Toronto Film Festival review: Matt Damon in Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’

12 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Martian’ review: A captivating adventure.

Yup, The Martian — which premiered Sept. 11 at the Toronto International Film Festival — is that kind of picture. Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara say they did just that while shooting some of the zero-gravity scenes for the upcoming space epic The Martian.The actress tells THR that she has yet to share much screen time with Matt Damon after two projects, but praises him and Jennifer Lawrence for being a rare Hollywood find.

The film, which 20th Century Fox will release Oct. 2, is easily the biggest blockbuster premiering at Toronto, and the festival provided the liftoff “The Martian” was looking for. The film reaches for the dramatic tension of Apollo 13 and the 3D grandeur of Gravity, and while it doesn’t quite hit the highs of either, it’s still an exciting science-fiction tale of survival. It’s totally, totally ridiculous, but within the confines of the frame, it totally works, and you can’t tell.” “The zero-gravity stuff I was really looking forward to. Matt Damon plays astronaut Mark Watney, stranded on the red planet when his crewmates believe he is dead, and forced to find a way to keep alive until he can contact Earth and be rescued.

He compared the experience to being “a kid in your bedroom pretending that you’re in space.” “It’s a reason to put this out there for us,” said the actor. “It’s a really optimistic and hopeful movie, and sometimes our job is to put something like that out during really tough times.” Scott also addressed criticisms of his last movie, 2014’s Moses epic “Exodus,” which featured a largely white cast of leads for the ancient Egypt tale. “I’ve got no regrets on anything with ‘Exodus,'” Scott said. “I’m very proud of it, but when they start saying, ‘Well, gee, shouldn’t Moses have been black and shouldn’t the wife be Ethiopian,’ well, I don’t know. Here are five things we learned from the premiere screening: We’re used to seeing movies with astronauts floating around weightless, but realistically replicating the reduced gravity of Mars is still too tricky. Co-star Jessica Chastain said playing an astronaut in The Martian, which has its world premiere in Toronto on Friday night, was like fulfilling a childhood dream. “It’s like being a little kid and watching these movies and hoping someday you get to do that.

For full coverage of the 2015 Toronto Film Festival – including the hottest premieres, the biggest stars and the buzziest films – check out people.com/tiff, instyle.com and ew.com Unlike the selfish space castaway he played in Interstellar, Damon’s astronaut botanist is charming, witty and goodhearted, and we desperately want him to survive. Ridley — and maybe he was just faking it really well — he seemed just as excited as we did when were doing the scenes floating through the air.” The Martian is, in large part, a loner’s journey for survival. Few directors have opted for Stanley Kubrick’s silent shots of spaceships in motion, but Scott includes a nice scene of Watney in his rover, terribly upset by news from home.

There’s no obstacle that Damon’s ingenious astronaut isn’t able to “science the s— out of,” no setback that he can’t ultimately overcome. Damon said that 55 other actors had already wrapped on the film before he started his first scene. “It was a very different kind of movie for me …

Large chunks of the movie go something like this: dire dilemma arises, Watney and/or earthbound scientists come up with a wildly creative solution, and we watch Watney hack and hammer it out. I literally just met most of the cast right now (before the TIFF press conference)!” Being alone on screen for most of his scenes was intimidating but did not freak him out, Damon said.

The Martian makes some references to Hohmann transfer orbits (a technical term for a low-energy way to get to Mars) and a few other specialized terms, but it’s mostly in plain English. So I had that going for me.” Scott enjoyed going back into space for another film. “The fantasy of space, which is now also a reality, is a marvellous platform and a form of theatre, if you like. Mars is so far away that even saying “No” and getting an unprintable response can take up to 45 minutes. (Judicious editing allows the film to show conversations that seem instantaneous but would actually take hours.) This was a much more realistic movie.” Scott was also comforted because he felt he cast well, including choosing Damon and Chastain to work with a stellar, multi-ethnic support group of Mara, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Pena, Sean Bean, Donald Glover, Aksel Hennie and emerging Canadian actress Mackenzie Davis (whom Scott discovered is a natural comedian). He combines hydrogen and oxygen to make water. (For kindle, he takes apart one crew member’s wooden cross.) And soon enough — yes! — he’s able to communicate to NASA via a computer server.

In a refreshing twist, there isn’t a single scene in which someone gives an overwrought speech or a room full of men breathlessly speak in a mythologized language.

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