Last night the 53rd New York Film Festival presented a sneak peak screening of The Martian directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. Based on Andy Weir’s best selling book of the same name, Matt Damon plays astronaut and botanist Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars and thought for dead as the crew encounters a violent sandstorm and are forced to abandon their mission and make an emergency liftoff.
The Martian is both a crowd-pleasing movie and a smart science fiction film. It’s action packed fun and gorgeous to watch, and arouse thoughts of “come on NASA let’s get back into space travel” —perhaps The Martian will inspire future mission to Mars astronauts and scientists. Unlike Gravity, Drew Goddard’s script succeeds in making the events plausible. The movie is packed with interesting science facts that don’t feel jarringly expositional, perhaps due to the comedic script and Damon’s charismatic performance. Ridley Scott succeeds in weaving a complicated story that is, at times visually poetic, at other times hilarious, but always consistently engaging. His use of is 3D is subtle and thankfully not distracting by being annoyingly self-aware. It sometimes comes dangerously close to having moments of schmaltzy Hollywood-feel-goodness (a few too many shots of cheering crowds in the control room and on the streets), and many characters are rather one-dimensional, but beyond that, it’s just elegant, fun, filmmaking.
—John David West
The film features: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Chen Shu, Eddy Ko, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Martian opens in theater on October 2, 2015