The Martian – an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Andy Weir – smashed the box office in the first week of its release, with a brilliant $54 million earning just in the US. After four weeks at the top of the charts, the sci-fi survival flick made $428 million throughout the world and is still running in the cinemas. A definitive success for the director of the Alien saga, once again.
The reason for that success is probably the subtle mix of genre that Drew Goddard, who also wrote Cabin in the Woods and World War Z, both box office hit in the past few years, has learned to master.
The Martian follows Mark Whattney (Matt Damon) as he is left for dead on the American base on Mars. Now, the movie could have fallen into a survival, horror category where the alone but brave astronaut tries to contact his home, but Goddard manages to fit in a lot of comedy and laugh-out-loud quirky moments during Mark Whattney’s darkest times.
Supported by a brilliant cast: Jessica Chastain, Golden Globe winner, Sean Bean, Emmy winner, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Academy Award winner, to name a few, the movie follows not only Whattney and his Martian potato plant but also the struggles on Earth of Nasa engineers who are trying to find a way to communicate and save the astronaut’s life. Later on, the rest of Whattney’s crew inside their spaceship also attempt a crazy rescue mission. The movie uses disco songs as soundtracks to scenes where Whattney finds hilarious ways to survive on the foreign planet and ‘science the shit out of it’ as well as darker scenes where bureaucrats are deciding whether or not he’s going to live.
Overall, the movie has no dead-beats. It manages to stay away from a lot of cliché and to keep us holding our breath while also giggling and looking on in wonder at the amazing cinematography. Earning an 8.2 on IMDb and 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, this new Ridley Scott offering doesn’t disappoint and is surely on its way to becoming another classic. A must watch.