I can't help but wonder if “The Martian” is fighting uphill from the start. After all, we just watched Matt Damon in a hyped space prestige drama last year. Could the familiarity ding it a bit? Maybe. The bigger question for me is what Ridley Scott has left up his sleeve.
“Prometheus” may have had its fans, but I was certainly not one of them. “Exodus: Gods and Men” had no friends in sight. “The Counselor” even less. “Robin Hood” felt misguided and stale. “Body of Lies” seemed to be trying for something fresh but ended up as rote as they come. It's been a long time since “American Gangster.”
What has kept me more or less on board through all of this is Scott's attention to detail and craft. He is a brilliant filmmaker, regardless of how below the bar this stuff has been lately. “Prometheus,” for as much as I disliked it on a story and even conceptual level, looked amazing. Darisusz Wolski's photography and Arthur Max's production design were probably even Oscar-worthy. So I look at the new global trailer for “The Martian” and what I see, as ever with Scott, is a world fully crafted, meticulously detailed, tangible and vibrant. I can only hope the screenplay is up to snuff.
It is adapted from an acclaimed Andy Weir book, which helps. As noted when we wrote about the teaser footage that was released over the weekend, it's a human story, warm and accessible. Maybe that will make for a fine alignment for Scott indeed.
As far as the awards derby goes, who can really say? Fox has a very interesting slate this year with this, Alejandro González Iñárritu's “The Revanant” and David O. Russell's “Joy.” Those are some strong artists to work with, certainly. We'll see how that plays out in due time.
For now, check out the new trailer for “The Martian” above and tell us what you think.