone. Like Gravity, there could be a worry of how the film will remain compelling, given the premise. However, it does this with aplomb. The contrasting tales of survival and rescue work well to keep viewers engaged and introduce the necessary supporting characters.
Ridley Scott directs the film skilfully, ensuring good pacing over the two hours plus running time. Despite the period of time that The Martian covers, the film never feels as if it is dragging. During the film there is tension, action and amusement. The Martian ramps the pressure up for the conclusion, enthralling the audience for its finale.
Cinematography in The Martian is excellent. Dariusz Wolski photographs the landscape in a way that demands to be seen on the big screen. The sound is also great, from design to score to soundtrack. The latter is an unusual accompaniment, but it works exceptionally well.
Matt Damon delivers a decent performance as Watney, being the sole performer in many of his scenes. The supporting cast are also good, Michael Peña provides the laughs, whilst Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are well cast in their respective roles.
Ridley Scott proved his talent working in the space medium with Alien. The Martian is a different time of science fiction movie, but one that also beguiles its audience.