Director Ridley Scott made a name for himself mainly with his science fiction films, but between the stark horror of Alien, the prophetic dystopia of Blade Runner, and the grand pretentiousness of Prometheus, he’s yet to make a movie with a primary focus on character. His 2015 movie The Martian looks like it may change that by approaching its sci-fi premise with a humorous and empathetic tone.
Here’s the film’s synopsis:
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
Two trailers have been released for the film, one yesterday and another today, and it’s interesting how they seem to take distinctly opposite approaches to advertising a film. The first is a self-described “Viral Video,” following the model set by Prometheus‘s fake TED Talk teaser. It takes the form of a tour of the space shuttle, led by Damon’s Mark Watney, apparently being livestreamed to Earth, complete with hashtags and trending topics.
It tells us almost nothing of the film’s plot, but it does give a real sense of the crew dynamics and the humor http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/paxil_generic.html they use between each other. What strikes me about this short is how unscripted it feels – you get the sense of how unsure everyone is about what they’re saying to the world and how Watney seems to be interrupting everyone in the middle of something else. It’s my favorite kind of trailer: the kind that gets me excited for a movie while leaving almost everything about it a mystery, not to mention that it basically works as a short film in its own right.
Today’s trailer takes on a more traditional approach. It firmly establishes the central premise of the film, with Watney stranded on Mars while the remaining crew members attempt to rescue him. This kind of trailer is necessary to explain the film’s plot and to tease the tone that the movie on the whole will take, as well as show the roles of non-astronaut stars like Kristin Wiig, Jeff Daniels and Donald Glover (though only briefly).
But whereas the “Viral Video” didn’t explain even the most basic story points, some viewers have complained that this new trailer spoils too many of the book’s big twists. Chances are that those who haven’t read the book won’t be bothered for the most part, but it certainly takes out some of the fun for Watney to say he has no way of growing food or contacting NASA, only to do both immediately in the trailer. It’s interesting how these two trailers attempt to grab audience interest in such opposite ways, and personally, both of them have me very excited for this film.
What do you think? Was the “Viral Video” too slow and nondescript? Or was the new trailer overdone and generic? Let’s hear your comments below. The Martian hits theaters November 25 via 20th Century Fox.