It’s as if Ridley Scott sets out to prove that he’s still the king of the spacey sci-fi cinematic arena, and succeeds. Director Scott’s interplanetary adventure follows the harrowing ordeals of astronaut Mark Watney (plucky, stalwart Matt Damon), who gets accidentally left behind on the red planet by his teammates and has to use his ingenuity to survive. All by himself in the deserted Martian terrain (shot in Jordan), talking to himself and communicating with NASA back on Earth, Damon easily dominates the movie – although the expressive supporting cast (Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Mackenzie Davis, Kristen Wiig, Donald Glover, et al.) lends appropriate tension to the situation. The special effects are of especially high quality, as we would expect from the maker of the original Alien and Blade Runner. The movie takes all the mystery and romance out of the title planet, but substitutes in its place science, cooperation, and human perseverance. Fair bargain. Screenplay by Andy Goddard, adapted from the book by Andy Weir (141 min.).
Director: Ridley Scott
Producer: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood, Mark Huffam and Drew Goddard
Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel Ejiofor