Photo Credit: Fox Movies
The Martian opened nationwide on Friday. The film, directed by Ridley Scott, stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney – a wise-cracking genius botanist/astronaut. Expected to be this weekend’s hot flick to see, The Martian has already been earning rave reviews as a relentlessly entertaining and funny space adventure.
This is a big weekend for Ridley, as his much talked about sci-fi film is predicted by analysts to earn upwards of $45 million, though some think it may even do as well as $50 million. He’s had a tough time in recent years, with both The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings being critical and financial bombs, though The Martian is expected to break that slump.
Matt may truly be the very best person to play Watney with his wit, intelligence and charisma, just like the stranded scientist that’s at the center of Andy Weir’s novel. And, there’s already talk of award potential.
The 44-year-old actor is the movie, carrying massive chunks of the film all by himself, including a harrowing early scene in which he performs self-surgery, as well as lengthy monologues filled with scientific jargon delivered via video blog. He not only brings credible emotion, but humor to its most technical sections – think Tom Hanks in Cast Away, along with a bit of Jason Bourne inventiveness thrown in.
Matt hasn’t had a lead actor Oscar nomination since Good Will Hunting, so now may be the right time to change that.
In the movie, as in the book, Watney is accidently left behind on Mars when a mission to the planet is cut short by a storm. His fellow astronauts believe he’s dead, until someone at NASA notices there are signs he survived through satellite photography, sparking a rescue mission to save him.
While no one but Matt has a large enough role in the film to make a substantial awards play, the ensemble is rather impressive, including the likes of Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.
The Martian premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11 and 20th Century released the film in theatres everywhere on Friday.