The Martian is by far one of the best and beautiful adaptations of a novel into movie form. The journey of The Martian from novel to screenplay is a science lovers ultimate fantasy. Andy Weir was a computer programmer who wrote a story purely from his own passion about space, creating disaster scenarios and solutions. In less than two years, he freely published work was picked up by literary agents, became an instant (and still ongoing) bestseller, and became a movie adaptation directed by Ridley Scott starring Matt Damon. The experience must have been surreal to Weir.
The story begins with a routine expedition to Mars. During their collecting and monitoring, a dangerous storm hits them and they are forced to evacuate. Through a freak accident botanist Mark Watney is hit by debris and is believed dead. The team evacuates safely leaving Watney, who is still alive, behind. With the next expedition more than 400 days away. It’s up to Watney to use every science tool in his mental shed to create food, water, oxygen, and live.
Ridley Scott’s directorial style of creating movies packed with emotional tension is on full display. The viewer is taken through scenes where the suspense leads to weeping. This is not even touching up the stunning effects that bring the landscape to life. This is a movie that must be seen in 3D. Being fully immersed into the movie visually amplifies the whole experience. It especially gives the dust storm in the beginning a particular creepy, edgy feeling.
Matt Damon as Mark Watney gave a near flawless portrayal. Everything Watney was within the pages made it to the screen. Very few actors can rattle off scientific jargon that makes sense while delivering it in a wry matter. The casting in general was amazing. Everyone played their roles amazingly. A quiet supporting character that amused me was Benedict Wong as Brian Ng of JPL. He was quiet but had several funny scenes. His character was also a great representation of how tireless and passionate the team was. They were all tired with thier minds stretched to the maximum, but they forged forward. Watney may be the hero of the story but not without the whole team.
During a great interview with KROQ on Kevin and Bean, Weir addressed why he didn’t focus on the dark grim depression that Watney must have experience. Weir pointed out that astronauts are trained to survive in conditions that test their stamina, resilience, and such. This whole movie further shows how amazing astronauts are in general. They represent the best of what humans can offer: intelligence, endurance, and strength. Witnessing Watney’s survival is intertwined with witnessing the power of humans coming collectively to save him. The teamwork between all the teams at JPL and other powers instills a complete sense of pride for these scientists who invent solutions out of seemingly nothing. This is a movie that will encourage minds to explore and learn.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of top movies of the year. It needs to be watched and experienced. If you have not the read the book, do so at some point. Both the novel and the movie are absolutely wonderful.
The Martian is released in theaters world wide on October 2, 2015. Plan on seeing it.