By Jack Safir ’19
“The Martian,” directed by Ridley Scott, was released in theaters worldwide on Friday. Scott is most widely known as the director of the classic “Alien” series. “The Martian” stars Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig and Michael Peña.
The movie begins on Mars with the Ares III crew, a team of scientists sent to Mars to conduct experiments. When a dangerous storm rolls in, the crew is forced to board their spaceship and evacuate the planet. During the storm, a disaster occurs, leaving the team’s botanist, Mark Watney (Damon), stranded on Mars. With an extreme injury, a very low supply of food and water and no way of making communication with Earth, Watney is forced to find a way to survive by any means necessary. Visually, this movie is breathtaking. It is very easy to forget that movie was not actually filmed on Mars. Scott perfectly captures the terrors of space in a way that sometimes feels very similar to the 2009 Oscar winner, “Gravity.”
Damon is certainly one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, leading classic movies such as “Good Will Hunting,” “Saving Private Ryan” and the “Bourne” trilogy. It would seem impossible for Damon to be able to top any of those movies, but “The Martian” may be his best performance yet. Damon really shows the mental toll that being alone for so long would have on a man, in the same way that Tom Hanks showed in “Castaway.”
While Damon’s performance is incredible, the story is what makes the movie work. At times, the movie feels as if it were based on a true story because of the intricate and detailed plot. Watney is an extremely likable character, cracking jokes throughout the movie and making light of his dire situation. The overall runtime of the movie is 2 hours and 22 minutes, which seems very long; however, the movie makes great use of the time and doesn’t contain any pointless scenes.
One underrated aspect of most films is the score. Harry Gregson-Williams’s soundtrack for “The Martian” is simply beautiful. The score heightens the intensity of action scenes and adds to the overall quality of the movie.
In conclusion, “The Martian” is amazing. It is by far the best movie of the fall so far, and possibly the best of the year. The movie has undeniable Oscar potential, with Damon’s performance and Scott’s directing.