The Martian

October 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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It’s always a tricky proposition to see a movie of a book I loved. “The Martian” may well be my favorite novel from the last year and part of it’s fun lay in how wonkish, nerdy and detail-oriented it was. How would that translate to a film? Not so badly, actually. Ridley Scott manages to get in just enough of the scientific details that the audience gets the sense this is sci-fi very much grounded in the real world. Scott is also able to capture the smart-ass humor of the book, which is critical as it helps with pacing but also because it helps to establish the personality that Mark Watney (Matt Damon) needs in order to survive an impossible situation and none seems more impossible than this. Accidentally left for dead on a Mars mission, Watney has to find some way to survive by himself, with no food or water on a desert planet, until the next mission returns in 4 years. That the story can do this credibly is a tribute to author Andy Weir, who did extensive research while writing the novel. Watney’s story is juxtaposed nicely with those of his former crew, now flying home to Earth, and the folks at NASA trying to figure out how to rescue him. This device helps to break up Damon’s screen time, so that the audience never gets bored of just seeing him. There is also plenty of drama as things consistently and disastrously (and realistically) go wrong. One key dramatic scene was cut from the film but, at 2 hours 20 minutes, there was plenty of drama already and it did not suffer from the deletion. This is a sci-fi film for those who don’t like the genre and it’s an action/adventure film for anyone who does like that genre. Clever, fast paced and funny; The Martian was pure entertainment.

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