The Martian is one of the most anticipated sci-fiction movies in 2015. This film is directed by Ridley Scott, one of the most acclaimed directors of all time. Mr. Scott directed many masterpieces such as Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, The Gladiator and Hannibal. The movie is going to be released on 30th September in Britain and on 2nd October in United States. Its cast includes well-known and famous actors such as Matt Damon, Jeff Daniels and Sean Bean. It tells the story of an astronaut who finds himself alone and abandoned on Mars. Thanks to his intelligence and inventiveness, he will do everything to communicate with Earth and to be rescued.
The original plot is inspired by a novel published online by the author Andy Weir. At the beginning, Mr. Weir had serious troubles to get the desired success thanks to his book. He even published the single chapters of his work on his personal website for free. After a period of low fame, the book was noticed by Scott and adapted to a film. The realization of the script was assigned to the screenwriter Drew Goddard, previously famous for World War Z and Cloverfield. The director underlined his intention to create a science fiction film completely different from the others previously directed by him. In fact, he directed it focusing more on scientific research than on fantasy. He said about this issue “The fantasy of space is a marvelous platform where anything goes; But you’ve got to make your own rule book and stick within those rules; This was a lot easier, because you can lean heavily on the science and make a more realistic movie”(1).
In a way, this film can be considered a modern version of Robinson Crusoe, where the main protagonist must use his skills and a scarcity of resources to survive and to be saved. Furthermore, the director availed himself of the collaboration of NASA and ESA to make the movie more realistic and faithful of reality. According to theverge.com The Martian is “a mainstream attempt to go in the exact opposite direction and tell a story about the power of science and technological ingenuity; One that tries to glamorize the creative thinking and determination of astronauts, astrophysicists, and the mad geniuses at NASA and JPL”(2).
Its release has also attracted the attention of some scientists and astrophysicists for its high level of realism and accuracy. For example, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was absolutely happy and enthusiastic about it. He declared about the latest work by Ridley Scott “The Martian’s biggest accomplishment may be that it takes near-future space exploration, and makes it look achievable with the right amount of work and creative thinking; Space exploration has lost its aspirational cultural edge in the last few decades; due to budget cuts and setbacks we’ve stopped dreaming”(3). Furthermore, he underlined the necessity to resume space exploration and to invest more resources to fund new space programs.
Some former astronauts expressed their views and considerations about The Martian and its plot. For example, Leroy Chiao, a former NASA officer said “Several aspects of the physical reality of the movie are convincing; From a technical perspective, the hardware depicted in the film looks pretty good; The movie glosses over certain things, like the oxygenator, which presumably converts something into oxygen”(4).
This movie has a production budget of $108 million and seems to have big chances to be a success. It has a 93% of positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (5) and 73% on Metacritics.com (6). His opening weekend at the domestic box office may be closer to similar movies such as Interstellar and Gravity. According to Boxofficefrontier.com it will reach $47 million during the first weekend and a total domestic gross of $170 million (7), which is a good result compared to its budget of $108 million. At the moment, many critics have released very good reviews and opinions about it. For example, according to Sean O’Connell from CinemaBlend.com The Martian is “A celebration of ingenuity, of intelligent problem-solving in the face of life-altering deadlines, and of the stubborn, never-quit attitudes that should be spotlighted in the human spirit”(8). Another famous critic called Helen OHara declared about it “The Martian is Ridley Scott’s most entertaining effort in years, and perhaps his most big-hearted film ever”(9).
5 Cfr. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_martian/
6 Cfr. http://www.metacritic.com/movie/the-martian
7 Cfr. https://boxofficefrontier.wordpress.com/early-box-office-forecast/2015-box-office-forecast/