Matt Damon is suiting up as an astronaut once again in the first official images from Ridley Scott’s The Martian after his memorable cameo as Dr Mann in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar last year.
Based on Andy Weir’s absolute nail-biter of a debut novel, The Martian focuses on astronaut Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars after an accident injures him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet presuming him dead.
Watney is left to fend for himself in an exceptionally deadly environment, coming up with plans on the go with tense, white-knuckle intensity, as NASA scrambles to stage a rescue mission and the entire world comes together in his support.
What made Weir’s novel unique are the liberal doses of technical jargon and attention to detail that he weaves in his narrative, which don’t alienate the reader as one would expect, but rather, add to the experience. You feel like you’re actually there, stuck with Watney, struggling to survive, proud of yourself for understanding what you’re convinced is actual NASA-speak. It’ll be interesting to see how Scott adapts the novel’s first person narrative into an effective action picture.
Working again with his Prometheus and Exodus: Gods and Kings cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, Scott’s movie looks to feature some absolutely jaw-dropping imagery. We see Matt Damon in his unique spacesuit, perched on a mound of Martian soil, reflecting on his predicament. In another image we see Damon trying to Macgyver himself out of a hairy situation. The colour palate is warm, rich and painterly. The isolation Watney is faced with is apparent. The design of the Martian vehicles and his spacesuit look impressive, suitably battered and at the same time very imposing.
A Robinson Crusoe story set in space seems like an enticing proposition, ripe for philosophical rumination. Despite the fact that we got Gravity only a couple of years ago, and have Apollo 13, Cast Away, The Grey and Marooned to compare it with, The Martian looks unique enough and the goodwill from Weir’s book should help it gain traction.
Ridley Scott has assembled a cracking cast to support Damon, who will essentially have to carry the movie on his shoulders. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Mara, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Bean and Naomi Scott. It is written by the very talented Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods), and is slated for a November 25th release, just in time for awards season.You can check out the images below,