Release Date: November 25, 2015
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Donald Glover, Sebastian Stan, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Director: Ridley Scott
Pre-Trailer Thought: Ridley Scott is one of the preeminent directors in Hollywood, but his career has been in a dangerous freefall over the past five years. Exodus was a bloated slog filled with numerous miscasts, The Counselor was a befuddling mess, Prometheus had plot-holes wide enough for a semi to drive through, and Robin Hood was lifeless and dull. But aside from Prometheus (whose problems admittedly lie more with the script than anything), Scott has fared well with sci-fi as Alien and Blade Runner are among my favorite films of all time. I’m hoping The Martian will hark back to the success of those two. -JTM
Pre-Trailer Thought: Despite his recent string of lackluster films, I have a lot of faith in Ridley Scott, especially when he’s in space. Unlike most people, I loved Prometheus. Plot holes? You bet. Fun? Thrilling? Absolutely. Scott has a visual acumen that blows my mind, and he always gets great ensembles. I mean, look at this one. That’s an embarrassment of riches. –BB
Rate the Trailer: 4 out of 5. I’m getting a “Cast Away in space” feel from this trailer and I’m liking it a lot. Scott’s visual style suits the film well, with establishing shots of Mars and various spaceships looking especially beautiful. We get a very good sense of the desperation of the mission and the loneliness Damon’s character must face. The cast is fantastic as well, with a wide array of some of the best performers working today. These include Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, and of course Matt Damon, who will likely spend most of acting by himself. I’m also interested to see how Kristen Wiig does in an uncharacteristic dramatic role. –JTM
Rate the Trailer: 4 out of 5. I’m getting a ‘Moon‘ vibe here. (If you haven’t seen that movie, check out an early review we did of it back in the day). And yes, that movie was like Cast Away but seriously more messed up. I loved this trailer — Matt Damon looks like he might be delivering one of his better performances in recent memory. And that cast. I just have to mention it again – amazing. If there’s one complain I do have is that I feel like they gave a little too much away. I’m hoping I’m wrong. –BB
Theater, Rent, Undecided, No Thanks: Theater. The Martian is set to be this year’s Interstellar or Gravity, a space-set film with a big budget, big cast, big director, and a release date right in time to be considered for Oscars. I enjoyed the previous two a lot, and even though Scott’s recent failings have been troubling I do have the confidence that this is the perfect film for him to get back on the right track. The previous two were best seen on IMAX screens to appreciate the scope of the visual effects, and I’ll be looking to see if The Martian gets the same type of release. –JTM
Theater, Rent, Undecided, No Thanks: Theater. I didn’t see either Interstellar or Gravity, but I have a feeling I’ll be making it out for this. It looks like it’ll pack a real emotional wallop, will have some good thrills, and it’ll showcase Matt Damon’s oft-overlooked acting chops (Hollywood’s been selling Damon more on his physique than his talent in recent history, at least in my opinion.) This could be Oscar-worthy, but I thought Interstellar was going to be a lay-up for an Oscar nod. I’ll reserve my judgement in the local multiplex. –BB
The Martian hits the movies on November 25.