First we had Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy and Gravity, and now ,The Martian will join the ranks of sci-fi instant classics.
The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott, adapts Andy Weir’s thrilling novel for the big screen. It tells the story of Mark Watney (Matt Damon), a NASA astronaut on the Ares 3 Mars mission, after he is stranded on Mars with the world believing he is dead. He is forced to rely on his innovation and botany prowess to stay alive until NASA can rescue him.
Having read the book before the movie’s release, I went in with high expectations, and was not disappointed. The movie captures the iconic moments of the book and ultimately makes for an enthralling experience, something that few adaptations accomplish
One of the defining aspects of the movie, as well as the book, is humor. Watney, though distressed, never misses an opportunity to diffuse tension with a well-timed joke. At one point, NASA asks him to stand in front of a camera for a picture. While the audience may think it is the least of his worries, he spends a long time trying to decide what pose to strike. He ultimately decides on posing like Fonzie from Happy Days, which leads to another funny situation in NASA’s P.R. department.
At times, the movie surpasses the book’s excitement. This is particularly true of the scene where Watney is hurtling through space in the Ares 4 Mars Ascent Vehicle with nothing but a tarp on top. Although I knew the outcome, I was still on the edge of my seat as I watched him careen through space inside nothing but a metal box.
This scene also demonstrates the film’s superb use of computer-generated imagery. The CGI in space movies must be believable, and in The Martian,/i>, it certainly was. From the opening scene to Watney’s final moments on the planet, the CGI draws the audience into Mars’s landscape of desolate, wind-swept plains and dust storms, making the movie that much more realistic.
Of course, the movie is not without flaws. While the book did a tremendous job describing his experience in full, the movie seemed to rush this. When Watney had to travel 3,200 kilometers to the Ares 4 MAV, the movie made it seem like the journey took five or six days, when it would have actually taken several months. This didn’t allow the viewer to fully understand how long he was forced to survive on Mars.
All in all, the movie did a great job transferring the book to the big screen. It made for an out-of-this-world movie experience that promises 2 hours and 22 minutes of entertainment.