After yesterday’s meet-the-crew-of-this-fictional-Mars-mission viral video to promote The Martian, it was only a matter of time before 20th Century Fox released a proper trailer for the Ridley Scott/Matt Damon film based on the ludicrously entertaining novel by Andy Weir. Yes, I know that technically, waiting for anything is a matter of time, dicks. It’s a figure of speech. Did you want me to open the post with “A trailer for The Martian came out today?” Fine: a trailer for The Martian came out today. It’s pretty great. Happy now, Herr Grammar?
Damon plays NASA astronaut Mark Watney, a botanist/mechanical engineer who’s stranded alone on Mars after his crew evacuates to avoid a massive dust storm. In fairness, the mission commander (played by Jessica Chastain, who I assume just stayed in space after solving Interstellar’s gravity equation) believes Watney dead on account of his being impaled by a flying antenna and flatlined vital signs. Spoiler: dude ain’t kilt. This is what happens when you put a female in charge, said the unkempt 4chan user dousing copies of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair issue in gasoline.
To survive, Watney needs to first let NASA know he’s still breathing, then find a way to cultivate luxuries like water and food…not the easiest task in Mars’ inhospitable atmosphere (if you ever wanted to watch an A-list actor eat potatoes fertilized by his own shit, The Martian is your huckleberry). In completely related news, I dropped some watermelon on the floor the other day and had to cut up some more for lunch. So I understand what Damon’s character is going through.
The Martian boasts a bonkers cast — Damon, Chastain, the guy HitFix pretended isn’t in Z for Zachariah (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean (he dies in the opening credits), Sebastian Stan, Childish Gambino — and doesn’t appear to skimp on Scott’s trademark gorgeous visuals. Damon in particular really seems to capture Watney’s entertaining blend of sarcastic wit and determined resourcefulness, an encouraging sign given how much time he appears onscreen alone.
The only downside is the script. How the scene where Watney sends his first message to NASA isn’t just Damon slapping “Are you receiving me?” on the Curiosity rover’s camera lens and screaming “HOW ABOUT DEM TATERS, NASA?!” defies comprehension. Really bothers me.