Matt Damon has been making it a habit of getting stranded on hostile, deserted planets lately. The Martian opened in theaters on Friday and, again, we find Damon playing the lonely astronaut on the edge of outer space survival.
In The Martian, Mark Watney (Damon) is exploring on the surface of Mars and is caught in a violent storm. When Watney doesn’t return, his fellow astronauts assume he is dead and blast-off without him. However, he has survived the storm and is left stranded alone on the red planet. With very few supplies and a lot of ingenuity, he must figure out a way to endure long enough for NASA to send a rescue mission.
The official trailer of The Martian from 20th Century Fox shows highlights from the film.
So far, Ridley Scott directed film is sweeping the box office like a Martian storm. On Friday alone, The Martian is estimated to have taken in $18 million in North America and earlier projections estimate a total box office draw of $45 to $55 million by the end of the weekend.
The LA Times is reporting The Martian is doing well with critics and audiences alike. Market research firm CinemaScore has rated the film an A, while Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 94 percent “fresh” rating.
Besides an excellent plot, amazing cinematography, and Matt Damon being the star, the film’s early success could also be attributed to the director, since Ridley Scott is no alien when it comes to making blockbuster space movies. He is behind two of the most iconic sci-fi movies ever made, Alien and Blade Runner, and there is no reason that The Martian won’t join this elite club.
This time around, Scott wanted to make the movie using as much known, real world science as possible. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the director consulted with NASA and learned about the possibility of liquid water on the surface months before the news went public.
According to Business Insider, The Martian may be well on its way for an Oscar nomination. Erik Davis, managing editor for Fandango, weighed in on the film’s award-winning potential.
“Hands down, ‘The Martian’ is a Best Picture contender. It’s a film that has everything — a great cast, a captivating story, and a fantastic lead performance from a beloved actor in need of a fantastic lead performance.”
Damon is joined by other stars, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, and Michael Peña in The Martian.
In case you missed it, Matt Damon was stranded on another hostile planet in 2014. He made a surprise appearance as stranded astronaut Dr. Mann in the epic movie Interstellar alongside Mathew McConaughey.
The character Damon plays in The Martian is a light-hearted, wisecracking botanist whose optimism has the viewer cheering for the protagonist. While in Interstellar, Dr. Mann is a dark, desperate human with a hidden agenda which makes the audience loathe the character. Incidentally, their situations are similar, as each must survive until a rescue mission arrives. Yet, the similarity ends there as the characters have little else in common.
In The Martian, Watney expresses his belief that humans are compassionate and will take care of one another in times of crisis.
“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception.”
In contrast, Interstellar’s Mann believes humans only help each other if they are motivated by threats to safety or through survival instinct. When breaking Cooper’s (McConaughey) helmet visor and exposing his face to the harsh elements, Mann forces his point of view on Cooper.
“You’re feeling it, aren’t you? The survival instinct. That’s what drove me. It’s what drives all of us. And it’s what’s gonna save us.”
Watney sees human ingenuity and self-sacrifice as common traits among his crewmates and in the human race in general, while Mann believes humans are selfish creatures only interested in helping themselves.
Being stranded on an inhospitable planet is bad enough, but having to deal with a crazy Matt Damon is another thing entirely. However, despite the lack of a borderline insane, mad-scientist space man, The Martian is filled with plenty of drama and tension as moviegoers sit on the edge of their seat to find out if Matt Damon survives the cruel environment and loneliness this time around.
[Photos by Eamonn M. McCormack, Bill Ingalls/Getty Images]