The Martian (2015) – Rated PG-13 – Reviewed October 6, 2015 – IMdb
Miss me? I can’t believe I went through such a dry spell! From looking back on the movies that have been released in the last couple of months I see why I haven’t gone out of my way to catch a flick somewhere. Hopefully, now that I have a girlfriend (yay!) I will be able to catch more of the upcoming films (Don’t worry Jon, you’re still my BFAM).
OK, now about this movie. I saw the trailer for it a few months ago and thought that it looked interesting. You got Mars, space disaster, and a good cast. But then I thought about the other Mars movies that had all the same things and were at best OK (Thinking about Red Planet, and Mission to Mars). Then I found out it was based on a book so I went to my Kindle app, downloaded it and read it in a few days. Really good book.
So I think we have all been there before. You read a good book and the movie sucks or “The book was so much better”. I’m usually pretty good at separating the two because… well… they are different. Movies are visual and you can’t do things like get know what someone is thinking or know how they are feeling (If you want to see a movie that does an amazing job of having you in the characters head see Memento). Plus, they usually only have about 2 hours to tell a complete story (Unless you are talking the Lord of the Rings or something). A book can go into detail that a movie cannot. So I feel you need to think of the book and the movie as totally separate things. Hunt for Red October the novel, good book. Hunt for Red October the movie, good flick. Were they the same? Nope. But that was a good thing. Do we really want to watch a movie that has 15 minutes explaining the intricacies of how sonar works? (Well, actually if there was a show on Nova or something about that I would probably watch it, but I digress.)
So now what did I think of The Martian the movie? I really enjoyed it. The writer and director did something that movies based on books rarely do, which is match what was going on in my head when I read the book. My friend at work said that the book was a combination of Castaway and Apollo 13. The movie wasn’t too far from his description. The movie seemed like something that could happen. It felt less science fiction-ie and more like just a good adventure. Technology and science was an important part of the movie, but didn’t dominate it.
As with most good movies it was the characters in it that made it good. Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is the guy trapped on Mars (yes, the whole premise is that someone is left behind on Mars so this should not be a spoiler!) and what made him a good character was that he was such a smart ass. He retains it throughout the movie and you know it was that attitude that helped him cope. I even felt I knew something about the crew that left him behind and his relationship with them even though they are not central characters. If I had to pick a character I liked the least then it would have to be Teddy Sanders (Jeff Daniels). His character seemed like he was on Prozac the entire time. Definitely a bummer because I really liked The Newsroom.
Again, I would definitely recommend this movie to just about anybody. The nerds will enjoy the science, the non-nerds will enjoy the adventure. I guess the nerds can enjoy the adventure and the non-nerds can enjoy the science too.