7:00 PM, 7th November, 2015
At the end of the previous film we learned, but our heroes didn’t, that they may have escaped from their bizarre futuristic maze, but they hadn’t escaped from their bizarre futuristic experiment. The supposedly hidden exit from the old maze was meant to be found. In actual fact, it leads into a new maze.
And at least the old one had greenery. This time, our lab rats must make their way through a parched wilderness called ‘The Scorch’ – an open maze which makes the walls of the previous one look retrospectively comforting. They very soon learn to take nothing at face value, including each other, and if they discover what’s behind what they took at face value, not to take that value, either. If they escape from all these mazes (and there’s a third chapter to come), I wonder if they’ll ever be able to believe that they have.
You might be wondering: why, exactly, is the government of the future lavishly pouring resources into experimental infrastructure so vast it makes the Large Hadron Collider look like something cooked up on “Mythbusters” – when all they appear to be doing is measuring the reaction times of a few teenagers?
You might also suspect that whatever the answer to this question is, it will be disappointing. Yes, probably – but that doesn’t matter, because you won’t get the answer here. That’s what the third film is for. This one is where we get to watch our increasingly wary and suspicious characters negotiate another, completely different impossible landscape.
9:22 PM, 7th November, 2015
During a manned mission to Mars, a severe dust storm forces the crew of the Ares 3 to abort their mission and evacuate the planet, returning home to Earth. Astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) is seemingly killed during the evacuation, and presumed dead by the rest of his crew and NASA. But against all odds, Watney has survived and is alive – although he may not be for long.
Stranded and all alone on the Red Planet, with only meagre supplies, Watney must use all of his ingenuity and wit to survive and find a way to signal home. Though even if he is eventually able to make contact, the prospect of him being rescued is highly unlikely, as it’ll take at least four years for anyone from Earth to reach him…
Director Ridley Scott’s stunning adaptation of the brilliant debut novel of the same name by Andy Weir marks Scott’s return to the genre he revolutionised with films like Alien and Blade Runner. And while Scott’s last few non-sci-fi films have been somewhat underwhelming, The Martian does not disappoint.
Part Apollo 13, part Cast Away, the film is an invigorating and awe-inspiring cinematic adventure that is light years apart from Christopher Nolan’s similarly-themed Interstellar. Whereas Nolan’s opus was dire and depressing, The Martian is inventive, clever and actually quite fun, with Damon in fine form alongside the likes of Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kate Mara and Kristen Wiig.
So strap in and commence launch to the Film Group – you won’t want to miss this!