Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie

12 reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie
Added 44 months ago by IsaV
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie

Adam Savage Interviews 'The Martian' Author Andy Weir - The Talking Room
Adam Savage's interview with Andy Weir is exteremely interesting and revealing.

It's based on Andy Weir's science fact/fiction book
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - It's based on Andy Weir's science fact/fiction book
It starts here, no question. Weir's novel is the story of Mark Watney, a NASA astronaut on a mission to Mars, believed killed during an emergency evacuation attempt, but very much alive, and very much alone. With no way to call home, he begins what initially seems like a pointless quest to prolong his survival, keeping a (potty language-filled) log of his experiences. Later, as real hope begins to creep in, the tension builds with every advance and every setback. The book is full of technical details, but Mark's not just a capable narrator: he's funny and sarcastic, and the novel strikes just the right balance between jargon and jests. In the expletive-laden opening paragraph, Mark explains exactly how…let's use the word “doomed”…he is, and then immediately gets to work. Getting Mark Watney right is half the battle for the movie, but based on the trailer, Matt Damon's looking like a pretty good choice.

It's a rock-solid, damn fine crowd-pleaser
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - It's a rock-solid, damn fine crowd-pleaser
Ridley Scott is unquestionably one of the biggest directors in Hollywood, but even his most ardent fans have to admit that Scott's recent track record has been all over the place. Exodus: Gods and Kings was an overblown CG mess, The Counselor was an audience-stumping bomb, and Prometheus looked so tantalizing yet delivered so little. As I settled in for the screening of Scott's latest film, The Martian, at the Toronto Film Festival this morning, I thought about Prometheus in particular and how my dashed expectations for that film had cautioned me against getting my hopes up today. Ridley Scott's movies always make for great trailers, but can they still make for good ... movies? Happily, I can report that he's still got it. The Martian isn't liable to become an iconic sci-fi film in the vein of Scott's early classics Alien and Blade Runner, but it's a rock-solid, damn fine crowd-pleaser, and that's more than enough.

The cast is wonderfully diverse
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - The cast is wonderfully diverse
I've seen far too many movies this year that can't find a speaking role for more than one woman, and countless more where you can't find a non-white face unless you scan the extras. Thankfully, there are a ton of terrific female roles in The Martian, including both Kate Mara and Jessica Chastain in the group of astronauts trying to save Damon — “I'm happy that on a crew of six people, two are women,” Chastain told me at a press conference today, adding, “That's actually better odds than the current NASA program” — and a diverse cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, and Mackenzie Davis toiling for NASA on Earth. Scott still has a ways to go on this subject (the whitewashed cast and racial optics of Exodus were a low point), and some people who've read the novel The Martian was based on tell me that even with a cast this diverse, there were still one or two roles that were racebent, but this remains a step in the right direction for the director. At least it pleased Michael Peña, who plays another astronaut in Damon's crew: “First Mexican in space!” he crowed at the press conference. “You can write that down.”

It's about good people being good to each other
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - It's about good people being good to each other
It's nice to see a movie with no villain, where the protagonists genuinely like each other, and where people are good at their jobs. No one in The Martian is an asshole even when they have very different notions on how to rescue Matt Damon, and writer Drew Goddard (who adapted the book by Andy Weir) is smart enough to realize that the whole marooned-on-Mars thing is enough conflict to power the movie without making too much of interpersonal squabbles. When the astronauts on their way home from Mars must take a vote on whether to return to the planet for Damon (they only left their colleague because they mistakenly thought he had died during a dust storm), I half-expected a conventional movie conflict where the “no” votes would outweigh the “yes” votes, and then the decent members of the crew would have to convince the more hard-headed ones to cave. Instead, all of the astronauts quickly voted “yes” and then broke out into smiles. So did I.

It's not all about Mark
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - It's not all about Mark
Judging from what's been said so far about The Martian, it would be easy to assume that the book is all about Mark. But it's not. Weir also takes the time to develop secondary characters, from Mark's crew mates (who followed orders and left Mars thinking Mark had died, and then had to find out that he hadn't and they had essentially abandoned him) to the NASA employees who have to put together some sort of plan. They all seem so real, so believable, and have their own voices. It makes the book so fascinating and fun to read. I can't wait to see this on the big screen.

The science
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - The science
Math as a superpower? Computer programmer Weir made a commitment to ensuring that the math and science in his book was as accurate as possible. He worked out in minute detail the dangers of a manned trip to Mars, and proceeded to subject his main character (and us as readers) to most of them. Dust storms, exploding fuel, the need to calculate caloric needs and orbital paths: all of that detail could be disastrously boring, but the believability is part of the fun. If things go to plan, we're only two or three decades out from a manned mission to Mars that would likely look very similar to what we're going to see in the movie (hopefully without so much of the crashing and exploding). NASA collaborated with the production, even allowing the use of its logo, so there's every reason to believe that the movie will convey a good deal of the real science that makes the book so cool.

A settlement on Mars is very possible
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - A settlement on Mars is very possible
Sure, Pluto is grabbing the headlines these days, but Mars is still our favorite celestial neighbor. Next year will see two new landers and a couple of new orbiters arrive at the Red Planet, and we're still getting cool images and data from the probes that we've got running around there right now. Government and private organizations are working on plans for manned journeys to Mars, and a few of them might actually be viable sooner than you think. It's been a favorite subject of science fiction for centuries, but the facts are every bit as exciting. A movie like this one might be the thing that encourages us to push further. Mars isn't surrendering its grip on our imaginations anytime soon.

It has a great publishing story
Okay, so maybe this isn't really about The Martian's content, but I love hearing a great success story. Did you know that The Martian was initially self-published on Weir's website and then picked up by a Newmarket-based audiobook publisher Podium Publishing? Go Canada! Eventually, Weir caught the attention of traditional book publishers, and, well, the rest is history. So there you go! 5 reasons why I loved The Martian by Andy Weir. I absolutely can't wait to see this on the big screen and judging by the trailer, I think it's going to be amazing! Watch it here:

Ridley Scott
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - Ridley Scott
Here's a guy's with enough classics on his resume to ensure each new film is a major event, especially when he's working in sci-fi mode. The director of Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down is a certified Legend (which he also directed), and his three previous SF films, Alien, Blade Runner, and Prometheus, are tech-laden stories that take place in grounded worlds with believably human characters. He's created gritty, lived-in environments before, so a Martian dust storm or two shouldn't be a problem. He's a perfect fit for the almost-here, almost-now world of The Martian.

The 3-D is worth it
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - The 3-D is worth it
Scott's become a devotee of the 3-D format since shooting Prometheus, even though the extra dimension has started to fall out of vogue with filmmakers and audiences. (Whenever a director announced at Comic-Con this summer that his film was proudly 2-D, the fans would erupt in cheers.) With The Martian Scott makes a real case for 3-D, employing its depth of field as an additional way to isolate Damon, and portraying those dense Martian dust storms so compellingly that you can practically feel the grit flung at your face. Just this once, that ticket surcharge is worth paying.

It's got a genuinely great lead performance
Reasons why 'The Martian' is set to be an epic movie - It's got a genuinely great lead performance
Truth be told, The Martian is a bit of a comeback for Matt Damon too. While he was delightful in HBO's Behind the Candelabra, it's been a while since Damon led a notable big-screen hit, and as an astronaut marooned on Mars who must struggle to stay alive until NASA can reach him, Damon gives a full-blown movie-star performance. The most valuable tool in this astronaut's arsenal is the sense of wry humor with which he greets every major setback, and Damon nails every joke. Despite being lost in space, he's not panicking like Sandra Bullock in Gravity or losing his mind like … well, like Matt Damon in Interstellar: Instead, he's jerry-rigging exciting new ways to stay alive, recording clever vlogs in his space station, and coming as close as anyone possibly could to making almost certain space death seem like a fun way to go. It's a pleasure to hang out with him for two-plus hours, and The Martian is surely going to give Damon's mid-career a major jolt.