The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott is an emotionally engrossing film that pulls you in with the story of survival and then delights you with some solid acting and some absolutely stunning and well realised visual and practical effects.
The story in The Martian sees astronaut Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, being accidently left behind on Mars after some unforeseen circumstances. It then becomes his mission to survive alone on the red planet until help can hopefully come and get him. Meanwhile every resource back on Earth is dedicated to making his survival and rescue possible and to make sure that Watney’s crew themselves are safe and understand that it’s not their fault.
So for that first time in a while I have read the book before seeing the film, usually I like to do it the other way round. So I’ll get the obvious out to the way first — the book is better. But of course it is, the book has hundreds of pages worth of time to go in-depth with every little facet of the story, characters, situation etc. What I’m happy to say is that the film does a great job in adapting the source material and bringing it to the big screen. Not only will readers of the book enjoy their time with the film, but so will new comers to the story of Mark Watney. With that being said I’ll try my best to not always compare the two to each other in this review.
So something that I was a little concerned about when I first heard about the making of this film was that Matt Damon was playing the lead in the film. Not because I doubt his ability as an actor, but because I wasn’t sure he was right for the role. Well thankfully I was wrong in my pre-judgements; Damon does a great job as Mark Watney. He captures the whimsical quips of the character well, and he also brings a new level of emotion to the character, though I would have liked more time with the character. I do however still feel the film and the actor do a great job of pulling you into this unimaginable situation and making you feel like a part of the chaos.
Something else that the film also gets right is the supporting cast of characters and the actors who play them (of which I might add there’s a few). Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara. I mean if that’s not a great selection of actors then I don’t know what is. What I will add is that despite this being a great selection of actors you do fall into the problem that with so many characters — comes the problem of underdevelopment. We get a little of all but not a fully-fledged understanding of everyone.
Perhaps my main gripe with The Martian is that I felt things were a little rushed. I wanted so much more time with Watney and his struggles on Mars but the film spent a lot of his time montaging his attempts to stay alive. There were times where I just wanted the film to slow down a bit and get deeper into the psyche of how the character was doing. Instead… things move along at break neck speed. This slightly harms the connection with Watney as a character and truly understanding what it is he’s going through. With how long Watney is trapped on Mars and how long the film is (2 hours and 20 minutes) things feel a little rushed/over looked.
With that being said Ridley Scott still does a really good job of trying to balance such a gargantuan concept. Nothing was going to stop the tension of watching Watney try and survive some truly scary situations. In particular the final set piece (no spoilers of course) is brilliantly shot and heart racingly intense, not to mention how visually great it looks as well.
Which is what I want to touch on next — to put it simply, The Martian is a gorgeous film. As is expected with a Ridley Scott film, the visuals are on point. From the sweeping vistas of Mars to the quiet crawl of the Hermes space ship, Scott nails the look and feel of this film. Add to that some great practical sets and stunts and what you have is a film that brings this foreign world/concept to life.
The Martian is a great success – – I was wary at first, film adaptations of books are not always the best, but I think Ridley Scott did a great job of bringing such a great story to the big screen. It also helps that Scott brought together so many elements (actors, visuals, pacing etc) and melded them into an exciting, tense filled ride.
I am so happy to be recommending The Martian. This is a book that I adored and I’m so glad the film does it justice. This is a film that is well worth seeing and is one that’ll have you uneasy and worried from beginning to end (in a good way).
Did you read The Martian? What did you think of the film? Let me know in the comments down below. Want to keep up with my other ramblings? Maybe give me a follow on twitter,@GavinsTurtle. Last but not least have a great weekend.