OK, cards on the table. Nobody really needs an excuse to get excited about a new Ridley Scott film, especially when it's a thriller set in space - Scott has spent an entire career off-Earth, after all, from Alien right through to Prometheus. That said, The Martian is coming this October and you know the trailer is going to be dissected fifty thousand times everywhere from Facebook to Buzzfeed, so I had to join in. Here's my comprehensive list of reasons to get psyched.
First, the trailer:
The stakes are high
The trailer doesn't waste much time in laying out its basic premise: a team of astronauts left Mars in a hurry when a storm hit, but Mark Watney (Matt Damon) got left behind. Perhaps his colleagues were trying to tell him something. Anyway, he sets about trying to grow the food he needs to survive - on a planet where food can't be grown - and looking for ways to send a signal back to Earth, because they probably assumed he died in that killer storm.
If Prometheus taught us anything...
It's that astronauts, like normal people, can be jerks. In fact, most of those on board the vessel Prometheus were major jerks. So when Damon's voiceover tells us that "every human being has a basic instinct ... to help each other out", it might be worth reading between the lines. Did another crew member somehow arrange for Mark to get stuck in that blizzard? Or will the rescue mission involve an act of sabotage? A Ridley Scott film without a villain is not really a Ridley Scott film, so trust no-one.
The cast looks incredible
I won't lie, I was straight-up shocked when I saw the cast list for this film. Matt Damon has a mixed track record with sci-fi (remember Elysium? No? Exactly), but when you throw in Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels, it's hard not get at little bit excited. However the name that really reeled me in was...
Kristen Wiig - playing straight
If you've seen Saturday Night Live or Bridesmaids - which of course you have - you already know Kristen Wiig, all-round comedic goddess. But here she looks to be playing straight, which could go either way but will probably be brilliant. And if her character Annie Montrose does turn out to be a duplicitous villain, we're in for something special. Everything crossed.
If Prometheus taught us anything else...
...it's that big budget space epics directed by Ridley Scott and starring a bunch of awesome actors don't always turn out that great. In fact, Prometheus was kind of a mess. Characters behaved in ways that didn't make sense, nobody got the memo about Charlize Theron being seriously under-utilised, and the absurdities of the plot didn't seem to be intentional. Basically, exercise caution.
November is when all those films you've been waiting for finally drop
You know the drill by now. Every year when the leaves drop off the trees and November and December roll around, the studios unleash a barrage of massively hyped blockbusters. Others to look forward to this Q4 include Mockingjay (Part 2), [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) and, of course, Spectre. You'll probably have to pitch a tent outside your local multiplex. Let's reconvene then to share our thoughts, and in the meantime, yes, you are allowed to watch the trailer seventeen times, pausing each frame in the hope of spotting a giant clue nobody else identified. Good luck.